Continue on a rough track under a narrow modern bridge, passing the redundant Lullymore briquette factory to the left. Hartley Bridge at Ticknevin comes into view followed shortly by the 20th lock, which marks the end of an 8km stretch without a lock gate but the beginning of an even longer 29km level without locks. It is from this point that the true wilderness of the Bog of Allen comes into its own. For a stretch the canal is bounded by bushy fields followed by forestry plantation but as the channel continues west across the unmarked Kildare-Offaly boundary the trees fall back, the ground falls away and the horizon widens. The canal is carried along on a massive embankment, its height accentuated by years of cutting away of the peat land. The vista to the south is one of almost unending peat land: the flat horizon broken only by peat-harvesting machinery moving like yellow mechanical insects across a desert of brown. The canal-builders tempted nature along this stretch. It was here that the watery morass almost brought the entire canal project to an end in the late 18th century. Year after year workers had poured tons of filling into the canal foundations only to find that within the space of each winter the bog swallowed the solid material. It was only after a decade of backbreaking work that construction was possible on the treacherous bog and the canal was able to push on towards Edenderry. However a bog is never a permanently stable foundation and over the years the canal rampart has breached as it’s underpinning gave way. Horse Bridge at Edenderry 34 COUNTY KILDARE’S TOW PATH TRAILS