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Strangford Lough Canoe Trail

Strangford Lough, Strangford, Co Down
Canoest on the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail

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This stunning sea lough offers no less than 80 square nautical miles of paddling playground! From the fast-running tidal channel in the south,to the more gentle waters around the islands there is something for canoeists of all abilities on the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail.

The trail is also home to Northern Ireland’s first ‘bothy’ which provides basic shelter and useful facilities for paddlers on Salt Island.

This island-studded sea lough is the largest inlet in the UK & Ireland. Covering 80 square nautical miles. It is approached from the Irish Sea through the (5 nautical mile) fast-running tidal Narrows which opens out into more gentle waters.

The Viking invaders who arrived in their long boats through the fast flowing waters called ‘The Narrows’ bestowed the name Strangfjörthr or ‘place of strong currents’. This is a section of the canoe trail that requires a high level of expertise and it provides an excellent challenge for the experienced paddler!

The Routen Wheel is a series of whirlpools, boils and swirling waters, which is caused by pinnacles of rock on the seabed. This area should be treated with the utmost caution.

By contrast, the calmer waters of the main shallow basin further north gave this Lough its old Irish name ‘Lough Cuan’ meaning sheltered haven. Here paddlers will find a myriad of channels and routes to explore, as well as the chance to discover some of the country’s finest scenery.

Designated as Northern Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve, Strangford Lough is internationally renowned for its abundance and diversity of habitats and species. Over 2000 marine animal and plant species have been found, most unique to this area. Look out for seals, Arctic Terns, Irish Hares, porpoises and much, much more!


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