Sunday, 27 March 2011

At Aghalee Bridge

Oh, what a glorious day! The lark was on the wing and the snail was on the thorn, as they say. I rustled up a few rounds of salmon sandwiches, a flask of hot water, jumped in to the two-seater and headed in a westerly direction towards Aghalee in County Antrim.

I had acquired a very informative little booklet about the old Lagan Canal whilst at Minnowburn yesterday; hence the urge to explore that section of the canal.

I encountered good, old-fashioned Ulster hospitality along the way, too: A kindly couple of villagers allowed me to park the car beside their home at Aghalee - beside the canal itself - and David even walked with me to the 18th century towpath.

I ambled from Aghalee (Aghalee Bridge) to Moira (Lady's Bridge). This is a beautiful stretch of Ulster countryside and I highly recommend it.

The Bank Ranger's House (top), at the Broadwater, seems to be derelict presently. There were several anglers here. This is the spot where I picnicked. I remembered to bring everything except tea-bags - Fool, Belmont! - and the anglers very kindly gave me four.

There was a flock of a dozen swans near the bank of the canal at Soldierstown Bridge. It was at this point where I could see a pair of buzzards flying above me, calling in their familiar high-pitched, plaintive manner.

Unfortunately the towpath terminates at Lady's Bridge, close to where the M1 Motorway runs.

The Lagan Canal Trust is determined to restore the Lagan Canal, which runs from Stranmillis at Belfast to Lough Neagh. The canal was built between 1756-93. It took two days for the canal boats (lighters) to travel the 27 miles from Stranmillis to Lough Neagh.

I averaged 40 mpg today in the two-seater, which is quite gratifying. I used the cruise control at 53 mph on the way home.

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