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Toome – Camus

This 2 day paddle with overnight rough camping offers an excellent short break on the southern end of the Lower Bann Canoe Trail including Lough Beg.

County
Londonderry / Antrim
Distance
30 (47kms)
Days
2
Nearest Town
Toome, Portglenone
Route Shape
Linear
Grade
1
OS Map
8 & 14
Access Point
Toome 1 - GR H988905
Egress Point
Camus 11 - GR C880279

Downloads

Points of Interest

 Lough Beg National Nature Reserve, Portglenone

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 Toome (GR H988 905) to Portna (GR C845 337) 15 miles (24kms)


The floating pontoons beside the slipway at Toome provide an excellent place to load your craft for the trip ahead.  From there you can push off along a narrow canal en route to Lough Beg.  Stay to the east bank when leaving Toome to avoid the eels traps. 


Lough Beg is a beautiful National Nature Reserve, home to a gamut of birdlife.  About 5 miles (8kms) in length, the lough can be rough in strong winds, the east side offers more shelter due to the variety of small islands but it can become shallow in places.  Avoid landing on the west bank of Lough Beg especially during the over wintering bird season from October – March and the breeding season from March to June.


You will have the choice of rest stops at Newferry, however Newferry East has toilets open during the summer at weekends.


Following a short rest at Newferry, a relaxing and winding 4 mile (6kms) paddle downstream will bring you past Portglenone Forest and into Portglenone itself (GR C974 040).  The spectacular multi-arched bridge marks your arrival.  Egress is available via the slipway or jetty Portglenone Marina, or you may choose to stop at the Wild Duck Inn (+44 (0)28 2582 1232), a friendly family run pub offering traditional pub dining. It has its own jetty which can be seen on the right immediately after the bridge.  A short walk will bring a further choice of coffee shops, pubs and convenience stores.


Following your break at Portglenone continue to meander downstream until you get to Hutchinson’s Quay (GR C949 114) a further 5 ¼ mile (8.5km) paddle. Egress is possible by both jetty and slipway. 


After Hucthinson’s Quay it is important to keep to the west bank.  This will allow you to enter the canal and double lock gates therefore avoiding the Portna flood gates which are extremely dangerous.  For details on lock gates see Lower Bann Canoe Trail Practical Guide. 


Your rough campsite for the night at Portna (GR C937 124), is the well maintained Waterways Ireland site on the west bank where you can take some well earned rest after a long enjoyable day on the water.  If you are looking for a roof over your head then a further ½ mile will bring you to Portneal Lodge (GR C937 132) which offers reasonably priced Guest House accommodation.


Day 2 Portna (GR C845 337) to Camus (GR C880 279) 12 miles (19 km)


This slightly shorter day starts with a bit of a bang to awake the senses.  The moving water below Porta flood gates can be Grade 2 in parts.


A further ½ mile will bring you to an arched road bridge over the river.  Exercise care near the bridge due to moving water.  Egress is available at Portneal Lodge (GR C937 132) which is a half mile walk to the busy market town of Kilrea in case you want to stock up on supplies.


From Portneal Lodge continue a further 2.5 miles (4.5kms) downstream in Grade 1 moving water.  Keep to the east bank to avoid the weir on the approach to Movanagher, the canal to the lock gate is well signposted.


Continue along this, perhaps the most peaceful part of the trail.  In another mile (1.6kms) you’ll come to Carnroe Weir, again keep to the east bank well in advance to avoid the vertical weir and navigate through the locks gates.  Either Movanagher (GR C916 163) or Carnroe (GR C912 178) offer a good place to stop for a packed lunch, or if you have a hankering for some pub grub then pull into the jetty at Vow (GR C915 168), a short walk through the forest and right along the road will bring you to the Angler’s Rest (+44 (0)28 2766 6466).


If you wish to extend your trip with another overnight stop a further 5 miles (8kms) will bring you to your destination Drumaheglis Marina & Caravan Park  (GR C902 252). Exercise caution along this part of the river as it can be busy with water skiers.  The serviced campsite is open from St Patrick’s Weekend to Halloween and it is strongly advisable to book in advance.


Camus is a further 2 ¼ miles downstream, egress is available via canoe steps at GR C937 132. 

Getting to the Start

Directions from Belfast 32 miles (51kms)
Take the M2 following signs for Londonderry. Continue along the M2 which will turn into the M22 then A6. Turn onto the B18 towards Toome village centre. Take the first left after the Centra and then take the next left after the bus stop.  The car park beside the lock keeper’s cottage is straight ahead of you. 


Directions from Dublin 130 miles (211 Kms)
Take the M1 Northbound to Belfast then follow directions above from Belfast.


Shuttle
The shuttle is 28 miles (56 miles return).  Exit Toome on the A6 towards Londonderry then turn right (just after McNally’s Inn) onto the B186 signposted for Bellaghy. Continue through Bellaghy and follow the A54 towards Coleraine.  You will see Camus on the right hand side, marked by a brown wooden sign post.


Eating Out recommendations are taken from Waterways Ireland – A Taste of the Waterways

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