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There has been a surprisingly mixed reaction to the news that next weekend, in celebration of the Royal Platinum Jubilee, the sailing-mad town of Bangor on Belfast Lough will be conferred with City Status. Joy has not been unalloyed. Apart from the classic Bangorian’s default reaction of “What’s it going to cost us?”, the time-honoured “Bangor-by-the-Sea” has had its own neat and evocative power of expression over the years.

It’s a title that trips easily off the tongue, much more so than “City of Bangor”. It tells you exactly what the place is all about. And while some famous cities undoubtedly exude glamour, far more of them have a distinctly gritty workaday image, emphasised in this instance by the fact that while Belfast was the smokey place where Bangorians commuted each day to work, their home town was the fresh-aired haven where they gladly retreated each evening, a healthy place where in summer they went sailing, played golf, made an attempt at tennis, or simply enjoyed the benefits of sea air and the fact that it wasn’t a city, Belfast or otherwise

You knew where you were with “The Town of Bangor”. But the sudden imposition of the title of The City of Bangor on a place that’s exactly the same as it was last week has evoked some sardonic responses. Not least was the assertion that it should have been given to the one of the more disadvantaged alternative places that were promoted for the honour but failed to make the cut, less favoured towns such as Coleraine or Ballymena, “for they need it a lot more than we do”.

“Bangor-by-the-Sea” as it is now, quite big enough and actually a city for 1,500 years“Bangor-by-the-Sea” as it is now, quite big enough and actually a city for 1,500 years

Outsiders may find this reaction a bit ungracious. But in Bangor, there are those who know that, in thinking they’re conferring city status on Bangor, the modern authorities are deluded with their own self-importance. For they’re simply enabling the contemporary conurbation to revert to the city status which it held 1,500 years ago, when Bangor was an active monastic city of European significance.

Indeed, it had such staying power that when the Mappa Mundi – the World Map - of Hereford Cathedral was created towards 1300AD, only four places were marked and named in Ireland – Dublin, Bangor, Armagh and Kildare. Other monastic cities such as Clonmacnois and Derry, which had also been setting the international pace when Bangor was getting up to speed, were no longer significant. Yet Bangor – despite having proven a natural base for the Vikings – had survived to be the only place of importance on Belfast Lough.

At the time of the Hereford map, Carrickfergus on the Antrim shore was just a rocky islet behind which storm-beleaguered boats could find shelter at high water, while Belfast was no more than mudflats at the mouth of the very shallow River Lagan. Thus Bangor with its two north-facing bays – sheltered in the prevailing southwest wind - was the continuing natural centre of maritime and urban activity.

This seems to have partially been because while Clonmacnois had prospered for centuries as a place of such importance in learning that it drew people in, while Derry was never the same once Columcille had departed to convert the Scots in 563AD, Bangor was in for the long haul and outward-looking, thanks to continuing two-way missionary connections with Europe, notably to the Swiss, Austrian and North Italian Regions.

The voyaging Irish monks from the ancient Monastic City of Bangor had a greater impact in the heart of Europe than any other Irish seat of learningThe voyaging Irish monks from the ancient Monastic City of Bangor had a greater impact in the heart of Europe than any other Irish seat of learning

They also sent missionaries to what is now the Glasgow area, but that may have been a mixed blessing, as subsequently the rough Scots began to move in on the Bangor area to such an extent that the Stuart king James VI of Scotland, aka James 1st of England, granted Bangor port status in 1620, with all the trading monopolies which that conferred.

However, by that time Carrickfergus was the primary fortified port on what had generally become known as Carrickfergus Bay. Yet it was only a matter of time before it became Belfast Lough, as the rapidly-growing township at its head was becoming such a major commercial and industrial force that in 1888 it was finally conferred with the much-sought City of Belfast status when such titles really meant something.

Bangor meanwhile was developing in fresh directions. For a while, one of the bigger landlords in the little town tried to turn it into a cotton-manufacturing centre, and up to 300 people were employed in the North Down equivalent of the Dark Satanic Mills around Bangor Bay. But the coming of the railway from Belfast in 1865, with links throughout Ireland, was transformational.

For a while, it led to attempts to turn Bangor into a classic Victorian seaside resort. This worked to a certain extent for some time. In fact, it had a certain validity until sun-centred package holidays changed everything. But meanwhile it generated an underlying tension, for Belfast’s very rapid industrial growth meant that by 1900 it was the most atmospherically-polluted city in the world, and for many people this meant that Bangor was much more useful as a healthy-aired dormitory town well clear of Belfast’s grime, rather than somewhere with gaudy hospitality tendencies trying to generate an unreliable income from budget-limited visitors.

