Trip to Shannon Harbour May 2015

The Summer of 2015 was set to be a big one, with two important rallies, Shannon Harbour in Late June, and Lough Derg Rally 40, where I was commodore, in July. As the engine was currently being overhauled, the next most important bit of work to be done was the structural hull work, as there was a little bit of water being taken on, and also some prop and shaft work. The hull work that needed to be done, had been put off for the last twelve months, and it seemed as good a time as any, as the Shannon Harbour Rally was going to be taking place a couple of weeks later, and the weather in late May and early June is normally good for dry dock work. The only issue was that the barge did not have an engine, as I was waiting on new pistons and some other work to be completed before the restoration could be finished.  The only option was the tow the barge up and back, with 68.M, and if the timing was right the option was there to drop the engine in whilst still in Shannon Harbour. We left Church Bay early on the Sunday morning, the 17th May, in order to catch the 12.30 bridge in Portumna. The lake was a little bit choppy, but as a result this would only cause the barge behind to rock a bit whilst under tow. We decided to tow her behind with two ropes as this would be easiest for steerage, and the only real option for the narrow sections of the river, if the flow was bad. As we came towards Portumna Bridge I took my place on the tiller of 77.M, in order to assist with the steerage of the pair. It was quite weird and difficult to control, considering the way the bow was being pulled, and it resulted in us basically Zig-Zagging up the river, in quite a heavy flow. It was so bad at Shannon Grove, the barges slowed down to a stop on a number of occasions, and only finding eddies close to the shore we would have not made it. There is a video of the barge going through Banagher Bridge on the YouTube channel, the stern was an inch away from hitting the Bridge a clatter. By the time we reached Shannon Harbour it was reaching dark, and I pulled the barge on a bow line through the two locks, and moored up alongside the Jarra in the dark. To be honest it felt like a miracle that we made it in the end, and after a long day I was more than happy to arrive. I was to spend most of the next two weeks on my back in the dry dock, so it was victory very short lived.

77.M under tow coming through the Hare Island, Lough Derg,.
77.M under tow coming through the Hare Island, Lough Derg,.
77.M under tow after coming through the Hare Island, Lough Derg.
77.M under tow after coming through the Hare Island, Lough Derg.
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher.  Part. I
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher. Part. I
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher.  Part. II
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher. Part. II
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher. Part. III
View from the tiller of 77.M, stretch of river below Banagher. Part. III
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