Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back on Derg

The new Meelick Bridge

We brought the boat to Meelick Lock (properly known as Victoria Lock after the old English queen) with a plan to cycle to Banagher to pick up the car. First I took the dogs for a walk across the car-width timber bri..... no! Wait a minute. The bridge was no longer timber but had been reconstructed from concrete. The land around was scarred and open.

There was a new sign too, on the other side of the bridge.

This type of sign makes me feel immediately guilty. I hadn't, after all, been authorised by anyone to pass this sign. Did having a boat on the jetty secure my access? Joe is quite different. To him a sign like this is a challenge.

Concrete and clearings

The dogs didn't care anyway. There are advantages to not being able to read.

This bridge crosses a section of the Shannon - the bit that doesn't rush through the weir above Victoria Lock. It looks like a broad canal here, but it is river, widened in an attempt to alleviate the regular winter floods - Meelick is in the Callows, the flood plain of the River Shannon. I don't think it was terribly successful. Such a lot of water needing somewhere to flood into.

Cloonaheenogue Canal

Onto the bikes and we followed a small backroad along the banks of the old canal for a while, though this waterway is hardly reconisable as a canal - only the straightness gives it away.

Here it is from one of the bridges that crosses into farmland.

Cloonaheenogue Canal was the original Shannon navigation built in 1755 by Thomas Omer to bypass the Keelogue rapids at Meelick. There is an old lock too, and a lock house (still lived in). You can easily get confused by the many channels of water running towards Lough Derg from Meelick.

Bonfire barbie

In Meelick we'd frozen, but had a barbecue anyway. I wore 49 layers and we kept the barbecue going with the many hedge cuttings piled beside the road that goes to the lock.

In order to easily cycle back for the car from our planned next stop at Portumna, we needed to leave the car on the western side - the roads to the east of the river were too circuitous. Meelick Quay would do the trick, a short distance upstream, so I drove there via Banagher while Joe brought the boat. Here she comes:

Winter Solstice close
Winter Solstice closer
Winter Solstice closest

Back on Derg
In Portumna the weather changed to almost balmy. About time - it is nearly June for heaven's sake. We tucked into a corner of Castle Harbour, great for walking the dogs and for counting camper vans. There were more vans than boats when we arrived. There's even a sign asking van owners not to park next to the harbour wall.

It was good to be back on Derg after a two-year absence. The views are always magnificent.

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