This in turn changed the geography of sailing development on Belfast Lough. We have records of recreational sailing in the Belfast-Holywood-Cultra-Carrickfergus upper part of the lough before 1800, and the oldest known image of this sailing is the painting of Belfast Regatta in 1829, when the race area was between Belfast and Carrickfergus

“Belfast Regatta” of 1829 – the full title reads: “Race Won 19 June 1829, at the Belfast Regatta, by the ‘Ariel’, John McCracken Esq., against the ‘Crusader’, Sir Stephen May, and the ‘Zoe’, Marquis (sic) of Donegall. From the painting by Andrew Nicholl, Ulster Museum.“Belfast Regatta” of 1829 – the full title reads: “Race Won 19 June 1829, at the Belfast Regatta, by the ‘Ariel’, John McCracken Esq., against the ‘Crusader’, Sir Stephen May, and the ‘Zoe’, Marquis (sic) of Donegall. From the painting by Andrew Nicholl, Ulster Museum.

But with improving rail and road connections to Bangor, the now rapidly-growing former monastic city by the sea began to play an increasing role in the Lough’s sailing development, and though the town’s Royal Ulster Yacht Club (founded 1866 just one year after the railway opened) is historically best-known for its direct links to Thomas Lipton’s five America’s Cup Challenges between 1899 and 1930, in terms of ground-breaking sailing development its input into the new-fangled concept of One-Design keelboat classes through its key role in the Belfast Lough One Design was something of global significance.

There’s a reminder of all this in the April 2022 Edition of Classic Boat magazine, where Tom Cunliffe writes of the restoration by craftsman boatbuilder Alastair Garland of the New Forest in Hampshire of Uandi, the 24-footer which started life in the mid-1890s as one of the new Belfast Lough No 1 ODs designed initially by William Fife in 1895.

Alastair Garland’s restored 1897-built 24ft LOA Belfast Lough OD in Hampshire. An un-restored sister-ship still exists in Ireland, in much the same state as Uandi was pre-restoration (upper right). Photos: Alastair GarlandAlastair Garland’s restored 1897-built 24ft LOA Belfast Lough OD in Hampshire.

In Uandi’s case, she was built for T V P McCammon of Holywood in 1897 by A Hutchinson & Co, whose yard was on North Twin Island in Belfast. Her sail number in the growing class was 7, but their time as the No I class was very brief, for enthusiasm was such that they’d become the No II Class by 1897 with the arrival of the 37ft boats which became the No I class through Force Majeur, and indeed by 1899 the little boats of 1895 origins had become the No III Class thanks to the arrival of new 31ft Mylne-designed sloops which elbowed their way into becoming the No II Class, better known as the Stars.

The first design for a Belfast Lough OD - the 24 footers which eventually became Class III - was this remarkably modern set of lines first sketched by Wiliam Fife in 1895.The first design for a Belfast Lough OD - the 24 footers which eventually became Class III - was this remarkably modern set of lines first sketched by Wiliam Fife in 1895.

The new class getting up to strength, racing at RUYC Regatta 1898. Photo courtesy RUYCThe new class getting up to strength, racing at RUYC Regatta 1898. Photo courtesy RUYC

All the joys of a running finish at the 1898 regatta…….Uandi on left, with the new RUYC clubhouse under construction in the background. Photo: Courtesy RUYCAll the joys of a running finish at the 1898 regatta…….Uandi on left, with the new RUYC clubhouse under construction in the background. Photo: Courtesy RUYC

Be that as it may, the original 24-footers first mooted in 1895 were of huge historical significance, and all power to Alastair Garland for recognising this and providing himself with a very attractive little day sailer while he’s at it.

However, he’s wrong on one count – Uandi is not the sole survivor of the class. I happen to known where the very restorable hulk of one of her sisters is hidden in plain sight in Ireland, but have so far failed to persuade classic boat enthusiasts that a very important yet manageable Fife creation is waiting for what will undoubtedly be an expensive but very worthwhile restoration, for the boats are a joy to sail in their own right.

