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Lough Erne & Lower Bann Navigations Reopen on May 29th

28th May 2020

More good news for boat owners on the Erne System, the Shannon Erne Waterway within Northern Ireland and the Lower Bann Navigation, in the form of a Marine Notice from Waterways Ireland. It is planned to open the navigations tomorrow on 29th May.

The organisation says “Within the last seventy-two hours the Northern Ireland Executive has announced more easing of restrictions as part of its five-step roadmap to recovery. Waterways Ireland is now planning the phased reopening of The Erne System, the Shannon Erne Waterway (within Northern Ireland) and the Lower Bann Navigation. Waterways Ireland is currently finalising its roadmap and the phased return of our workforce. It is important to understand that it will take time to fully open the navigations. It requires the introduction of new COVID-19 procedures and protocols for compliance with Health and Safety legislation. This involves the management and mitigation of risk, training of staff and provision of resources for the protection of staff and waterway users. We expect our roadmap to be issued in the coming days. Based on the time to mobilise we expect these navigations to reopen on May 29th”.

The Erne System comprises the two great loughs in County Fermanagh, Upper and Lower Lough Erne. They share dramatic landscapes, with many islands, high cliffs, National Trust properties, ancient monuments, and the mediaeval castle at Enniskillen. As a trade route for the Vikings, it has never been a modern commercial navigation.

The Shannon Erne Waterway runs between Leitrim Village and it links the two great waterways on the island, the Erne System and the Shannon Navigation. It was known as the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal and opened in 1860. Re-opened in 1994 after restoration, it is 63km of river, lake and still-water canal and takes approximately 13 hours to travel.

The Lower Bann is navigable from Lough Neagh to the sea at the Barmouth between Castlerock and Portstewart Strand. With only five locks (one a double lock) there are long rural stretches of open water allowing for some leisurely cruising along this tranquil waterway. Lough Neagh itself if the largest freshwater lake by area in the British Isles. adventure.

The full text of the Notice can be found here

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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