Electric Boat Launch – On the Canal at Ballinamore

This is the electric boat launch on the Canal at Ballinamore in County Leitrim, Ireland. It’s at Ballinamore Marina and it’s a fantastic piece of kit. See how they remove this small barge off the trailer and launch it with no crane or launch trailer.

Have a look at https://www.ballinamoremarina.com if you’re looking to buy a good used boat. Gavin brings boats in from Holland every week or two and his prices are surprisingly good (no I don’t get a commission!)

Check out our shop at https://www.driftwood.tv/shop where you get your hands on our book “Driftwood from the Shannon to the Marne” the humorous account of our first ever venture into the sea, and on to the French inland waterways.

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The Irish Coast Guard & The Mummers

The Irish Coast Guard do a fantastic job and we met them when they paid a visit to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. They have a number of helicopters stationed at various locations through out Ireland and provide cover both north and south of the border. In an unrelated incident we met the Mummers on Lough Erne and Bobby Forrest told us all about them. That’s all coming up!

Shannon Erne Waterway – Ballinamore to Kiltybardan Lough

Do you know what? There are some days in the middle of winter that are every bit as nice as a good summer’s day. And when we recorded this video it was on one such day. How lucky were we? The good weather made what is a really beautiful waterway look even better, and when you consider that it’s the middle of winter, just imagine what it looks like in the spring or the summer.

Here it is, and I hope you enjoy it:

A look behind the scenes:

That’s a silly title really because there are no scenes when you vlog, not as such. We try to make it just us being us as much as we can. So far we have avoided showing us brushing our teeth in the mornings which seems to have become the vlogging base line.  But driftwood.tv is really a blog not a vlog and through it I’ll open a window or two into our lives a little wider.

I’m writing this from my bed, well I say my bed but it’s not mine really, it belongs to the HSE, or to Portinuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe to be a little more pedantic about it.

This is the exciting view from my bed!

I’ll spare you the details of what’s wrong with me because I’m assuming that gastrointestinal side of biology is not a fascinating topic of discussion for you, as it isn’t for me. But don’t worry it’s nothing too serious.

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Boating Ireland – Winter on the water

Boating Ireland – Winter on the water is a short video showing you how it can be when you go boating in Ireland in the winter. It’s actually surprisingly comfortable and still very enjoyable. Just make sure you’re dressed in the right cloths (which means all your cloths!) and you have a source of heat in the boat. You can enjoy Boating Ireland almost all year round. But people normally lock up their boats for the winter. Normal people that is! We like to go boating in Ireland for as much of the winter as is possible. Okay so it’s not the best boating Ireland and most of the winter time boating is just not possible, but there are days when you can get out and enjoy a fine winter day boating in Ireland. Come along and join us.

 

 

Crom Castle Estate adventure on Lough Erne

Crom Castle and the whole Crom estate is well known as a wonderful recreational facility. Providing facilities for boaters as well as campers, Crom Castle also have pods as well as apartments to rent. The whole thing lends itself well to a good relaxing holiday experience. We headed out from Belturbet with Marion still suffering from a bad cold and you’ll notice her voice on the video is somewhat husky!

Given that the summer of 2018 has been one of the best on record it comes as no surprise that we enjoy more lovely sunshine on this trip. Crom castle and estate has been compared with Lough Key forest park and it’s a fair comparison too.

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A visit to the White island stone figures and RAF Castle Archdale on Lough Erne

White Island should be on the top of you boating bucket list, it’s a marvel to see. Close by is the old RAF base of Castle Archdale. During the second world war Catalina and Sunderland seaplanes set out from this Lough Erne base through the Donegal Corridor and on out into the Atlantic where they hunted down German U-Boats.

Catalina & Sunderland service dock in Castlearchdale on Lough Erne
Catalina & Sunderland service dock in Castle Archdale on Lough Erne

From the pics opposite you can see how the aircraft would have fitted into the service dock like a hand fitting into a glove.

We also take a look at Boa Island and the Janus figure. This was an ancient Celtic idol. It is a two sided figure with a male and female face standing back to back. Now getting to Boa Island on lough Erne by boat is a little difficult because there is no landing jetty in the island. We were lucky enough to be able to arrange a lift from nearby Castle Archdale. Boa Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Catelina & Sunderland service dock Castle Archdale
In the background you can see some of the caravans from Castle Archdale caravan park.

In the pics opposite you can see the clear out line of the aircraft that would have moored here to get repairs or general maintenance work done.

There is also a barge anchored just to the left of the service docks.  It’s a pity about the algae bloom in the water at the time. The westerly wind blew a lot of the algae into this bay which just added to it.

As far as we are aware this is the only remaining

RAF Castle Archdale Catelina & Sunderland service dock
RAF Castle Archdale Catelina & Sunderland service dock

example of such a dock in Europe. In the video we  inadvertently referred to the refuelling jetty as the last one but this is the one we should have referred to. Hope you enjoy the video.

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When things go wrong on Lough Erne

Join us on a cruise across Lough Erne the broad lough all the way to Belleek. See what happens when things go wrong and how helpful we found people to be and of course how we got out of trouble on the lake. We negotiate changeable weather on Lough Erne and enjoy a cruise on an overcast day across lower Lough Erne (also called The Broad Lough) and safely into a superb mooring in the Town of Belleek. It’s here that we confirm our suspicions, that the alternator isn’t charging our domestic batteries. Now our fridge runs off these same batteries and without them getting a charge we run the onerous risk of drinking warm beer. A fate I would not like to face.

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River cruise to Ballyconnell in lovely sunshine

We are loving our cruise on the Shannon Erne Waterway, the scenery as well as the wildlife is just captivating us. One of the thinks that makes this waterway for us is that it’s a great mix of canals, river as well and so many intertwining lakes. Waterways Ireland have a wonderful amenity here and they have created some lovely moorings as well as great facilities. Most moorings have full stone-built service blocks.

This is also a very popular waterway with fishermen, in fact they seem to come from all over Europe and beyond to fish here. There are plenty fishing stands dotted along the waterway and there is a reasonably large local cottage industry providing accommodation, meals and boats to the visiting fishermen.

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Cruising through a Storm on the River Shannon

The river Shannon has many faces, and occasionally she has a tendency to show her angry face. The trick is to get to know her and to know when she is feeling moody, and when it’s wise to keep out of her way.

We exit Dromod and out onto lough Boffin in a good strong southerly wind. I’m aware that the wind isn’t strong enough to cause an issue on it’s own, but if you were unlucky enough to have some engine trouble or to foul your propeller the odds would quickly start to stack up against you.

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