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Tower to Tower

3 ½ Day Paddle from Crichton Tower on Upper Lough Erne to Devenish Tower on Lower Lough Erne

This trip will take you from the historic Crom Demesne to the iconic Devenish Tower, passing through the island town of Enniskillen. Combining both rough and official camp sites.

County
Fermanagh
Distance
28 (46kms)
Days
3 ½
Nearest Town
Enniskillen
Route Shape
Linear
Grade
Flat Water
OS Map
Lough Erne Activity Map
Access Point
Crom - GR H370238
Egress Point
Trory - GR H227477

Downloads

Points of Interest

Crom Estate, Crichton Tower, Inis Rath, Enniskillen, Devenish Tower

Itinerary

This itinerary has been compiled using an estimated paddling speed of 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) per hour and also allowing time for lunch breaks and many photo opportunities along the way.  Please check forecast and in particular wind strength and direction before departing.


Day 1 Crom GR H370 238 – Smith’s Stand GR H342 294 6.25miles (10kms)


The National Trust property Crom Estate    (GR H370 238) provides an ideal location to begin the Lough Erne Canoe Trail.  Slipway and jetty facilities provide easy access to the water with excellent car parking 100 metres from the water.  Admission fee applies to non-members.


Camping is available for those who want to arrive the night before in order to make an early start. Camping costs from £16 per night per tent and the campsite is open from St Patrick’s Weekend until the end of October.  It is necessary to pre book on +44 (0)28 6773 8118.


The estate is perhaps best viewed by water, providing a great way to take in Crichton Tower on Gad Island, the 17th century Crom Castle (destroyed in a fire), the 19th century Crom Castle, residence of Lord Erne and the exquisite 19th century boathouse formerly headquarters of Lough Erne Yacht Club. 


Other points of interest along the way include Inish Rath (GR H336270, home to a thriving Hare Krishna community. it is well worth a visit but it is best to make contact beforehand.


The Share Discovery Village  - Ireland’s largest activity centre, situated at Smith’s Strand, is a great venue for overnight camping, for those feeling energetic a wide range of outdoor activities are available. Again it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The Share Discovery Village also manages the Trannish Island Bothy on the nearby Trannish Island - again advanced booking is advised.


Day 2 Smith’s Strand GR H342 294 – Carrybridge GR H295 375 7.5 miles (12kms)


Smith’s Strand to Carrybridge provides typically beautiful Upper Lough Erne conditions providing a maze of islands, bays and sheltered channels.  If there is a strong northerly breeze then more shelter can be found along the eastern shores.  Naan Island (GR H236 391) provides an excellent lunch stop off. 


Carrybridge is 4km from the beginning of a river section joining Upper to Lower Lough Erne.  Look out for the white water level recording session which is a great marker for the start of the river section.  A small rough campsite for a few tents is available on the north side of the bridge and the east side of the river (GR H295 375).  A basic toilet block and fresh water are available here.  Alternatively, accommodation is available in the Carrybridge Hotel . 


Whether a resident or not, the hotel provides a popular spot with locals for food and drink – a great way to sample the “craic”.  Carrybridge is a popular waterskiing location during the summer months so exercise caution when approaching.


Day 3 Carrybridge GR H295 375 – Enniskillen GR H231 440 10 miles (16kms) 


Continue north along the river towards the county town of Enniskillen.  This flat water river offers a choice of ways to Enniskillen with the western branch being the shortest.  Bellanaleck Jetty GR H236 391) is an excellent lunch stop.  The village of Bellanaleck is only a 500m walk away and offers a well stocked local shop and The Sheelin Bar and Tea Shop .


Castle Island (GR H231 440) is perfectly situated on  right at the heart of Enniskillen.  It offers rough camping (the activity centre is unfortunatley temporarily closed) and the opportunity to view the impressive Watergate at Enniskillen Castle which is just opposite.


Alternative egress is possible at Lakeland Forum Car Park (GR H232 438).  Turn up the small river before the Lakeland Forum Building where there is a slipway and jetty right beside the car park for easy egress.


Day 4 Enniskillen GR H231 440 – Trory GR H227 477 5 miles (8kms)


Start the day with a circumnavigation of the island town of Enniskillen providing a great way to view the 17th century Watergate of Enniskillen Castle.


Slightly further downstream from Enniskillen you will approach Portora Lock Gates (GR H222452), keep to the left bank which will allow you use the channel on your left hand side as you paddle downstream.


A further two hours paddling will bring you to Devenish Island (GR H223 468) a monastic settlement with an 81 feet high tower which is possible to climb if you still have the energy.   Trory jetty (GR H227 477) is only a short paddle from Devenish Island.

Getting to the Start

Directions from Belfast 86 miles (138kms)
Take the M1 which turns into the A4 near Dungannon.  Follow sign along the A4 to Enniskillen. Turn left at Maguiresbridge taking the A34 to Lisnaskea.  You will pick up brown tourist sign to Crom on exiting Lisnsakea driving towards Newtwonbutler. Follow these to your destination.


Directions from Dublin 105 miles (169 kms)


Take the M1 Northbound to Junction 14 turning onto the N33 for Ardee.  From there join N2 to Monaghan, then N54 to Clones. Upon crossing the border follow A34 to Newtownbutler. On exiting Newtownbutler you will pick up brown tourist signposts to Crom.  Follow these to your destination.


Shuttle
The shuttle is 24 miles (48 miles return).  Trory is situated approximately 2 miles north of Enniskillen.  Follow sign for Omagh.  Turn off at brown tourist sign for Devenish Island Ferry.


Parking is possible at the egress point Trory Jetty. From there drive back through Enniskillen to Lisnaskea, following aforementioned directions from Belfast.  Parking is also available at Crom.


There are a number of canoeing activity providers based on Lough Erne who can provide a shuttle service.  

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