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Thread: Erne, Lough, Lower

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Erne, Lough, Lower

    Lough Erne (from the Irish: Loch Éirne meaning "Lake of Ernai", one of the ancient Fir Bolg tribes.) refers to two lakes in Northern Ireland, situated along the River Erne. The waterway is mostly situated in County Fermanagh. The river begins by flowing north, and then curves west into the Atlantic. The southern-most lake is further up the river and so is named Upper Lough Erne. The northern lake is Lower Lough Erne.

    A canal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, exists between the upper end of the River Shannon and the River Erne, allowing boat movements from the Shannon estuary in southwest Ireland, through the western midlands of the country, across to the northwest and out to the Atlantic again (although the final section to the Atlantic side of Belleek is not navigable).
    Lough Erne is a particularly scenic waterway in Ireland, it is renowned for the beautiful setting. The area is also popular for angling. The town of Enniskillen is situated between the lakes.

    The Annals of Ulster were written in the late 15th century on Belle Isle on Lough Erne.

    Interestingly, it escaped the Irish Potato Famine better than any other county. Because it has so many islands, the potato blight had difficulty travelling over the water to those islands, compared to the green hills of most of Ireland. Those Erne islands produced surprising amounts of potatoes (the staple diet on the over-populated island, from 1845-1849), whilst the mainland was largely starving in comparison.

    Islands
    The lakes contain many small islands and peninsulas also called "islands" because of the highly convoluted shoreline and also because many of them were also islands prior to two extensive drainage schemes in the 1880's which dropped the water level by 1.5 metres. Islands in the lower lake include Boa Island, Cleenishmeen Island, Crevinishaughy Island, Cruninish Island, Devenish Island, Ely Island, Horse Island, Inish Doney, Inish Fovar, Inish Lougher, Inish More, Inishmacsaint, Inishmakill, Lusty Beg Island, Lusty More Island and White Island.

    Those in the upper lake include Bleanish Island, Dernish Island, Inishcorkish, Inishcrevan, Inishfendra, Inishleague, Inishlught, Inishturk, Killygowan Island, Naan Island and Trannish

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    366

    Default

    Here's a link to the interactive canoe trail map for Lough Erne. Click on the 'Lower and Upper Lough Erne' banner (its the only one that has an online map so far.

    http://www.nicanoeing.com/recreational/canoetrails.cfm
    Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups
    My avatar is the crest of the McAlester clan -

    www.macski.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North of England
    Posts
    71

    Default Lough Erne notes

    This month my wife and I had a wander round Upper and Lower Lough Erne loosely following the canoe trail. Here a few notes that might help others enjoy this trip. We enjoyed it and would recommend it.

    1The warnings about large waves on Lower Lough Erne also to apply Upper Lough Erne. We had fun on both loughs in places in strong North Westerly and Westerly winds.
    2We bought what we assume are the current 1:25,000 maps, recommended in the canoe Trails leaflet. The date on the Upper Lough Erne map is 1986 and on the Lower Lough Erne is 1995. Both maps are thus quite out of date. The main aspects are that lots of houses have been built recently, extra channel markers have been added and lots more reeds have grown and blocked off certain routes between islands. We found it confusing navigating, particularly in the multitude of islands of the Upper Lough, until we started treating the map with caution. However we never had to switch the GPS on. The 1:50,000 have no navigation information and the same problems with reeds, so are not a substitute.
    3The scary warning on the 1:25,000 maps about the Portona Barrage just North of Enniskillen is nothing to worry about. There are sluice gates that come down across most of the channel and the waterways board don’t want you canoeing under them. All we did was canoe through the lock on the West bank, which had both gates open.
    4We went in September and most cafes, restaurants on the lakeside were shut. The main season appears to be July and August. Take a stove.
    5Lakeland Canoe Centre is moving out of the island in Enniskillen in September 2007.
    6There is no café on Inishcorkish in ULE just a private sign.
    7On the Canoe Trails map there is a big island (Belleisle/West Island) missing at the North of ULE.
    8There are lots and lots of public jetties with very clean toilet blocks (some with showers), and grassy areas outside to camp on. This bit is really impressive and well organised.
    9We wild camped on Inish Davar island, having asked the friendly warden at Castle Archdale first, as recommended in the Canoe Trails leaflet.
    10We had a day out of the boat and went to the Marble Arch Caves nearby and really enjoyed the visit.
    Finally, everyone we met was very friendly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    366

    Default Updated Link

    This is the new link for the interactive Lough Erne map. Looks like its been updated (there were a few islands missing off the old one) and there are some more trails on the way it would seem.

    http://www.canoeni.com/Lough_Erne.aspx
    Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups
    My avatar is the crest of the McAlester clan -

    www.macski.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Bangor, Co Down.
    Posts
    4,743

    Default

    OS have new 1:25000 maps of Lough Erne due to be available in Spring '08 which hopefully should solve some of the problems.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North of England
    Posts
    71

    Default Lakeland Canoe Centre - closed

    I checked out the updated web site. They list Lakeland Canoe Centre in Enniskillen. I stopped there in September and they said they were moving out of the island. So if you are planning on using them, check.

    The map on on the new web site is much better. The missing island at the North of the Upper Lough Erne, yes the big one, is shown. We couldn't find the cafe shown on Inishcorkish though, just a Private sign.

    Don't let these minor points stop you going, it is a great place to wander through.

    We went through in Sep 2007.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    366

    Default

    I must admit I have a few issues with the new map (as with the old one) Innishcorkish has been sold and as you say there is now a private sign at the jetty.There is no longer a cafe there. To the best of my knowledge this happened at the end of last year so the new status could have been updated on the new map.
    The map reference given for Derryvore is incorrect and the guide states that overnight camping is possible on the grass/beach at Derryvore. The grass/beach area has been waterlogged for over 2 years and is on about a 25 deg. angle. You would have to be very desperate to want to camp there.
    Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups
    My avatar is the crest of the McAlester clan -

    www.macski.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Portstewart, Northern Ireland
    Posts
    529

    Default

    There is an excellent online waterway map covering the whole Shannon and Erne system at http://www.iwai.ie/maps/shannon-erne/contents.html

    You can print out individual A4 sheets. All the channel markers are shown. The numbers on the markers are invaluable for navigating if you lose your way.

    I go Dutch Barge cruising in the half-term break in February each year with my sister and our families, starting from Ballinamore (Ballinamore to Ballyconnell canal joins the Shannon to the Erne system). It's really cheap and very comfortable. The scenery is stunning at that time of year. This year I'm going to bring my sailing open canoe too.

    I'll do a Blog.

    Best Wishes

    Frank

  9. #9

    Default Lakeland Canoe Centre

    Hi There,

    As of the start of this week we became the new owners of The Canoe Centre in County Fermanagh. We should be fully operational by the start of April with a wide range of facilities to include camping, indoor accomodation, canoe/touring kayak hire, shuttle services, guided trips, airport/seaport/train/bus collection services and a range of adventure activities for everyone.

    We hope that we will be of great service to the Lough Erne Canoe Trail now that we are its "Gate Keepers". We have already been servicing this area through 1 of our other Adventure Centre's - Bluelough.

    Our Canoe Hire services cover all of Ireland and if you require more information email customerservices@thehighpointgroup.com.

    We look forward to seeing you on the water,

    The Highpoint Team

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