Regatta Day 1898, and the new boats look very well, but after a gybe finish this foredeck is busy and the spinnaker is still up there behind the mainsail. Photo courtesy RUYCRegatta Day 1898, and the new boats look very well, but after a gybe finish this foredeck is busy and the spinnaker is still up there behind the mainsail. Photo courtesy RUYC

Who knows, but maybe some classics enthusiast in the new City of Bangor might feel that this particular restoration is now a doubly-worthwhile project, for all the stories about Bangor’s new status lead with the fact that it’s now home to the leading marina in Ireland.

This is not something which was achieved easily. A month ago, we published a piece  about how Bangor’s anchorages sometimes suffered from severe onshore gales. When it was re-posted on the Ballyholme Yacht Club website, it drew a sad response from Richard Thompson about how the great northeasterly gale of 1976 had resulted in the total loss at Ballyholme of his 26ft Swallow Class Philomela, a boat I once owned myself for several happy year.

But Richard’s point went further than that, for out of a fleet of 80-plus boats moored in Ballyholme Bay, 41 had either been totally lost or very severely damaged. It proved to be a pivotal point which resulted in massive developments about the planning of which I’ve only a sketchy notion, but the fact that Bangor now has a marina of top international standard speaks for itself.

It seems that after the 1976 storm, two Bangor councillors who had long thought the town badly needed a decent yacht harbour tried to encourage local officials to explore what might be possible through special grants and development support from the recently-joined European Union, or EEC as it was then. But the prospect of Brussels bureaucracy and paperwork generally was daunting in the extreme.

However, it happened that at the time the late Hugh Kennedy  was the very active Rear Commodore of RUYC, and he took his family holidays every August in Baltimore in West Cork. There, one of his neighbours at high summer was the late Peter Sutherland, an EU Commissioner among many other things, highly regarded as a man who knew his way around all the corridors of power and could get things done. Hugh wondered if it would help if he could arrange an informal summertime meeting between the Bangor marina proposers and Peter Sutherland, and apparently it took place, and very successful it was too.

Thus in looking at today’s Bangor Marina, the jewel in the crown of Northern Ireland’s newest city, you can’t help but wonder if it all began to become reality with a friendly handshake in the back bar of Bushe’s Bar in Baltimore. But beyond that, there’s no need to feel any special obligation to Brussels. For back in Bangor’s Monastic City days 1,500 years ago, Bangor gave some enduring and priceless gifts of faith and civilisation to Europe, so the building of Bangor Marina marked payback time.

Be that as it may, the new city status is going to pose some immediate acronym problems. At the end of June, the town, the marina, and the yacht clubs of Bangor are going to co-operate in staging the successful biennial Bangor Town Regatta, known to everyone by the neat title of BTR. That can hardly be retained now. Yet City of Bangor Regatta becomes COBR, which is quite a mouthful, and inevitably will become COBRA. Do you think the promo “Let’s do COBRA” will have wings?

Action stations at Bangor Town Regatta, usually known as BTR. With Bangor’s new city status, will this year’s event from 23rd to 26th June become COBRA 22?Action stations at Bangor Town Regatta, usually known as BTR. With Bangor’s new city status, will this year’s event from 23rd to 26th June become COBRA 22?

Published in W M Nixon
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Bangor RNLI’s volunteers came to the rescue of six women on a yacht after its engine failed during a passage to Glenarm in Co Antrim.

The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was launched on Monday morning (9 May) from Belfast Lough to the yacht’s location just off Donaghadee Sound, in choppy seas and a strong breeze.

One of the women on the yacht reported being seasick but she did not require a medical evacuation.

With the yacht under good control with just a headsail, the lifeboat kept a safe distance until the vessel entered the calmer waters of Ballyholme Bay.

There, volunteer crew member John Bell transferred to the yacht and attached a tow line, staying with the vessel until it was safe in Bangor Marina.

The women later showed their appreciation by presenting the crew with a bag of chocolate cookies, which went down well after the lifeboat had been refuelled, washed down and readied for its next service.

Speaking following the callout, Bangor RNLI helm Jack Irwin said: “On arrival at the scene, we were happy that our assistance was not required immediately, and we shadowed the vessel until we were in calmer waters, where we initiated our tow.

“We were delighted to deliver those onboard to the safety of Bangor Marina, where the staff were waiting to assist with mooring.

“As we head into the summer months, now is a timely time to remind anyone planning a trip to sea to check your vessel's engine and ensure it is well maintained before setting off on a passage.

“Always carry a means of calling for help and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two open water swimmers who got into difficulty during their Christmas Day swim near Bangor in Northern Ireland have been praised for wearing kit that made it easier to find them.

