Inland Waterways Association of Ireland

The Voice of Ireland's Waterways

Barrowline Cruisers

Join and receive your copy of IWN!

Locations of visitors to this page

Royal Summit level down again.

Posted by PRO, Dublin Branch 
Royal Summit level down again.
04 April, 2012 21:21
Hi All,

I got an e-mail from Donal Flynn on Monday telling me the Royal summit was down about 6", but that the pump was being re-instated just west of Neads Bridge. Last night he advised me that the level was now down 12". Giles Biford advises me this evening that he's been told its down 16". I phoned Mark Healy, Alannah, this evening. He left Coolnahay today for Mullingar, but having "bounced and scraped" the half mile to Shandonagh Bridge, gave up. His boat is 2'8" deep. One wonders if the land racks are still locked open at each end, as they were last summer, or if they've been closed yet....??

So, further to MN 33/12, it's looking that if your boats more than about 2 foot deep, the Royal summit may effectively be closed this weekend. More info if and when it comes to hand.

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch

Mary Lynch's Ladder at 14.47 this afternoon. Level is down in excess of 1 foot. Pic, D Flynn

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2012 22:00 by PRO, Dublin Branch.
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 00:16
Good posting Mick,

Just to confirm your quote: the phone call we got this evening was a warning that the level was down 16" from a friend with a boat moored on the summit. He went on to say he'd had to push his boat to the middle of the channel to keep it afloat.

We've been boating east towards the summit for for two days and there has been water aplenty to date, so much so that it's running over lock gates and into overflows. So to be told that the summit was effectively closed for lack of water came as some surprise.

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 13:16
Following a busy morning on the phone, I can report the following:

The summit level is shut, with no promises of when it will re-open. A Marine Notice is to be issued.
This was put down to a combination of weather, a vandalism incident, and leaks on the canal west of Coolnahay. Keeping west of the summit in water means the summit's level will continue to drop.

The water we saw running over the locks and spillways east of Thomastown is coming from the Thomastown feeder - not the summit. So the canal east of Thomastown should hold its levels.

There seems to be some issue, nobody is saying what, with budget restrictions on the running of pumps.

Why the levels were allowed to get to a point when closure was the only option without some forewarning of what's happening is beyond me - had we been told there might be an issue we would have not have even crossed the summit. We certainly wouldn't have hung about on the canal's eastern lengths.

So we might have to go through Dublin after all, not a journey we either look forward to or, given we're due on the north Shannon for the end of April, planned ('The Effin Bridge' opens on the 14th). Doing so would be a complete pain in the @#$%& but we would at least qualify for a 'Green and Silver' plaque.... And be back on the Shannon for mid May.

Now praying for rain, and lots of it.

Giles Byford.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2012 13:18 by Giles Byford.
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 17:47

Best info I can get for the moment is that the summit is likely to be closed for 6 to 8 weeks. Donal Flynn reports the level down further today, with the next rung down on the ladder now exposed. He just about managed to get Sundowner down below the 25th this afternoon. He's also looking after the "rescue" of the stranded crew at Shandonagh Bridge but it looks as if the boats there for the duration. Giles is either doing Green & Silver or "a long wait" and I'll be trying to ascertain who else is going to be changing plans as a result. Could anyone stuck east of Mullingar, that was planning on heading west, and who may now be heading through Dublin please let me know at dublin at iwai dot ie

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 18:22
Just barely got sundowner to the far side of 25th lock. Rubbed the keel a few times and nearly thwarted with two fert bags. Photos to follow . I received a ph call from a wi man at lunch time advising me to make a run for it before it went too low which it is dropping so rapidly one ft in only 20 hrs. I've been told that it could be a month to 6 or 8 weeks before it's back up. angry smiley
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 20:07
Some pics from Donal of the Neads Bridge area and lock 25. It's 17 inches from the top of the gate to the normal "watermark" as measured by meself and Joe T last summer.

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 21:24
Also pertinent to the current situation on the summit is that the water level has been 'restored' to three feet below the original overflow height. The first picture below is of the overflow at lock 25 when we motored east (level 'full - though we still 'bounced' throught the cutting east of Mullingar). The second is an overflow further down the Thomastown flight.

