Archive for July 12th, 2009

How to dissappear completely – part 4

Slept very, very well.

Massive fry up for breakfast which seemed like a good idea at the time until bacon’s revenge caught up with me and you’re downing water within 5 minutes of starting.


Passed through two lock gates and some pretty annoyed salmon fishermen – apparently they paid 150 quid to fish on the river and now on one of the best days fishing days of the year their day is being cut short because they’ve opened the flood gates at Toome and the river level is rising too high for fly fishing.


Good example of all the competing interests on the river. There’s a big drive for tourism but the need for the lock gates and the weirs leads to big safety issues. One time a boat lost power and drifted against the flood gates at the cutts and Coleraine and the people had to scramble onto the gates before the boat was pulled under. So the lock keeper guy told us.

There’s a big demand from the fishermen, who at least pay large sums on money to use the river, and naturally they get a bit miffed at all us boaters and paddlers coming down and disturbing the water. In fact Griff Rys Jones is in the Times yesterday arguing just this point from the canoeists point of view. Instead of a right to roam it’s a right to float.

And then there’s the farmers who must get annoyed when the level of the river pops up and down like a yo-yo depending on what someone somewhere wants the level of the lough to be. The lough trumps all it seems. And I think that law was originally made in the interest of the farmers.

Everyone wants a bit of nature, a bit of the countryside to go play in. It’s hardly wilderness with so many people fighting over it. It’s the big thing that you just can’t get in Ireland – the whole place is too packed with people and too easy to access.

The longest you could get lost in the mournes for is just over a day.

Back to the trip.


Gorgeous paddling up around Loughan and coming into Coleraine. Trees on both sides and the kingfishers everywhere. With the sun shining through the trees you could be anywhere in the world.


Just as last time the flood gates were open at the cutts in Coleraine, creating too much of a draw to safely approach the canal round them. So we stopped just before at Castleroe forest and phoned the ‘support team’ – or wee liz and morsies. We said we’d get them t-shirts with ‘crew’ written on them for next year.

Good trip, good times. Pulled out the old hip flask and poured into the river a libation for the gods and one for ron and thanks for a trip well done. Not the same trip. Not the same life. But good bits remain none the less.




July 2009
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