Ireland day 0016. Thursday 14 October 2021- Ramparts

Ireland day 0016. Thursday 14 October 2021- Ramparts
Today’s summary Walked the Boyne navigation towpath from Broadboyne Bridge to Navan and back.  Locally known as the Boyne Ramparts Heritage Walk
Today’s weather Dry and cloudy all day.   Very little wind.  About 15C
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Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(click button below to download GPX of our walk):

After yesterday’s pathless disappointment, today we made a more determined effort today to find a walk that would take us properly off-road.   And we managed to find one – thanks largely to the man in the pub (but that’s a separate story).

The Boyne Ramparts Heritage Walk exploits the towpath alongside the disused Boyne Navigation to link the relatively remote Stackallan lock at Broadboyne Bridge, about 15 mi / 25km to the west of here, to the centre of Navan, about 8km / 5 miles upstream.   (By the way a “navigation” isn’t the same as a “canal” – the latter is a separate waterway with no or very few links to a river; whereas the former is a waterway that uses both rivers and canals connected together; usually the canal bypasses the un-navigable stretches of the river, for example where there are rapids or narrows).

It was a relatively grey day, and Navan at the end (or mid-point in reality as we had to do a back-flip along the same route to get to the start) is a relatively grey town of about 30,000 people.  The route along the towpath, which had the canal to the south and the Boyne river to the north, was well made up and very quiet.   Although it does feature a rather curious metal  gate at the start with an inset door you have almost to crawl through to get onto the path.   The canal is silted up and slowly decaying.  It was last used in 1920 and there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt at restoration since then.   Canals, a bit like footpaths, don’t seem to be a big thing here in Ireland.

But nevertheless it was a very enjoyable leg-stretch, with the chestnut trees which lined the path just beginning to show their autumn colours.   The information boards offered us glimpses of otters and kingfishers, but like so many (in fact all) of my riverside walks which have made similar promises, we were disappointed today.

We had a quick look round the bustling town of Navan, but didn’t have time really to appreciate all of its no doubt manifold historical splendours.   We did though have time to enjoy very welcome refreshments at the lovely Simply Honest café on Kennedy Rd (named after a dairy farmer who built a shopping centre, and not a president, by the way), before turning on our heels and heading back to Stackallan.

And in another piece of good news, this evening I was contacted by the Boyne Valley Walking Group who are laying on a walk from Beaulieu, to the north of Drogheda, the weekend after next and asked if we’d like to join.   Naturally we said yes, so things are definitely beginning to look up!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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Setting out on the Rampart walk (“Rampart” seems to mean “canal- or river-side path”, rather than “fortification” in Irish) Trespassers of all nationalities catered for here
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Dunmoe Castle.  Not exactly certain when it was built, but it held successfully against Cromwell in 1649 and was occupied by the D’Arcy family until 1799 when it was badly damaged by fire and abandoned Ardmulchan House.   A rather creepy looking spot high above the river – ideal venue for an Agatha Christie plot
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The canal was last used in 1920 and is now sadly completely ruined The square in the centre of Navan.   A busy, grey, town
Standing on the remains of an 11-arch bridge that once spanned the Boyne just upstream from Ardmulchan.   It was built in about 1210 and this remaining arch, known as Babe’s Bridge – is the oldest in Ireland.   It survived the great flood of 1330 which destroyed all the other Boyne bridges between Trim and Drogheda
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