Cruise The Lough
On Sunday we woke to a bright crisp autumn morning, a perfect day for a leisurely cruise on Lough Neagh. After launching Stormborn at Newferry we set off through Lough Beg, a serene nature reserve hidden from the rat race. It is a specially protected wetland of international importance and one of the finest ornithological sites in the British Isles.
In spring and autumn, migrating birds on their journey pause to rest and feed in Lough Beg. Black-tailed godwit, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper, greenshank and knot are seen every year. And in early summer, the sky is alive with the calls of breeding waders. It is possible to hear the drumming of snipe, the piping whistles of redshank and the peewit calls of lapwing.
Many rare plants including pennyroyal and the Irish ladies’ tresses orchid also reside here. Winter brings floods and with them hundreds of wildfowl to feed on the inundated grasslands.
Church Island, is the focal point of Lough Beg, formerly known as Inish Toide, it was the site of a pre-Viking monastery. The island has an eighteenth century spire, a ruined medieval church, an old graveyard and boasts legends and myths of Saint Patrick and reputed healing powers.