14 August 2008

Disused and dismantled

Yesterday was a day of disused and dismantled. I followed the Border south of Clones where it makes a mad loop back on itself. The result is a peninsula of the Republic sticking into the North. Its neck is only one hundred metres wide but from there it balloons out into an area twelve kilometres square. It was to even out just such twists that the Border commission was formed after partition. And no doubt they recommended the snipping of this particular headland. However, in the end, the commission’s suggestions were not acted upon.

A disused canel runs across this area. For a short while it constitutes the Border. I walk along it. I pass an abandoned warehouse with a large upper loading bay standing over the route. It will be waiting a long time for the next barge. What would it take to reflood this route? Or the others to east it could link to, such as the old Ulster Canal. The canal route I walked leads to Upper Lough Erne, and once you are there the west is your oyster.

I have walked a fair few dismantled railways toward their Border crossing points. In every case, so far, the Border has been a river along the area in question. So, I was checking to see if the bridge that once carried trains is still standing and now perhaps carrying foot-traffic. They never have been. The connection has always been broken. Either the girders have been exploded, as was the case with the Belcoo example from the July 27th entry, or its brickwork has been dismantled, leaving two stubby structures looking forlornly at each other across eight or ten metres of empty air. This dismantled railway bridge is the exception (44855, 19259).

I confess that strictly speaking this structure should not go on The Map of Connections. The growth on the southern side is too thick to easily walk through. But I cannot resist counting it as a connection. It is a rare exception I am making. I assure you this is not going to initiate slack standards. I cannot resist for one simple reason. It is beautiful.