So the summit has absolutely no surplus capacity to cope with even minor problems.

Apologies for there only being links to the photos - I've no idea why that is or how to fix it.

links fixed! Michael

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/2012 08:01 by Michael Slevin.
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
05 April, 2012 23:16
Hi Giles,

This Thomastown Feeder you mention above, would'nt by any chance happen to be the landrack that was "open a few teeth" in the 18th Lock today...?? My spies report a nice gush of water passing through and the level above, down about 3 inches....!! There is a stream alongside the harbour here but as far as I'm aware, it goes under the canal and does'nt actually enter it. Never noticed any signs of water entering around here.

With regard to the overflows at lock 25, filling the summit to this level would probably only leave 9 and a half feet airdraft at Neads Bridge and about 2 foot less at Morans. I'd be very happy if it topped the gates at 25. This would leave it about 6" below the top of the gates at 26 at the other end of the summit. The whole problem with levels here seems to come back to the "dodgy bank" out at the Downs and water supply. Donal Flynn did report that WI had dome some remedial works on re-building the horse walk out there over the winter but the really big issue seems to be the lack of supply from Lough Ennell. This was reportedly delayed in the planning process last year. No idea as to its current status.

Donal, as suggested today and given the landrack at 18, might it be best to bring Sundowner down to Thomastown...??

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch.

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
06 April, 2012 12:35

The Thomastown feeder information I was given came from Michael Bane - WI's Area Technician, whatever that means. If summit water is still pouring through the 17th lock to eventually spill down the Ryevalley overflow (as it was all last week) then that's nuts.

That water is still being racked off the summit, which seems to be the case given Donal reported it continued to drop yesterday, defies all logic. I hope to have a blog up later today that looks at just what is going on, and the nonsense we've been told (it's a bit long winded for here but I'll post a link and invite comments).

I've heard rumours that another 12" - 14" is to be put on the summit level over the next winter. We'll see...

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
06 April, 2012 14:41
Giles Byford Lament

For my green and Silver flag
I thought i'd have a try
But it looks like my attempt
Will leave me high and dry

I hoped to start on the Royal
And through the midlands i'd cut
But when I reached the summit
The water had dropped another fut

So here I sit with scraped bottom
Hawthorns sides all covered in mud
For each time I tried moving her
All I could hear was an almighty thud

So with time to sit here and ponder
The internal workings of the W.I.
I've came to the realization
And its enough to make a man cry

I will have to wait until the winter
When the rain and snow will fall
To be presented with my bunting
at the New Years winter ball.smoking smiley

Mick Foster
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 12:33
Thanks for the lament Mick.

'So with time to sit here and ponder
The internal workings of the W.I.
I've came to the realization
And its enough to make a man cry'

My 'crying' is now public. I wouldn't normally put a link to any of my blog postings on here, or push the blog on here for that matter, but events of the last few days on the Royal will be of interest to anyone planning to boat it.

One quick summary: I was told this morning (Saturday) that 'the canal is now closed at the summit until we have one wet month'.

It's here: []

If you want the latest information, without the 'lament', it's all at the bottom.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2012 12:37 by Giles Byford.
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 14:35
Good blog Giles.

Unfortunately all this was raised with WI, last July when I was waiting on the "tide" at Neads Bridge and again in September when the "@#$%& fell out of the canal", as Dick Warner was crossing the summit. The lack of supply from Lough Ennell is undoubably a major factor, but it does rather seem as if the effects of continiously racking water off the summit just has'nt sunk in with whomsoever is in charge. Quite a few boats were planning on Green and Silvering their way to the Dublin Rally across the Royal, which now wont be happening. Much worse though, is the fact that those heading West after the Rally in June are now starting to question whether they should on not...!!

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 15:16
Alas, yes, we are going to have to seriously question the wisdom of entering the Royal in June. OK, a wet April and/or May would make a difference. But would a dry June strand us again? If the Ennel supply is not in place then WI have opened the canal too soon.

Perhaps this is an issue the Exec would care to get their teeth into? Even to get an official response. "IWAI is the voice of waterways users and enthusiasts" - well let WI know we are being treated with a total lack of regard. I have great respect with WI people on the ground, but the office based WI bureaucrats seem to have no vision beyond their desks.
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 16:52
It has often been said the WI staff read this forum and have on occasions appeared to react to what has been posted. In the hope that this may be so, I offer the following......

Close all the landracks and stop draining the levels....!!

I arrived on the summit late last June with the level in and around it's normal 18" below the top of the gates at Lock 25. As I recall it took me 15 to 20 minutes to travel the first 100 yards to Footy's Bridge, requiring half to full power to make any progress whatsoever. I hung around Neads Bridge for about 10 days and then had to get the level raised 3" to scrape through Neads. It took 3 days to pump in the 3". Having cleared Neads it took approx 10 hours over the next 2 days to reach Coolnahay, quite a pleasent journey with little in the way of canal issues. (In September, Dick Warner spent 19 hours doing the same journey in a considerably smaller boat than mine.)

I left 31 in Coolnahay for 2 weeks and on my return, the summit level had dropped by about 5". The landrack at Lock 26 was locked in the open position and water was flowing copiously over the rest of the lockgates, all the way to Richmond Harbour. There was also the strange case of vast quantities of water being pumped up into the canal just East of the Inny Aqueduct, only to have it leave the canal again at the spillway just West of the aqueduct. Ever considered putting in some stop planks and keeping more of it in...??

Whilst I would not claim to be an expert in the management of water on the Western end of the Royal (and I do accept that getting the balance right is a highly skilled exercise) water flowing over gates and out through spillways is wasted, and where is this water coming from if not the summit and the Lough Owell feeder....?? By all means rack and pump water when its required, but to do so continiously is the difference between management and mis-management....!!

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch

Locked open landrack at L26...draining the summit

Typical overspill at lockgates, running water off to the Shannon

Inny Water....badly needed on the canal indeed

Outy Water....badly needed, but gone again a few hundred yards west

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 20:44
My 'crying' is now public

You will turn left the next time you are told

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
07 April, 2012 23:47
Bit knackered but thought I'd add this dropped down to Thomastown this morn , the water was flowing over the gates?!? Right up to 18th? Where it didn't, ? Landrack open a bit ?! Certainly a nice pulsing gushing sound pumping through. So to he'll with it made a burst for hill of down and back very enjoyable but left it a bit late coming back full nav lights and spot lamps! And a disgruntled courting couple! Now safely moored beside float no.3 and ogling 33m in moonlight with stove burning , heaven. Anyway the summit has dropped even more anyone in a pair of waders would have no problem walking across , that is not an exaggeration .donal
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
08 April, 2012 13:55
Lament was only in jest Giles hope you get your Green and Silver before Santa arrives. I dont know much about the area of the Royal other than the western end at Clondara where I've fished since 94 but have done the SEW a few times and can say its well worth the journey.I was hoping to get down through it at Easter to Leitrim but had an incident with some idiots(words I used not fit for this site)and got 2 dead bait lines wrapped round prop and engine dont sound just right and wont get looked at until next weekend so will have to wait until end of May to do the SEW again.So Sat 26th May hopefully all locks and water depth ok and I be out and about on the Shannon.Mick
Re: Royal Summit level down again.
21 April, 2012 21:57
Donal Flynn reports the Royal summit back up approx 6" today. Pic attached. Many thanks Donal.

Mick Farrell
Dublin Branch

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
26 April, 2012 00:17
Reportedly the Grand is up close to top of the banks at Ardclough tonight, so I'd say the Royal might-just be getting the much prayed for improved levels also.
Might be time for anyone stuck there to make a run for Dublin!!!!!

Re: Royal Summit level down again.
26 April, 2012 00:34
Alas Richard it's not the case on the Royal summit. I came down tonight but it's still down roughly 13 inches. The land racks are locked in the open position. Looks like WI are not even us half a chance. The Coolnahay rack is fully open
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests within the past 30 minutes: 17
Record Number of Registered Users (within a 30 minute window): 7 on 12 November, 2017
Record Number of Guests (within a 30 minute window): 384 on 10 June, 2017