To me, Strangford Lough is one of the most beautiful and magical places on earth ! It has many moods, depending on the season and the weather - sometimes calm with clear blue skies, sometimes wild and wet, sometimes grey, and at other times misty and still. The scenery and wildlife are truly thrilling. It is both a priviledge and blessing to be able to kayak on the lough, to be able to swim in it, as well as walk or cycle round its shores. There are times when I need to be there alone. Nevertheless, one of the greatest joys is to be there with others, and see them thrilled and blessed by the whole experience. I hope what you find on this page will inspire you to spend more time enjoying this amazing place.
Canoe on Down has a useful aritcle on Strangford Lough, written by Mike McClure
Enjoy browsing through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's new website to encourage people to 'Visit Strangford Lough'.
I hope to add to this page each month..... please come back again :) Julie
Mother Nature has her own pace, rhythm and cycles, and the wildlife of the lough changes with the seasons. At this time of year I love watching for winter visitors - thousands of birds from Arctic Canada, Iceland, Russia and Europe, who come because the mudflats provide 'fine dining' for them.
Canoe on Down contains information about paddling from this spot. The place looks quite different at low tide, when you need to launch from a stony beach.
Feb 2012 -
Strangford Lough, a place to be enjoyed and protected...
Here is a beautiful video, by Bernie Brown, to give you a wee taste of the lough:
Relax and play this next clip - the seals are fun to watch :) Anyone who has tried to photograph a seal from their kayak will appreciate how hard it is to get close to them ! Also, the underwater pictures are super and just make you want to see more:
Another place I visited this month, which has beautiful panoramic views of the lough is Nendrum Monastic site.
Photo by Catherine Trigg, Wikipedia
Otters can be found in Strangford Lough, Gary and I have seen them while out kayaking. A friend recently recommended Simon Kings website to me, where I found an excellent video on how to recognise the tracks and signs left by otters, and then how to try and spot one for yourself - thanks Hugo !
May 2012 -
Thanks to Bernie for this photo compilation.
June 2012 -
Many thanks again to Bernie McGirr for these super photos of the club evening paddle to Salt Island, a reminder of a beautiful evening out on the lough.
July 2012 -
Time for two - an evening on the lough :)
August 2012 -
On 11 July, the weather was very kind to us - Gary and I enjoyed camping on an island just north of Strangford. Then the following day we worked with the tides to paddle through the narrows to Angus Rock, then to Benderg Bay and back. Gary caught some fish for supper :)
September 2012 -
Home of Ringhaddy Cruising Club, and a great place for divers - I was recently told by a diver that it is the most dived placed in the whole of Ireland. As a result, the limited parking space is often taken. If you can find somewhere suitable to park, it is a useful starting place for a paddle. It is opposite Islandmore and Pawle Island is close too. Bear in mind that tides can run at about 1-2 knots during springs in a north/south direction through Ringhaddy Sound.
This month, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to paddle with a friend from Ringhaddy, round Islandmore and Pawle Island. We were delighted to be asked to help the farmer herd cattle on Pawle - it was a pleasure to meet Oisin and Anne Marie, who owned the herd, and to chat with them and find out a wee bit more about the place - a sincere thankyou to them both.
October 2012 -
The weather was very kind to us for the club outing on Sun 21 October - 10 paddlers enjoyed a 10 mile trip from Strangford, through the narrows, to Benderg Bay and back. Thanks to Bernie and Cathy there was plenty of home made cake when we had our tea break at Benderg Bay, while we waited for the tide to turn. On the way back we landed on Angus Rock. It was a great experience for all - cutting in and out of the flow, paddling through boils and standing waves, and of course the scenery, the craic and the company made the day ! Thanks to all :)
Thanks to Bernie for putting together this compilation of members photos - relax and enjoy watching it.
Further in from the shores, in the farms and small woodlands of Strangford and Lecale, we host a further range of bird species. Our hedgerows, where they are thick and well managed, support species like tree sparrow and yellow hammer, whilst open country sees increasing numbers of buzzards soaring high above our farmlands. Even our gardens, with a minimal amount of work can support nesting tits, robins or overwintering thrushes like fieldfare and redwing, arriving to avoid winter freezes further east.
This wealth of bird life has, over the centuries, inspired our artists, writers of poetry and fiction, and those who have sought to document the beauty and romance of our bird life.....It is the plain and simple truth that, over the centuries, our birds have provided us with practical essentials like food and down, but perhaps more importantly they've also greatly lifted our spirits!'