Wednesday, May 23, 2012
23rd May - Getting Shipshaped At Portumna
Here we are settled into our little waterways ship, Kenmor, moored in a quiet hidden woodland marina just off the River Shannon, east of Portumna. The sun has set, almost midnight and reflecting on this exciting day. Here is Kenmor, a delightful 27ft motor cruiser owned by a lovely couple Tom and Angela who have generously loaned us use of their boat for this adventure. Yes it is for sale too, but no info of asking price.
As Thomas Roche wrote in 1927 "In these days of the speedy motor car and the more speedy aeroplane the mere suggestion of a holiday on our inland waters, the Royal and Grand Canals and the Shannon, is greeted with wild amusement, but to lovers of nature, as she shows herself in placid waters and quiet byways, such a holiday in full of new delights and experiences".
Assuming that a boat has been begged, borrowed or hired, large enough to provide a cabin with sleeping and cooking arrangements, and a pass from the canal authorities, you are free to weigh anchor and set forth. The boat should be with motor power if possible, though a one horsepower, that consisting of a real horse that eats grass, and the necessary ropes, give very good results.
Well we do not have a horse and John and Kathleen obtained the 42ft Kitty boat, a bit different to our much easier to navigate 27 footer, but on this wonderful boat the journey will be taken and new stories told.
Also Thomas and Kathleen commenced from Dublin. We are commencing from Portumna in Co. Donegal, on the Shannon and heading towards the Grand Canal, but will still cruise the same triangle of waterways.
Before we can set off from the marina, all kinds of things to be done before being shipshaped and on our way. I, Thomas, did not arrive here until about 8 pm so a bit late to set off along the river. Unpacking and learning how to put things into little spaces and how to work things like gas, electric and water had to be sorted
It was a beautiful day all day today, our first super genuine summer day, in the 70s, as the North American readers say, and 23 C for us. On the way I met Claire as our friends Corrina and John who live with lots of horses, donkeys, ducks, cats and a dog on a townland called Bracklin Little by the old Kilbeggan canal spur from the Grand Canal, which is sadly dried out now. They entertained us well with a tour around their animals and a stunning late lunch outdoors in the warm sun.
On arrival to this hidden woodside marina we became shipshaped, watched the sun go down and took a walk in the woods with an incredible endless white carpet of wild garlic flowers, but it was too dark to take pics of. A perfect end to this first introductory day to the boat and too our summer.