Strangford Recreational Paddle Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th June 2014

There can be no question that the weather can with make or break a trip regardless of it’s location or the ability of the paddlers involved. So keeping a close eye on the forecast all week, I was confident the weekend’s weather would not affect the CANI REC paddle out to Salt Island. That was confirmed when I arrived in Killyleagh to find an almost flat sea with little or no wind and even the grey sky showed promise of breaking up throughout the day.

Strangford Lough2
It was great to see a number of new paddlers along with some “old hands” to help Shepard everyone towards Salt and after the usual “faffing” we were on the water. The plan was simple, paddle straight to Salt Island, set up camp, have lunch and then go for a paddle with much lighter boats.

With tents up and lunch eaten we headed out towards Castle Island and the Quoile barrier, the sea now was like a millpond and the grey skies had been replaced with blue. Some on the water coaching got everyone paddling in a straight “ish” line during a very relaxed paddle. Back at Salt some boat swapping took place with some impressive sea paddling skills being demonstrated by the kids and the odd adult.

Strangford Lough3

With dinner and quiz over we light a fire and settled in to a lovely evening, no wind, a flat sea and a perfect rising of the moon. The craic continued round the fire until the small hours when bed called.

The following morning was still calm and sunny with little sign of wind, we relaxed had breakfast and waited for the incoming tide. All packed and bothy cleaned we moved our boats towards the water, I had felt the wind pick up a little over the past hour and watched a few waves develop out to sea but was happy our return would be fine so we set off towards Green Island.

Strangford Lough1

The return journey was a little more interesting than the previous days flat paddle. There would certainly be a few stories told at work on Monday morning and I’m sure the 2 foot swell would be multiplied by 3.

Many thanks to the coaches and leaders who provided cover and gave a our novice paddlers a great experience throughout the weekend.

Peter Dew

Full album of photos available here on the CANI facebook page

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