We were both on board with the small dog as far as Meelick Lock. It's an easy cycle back to Banagher for the boat, along quiet and narrow lanes. After that it was Joe on Winter Solstice and Aoife and me in the car. I decided to follow my nose to Portumna instead of going back through Banagher, turning right as I came onto the main(ish) road from Meelick Lock instead of left. I've been caught out like this before. Roads that seem to be going in the correct direction sneakily turn without you noticing until you're miles out of your way.
I thought that had happened to me here when I came out on a proper main road, not too far from Birr. But then I always forget how close we are to Birr on this part of the river. I pulled into a small road, took out my phone. A car came up behind me, then alongside, so I rolled down the window.
'Go that way, then turn right. About ten miles.' Excellent. I did as advised. Two minutes later I knew exactly where I was. I'd found a short cut. I was annoyed I'd stopped and had to ask. Much more satisfying to have come upon it as though I knew where I was going.
I waited for Joe at Connacht Harbour. Lots of sniff time for Aoife.
Here he is coming in: