Walkers on the Lagan Canal

Walkers on the Lagan Canal

There’s a song by Elbow called ‘One day like this’ with a line ‘It’s gonna be a beautiful day’. Well, it was exactly that on 2nd February – blue skies and warm in the sun – for our walk along the old Lagan Canal towpath from Moira Station to Aghalee and back.

Seventeen boarded the train for the relaxed journey to Moira and we were delighted to welcome Robert’s friend Richard to the group. The towpath takes you along the route of the original Lagan Canal through Soldierstown, so called from when a certain Major George Rawdon (1604–1684) came to the area in 1631 to manage the Estate of Viscount Conway at Killultagh. He built the Garrison for soldiers at Aghalee hence Soldierstown and on to Aghalee.

The Lagan Canal was 27 miles long and built to connect Belfast to Lough Neagh. Two sections were closed in 1954 and 1958. The central section from Sprucefield to Moira was destroyed by the construction of the M1 in the 1960s.

We made our way under the bridge that carries the railway line and had a look at the ‘skew brickwork’ which was used to strengthen the bridge and saw the notches which the tow rope cut in the iron guard at the foot of the bridge. We then walked alongside the canal, which was frozen over and causing a lot of consternation to the swans trying to break through the ice to get at food. Then we passed the Broadwater, also frozen with swans standing on the ice! It was created in a natural valley to retain a sufficient head of water to accommodate the navigation. Lunch in The Tannery near the station awaited and it was a real treat to sit down to a warm meal (rather than a picnic) and the staff were most accommodating, having two tables set in the Bistro to take all 17 of us.

Next walk on 2nd March is Donard Park and the Granite Trail via Thomas’s Mountain. We will do this walk in the opposite direction to that in WalkNI so as to descend the steep section beside the Bogie Line with its interesting artifacts from the Mourne Granite industry.

Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Sunday 3rd February 2019

Category: Walkers

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