The pair were reported to be having problems in Belfast Lough off Grey Point Fort in Helen’s Bay by a passer-by who called 999 and asked for the coastguard.

Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams and Bangor RNLI’s lifeboat were both sent, along with paramedics, Air Ambulance NI and PSNI.

One of the swimmers made it to shore by themselves and was treated by coastguard personnel, while the other was rescued from the water by Bangor lifeboat. Both were handed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.

Jude McNeice of HM Coastguard said: “The fact that both swimmers were wearing tow floats made it much easier to locate them.

“Even the most experienced swimmer can be caught out by a change in the conditions and we’d always urge open water swimmers to make sure they have kit like this before taking to the water. It could save your life.”

Commenting on the incident on social media, Bangor RNLI said: “On Facebook there are a number of comments critical of the two swimmers, but Bangor RNLI won’t be joining in.

“We can be pretty sure the casualties did not leave home planning to be reckless and requiring rescue; they just got into difficulty and almost paid the ultimate price. They have our amazing rescue services to thank for still being with us.”

Published in Rescue
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Investment in a two-mile stretch of Bangor Waterfront on Belfast Lough is part of the recently announced £1billion Belfast City Deal funding. Plans already published for Bangor Waterfront aim to “reconnect the town with the sea through a range of attractions and experiences”. It involves the provision of high-quality public spaces and the regeneration of Bangor Marina and Ballyholme Yacht Club. The plans say that the club “has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association”.

Ballyholme Yacht Club as it is todayBallyholme Yacht Club as it is today - the club has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association

Some of the scheme, which has been designed by Hemingway Design and Aecom, has already caused controversy. There are concerns that the character of Kingsland, the only substantial green area at Ballyholme, will be lost with the development of “tourism accommodation pods, café kiosks and a skate park (now an Olympic sport) set in landscaped gardens.

"Ballyholme Yacht Club has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events"

There is also the potential for a small cluster of high-quality residential developments to the south of the area”. And the graphics in the Bangor Waterfront document show a landscaped area replacing the very large car park near the Club which may be to the detriment of competitors in large events hosted by BYC. The plans continue “The redevelopment of BYC would provide Bangor with a world-class facility for water sports and the ability to host international events”.

A graphic of the proposed Waterfront development at Bangor, County DownA graphic of the proposed Waterfront development at Bangor, County Down

The Club refers to the proposed new building as Ballyholme Yacht Club and Watersport Centre, to reflect its increased range of activities, which now include diving, SUPs, kayaking, and swimming.

Sea swimming on Belfast Lough at Ballyholme Yacht ClubSea swimming on Belfast Lough at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Kingsland, the only substantial green area at BallyholmeThe tennis courts at Kingsland

It is understood that the Council will publicise opportunities to engage in the whole scheme and that everyone with an interest in the scheme can become involved. Subject to financial/ project approvals and planning permission, work ‘on the ground’ will begin in 2023 (phased), with the projects delivered over 8 to 10-years.

Kingsland is the only substantial green area at BallyholmeKingsland is the only substantial green area at Ballyholme

David McMullan, who leads a small ‘redevelopment’ sub-committee reporting to the Executive Committee of BYC, has explained the Club’s position “On Wednesday 15th December it was announced that £1 billion funding for the Belfast Region City Deal had been approved. This is the first City Deal to be signed for Northern Ireland. Ards and North Down Borough Council (ANDBC) had submitted their plans for the Waterfront Redevelopment in Bangor as part of this Regional City Deal, which included the redevelopment of BYC, and we understand proposed plans have been reviewed and approved in principle. We expect to hear early in the New Year details of the funding for ANDBC’S plans and then be able to conclude discussions with ANDBC on how that will impact the proposed redevelopment of BYC. We will then present this to the membership for discussion and hopefully approval”.

The £40m funding for Ards and North Down Council will be matched by its contribution of £20m from the Council.

Published in Belfast Lough

Queen's Parade on the seafront in Bangor on Belfast Lough has been largely derelict for well over twenty years. But just this week the Ards and North Down Borough Council approved a £50m scheme for large scale redevelopment of the site enclosed by Lower Main Street, Queen's Parade and Southwell Road. As with the names of many streets in Bangor during the Victorian era, names were changed, and Sandy Row became Queen's Parade.

The laying of the railway in 1865 from Belfast meant that inexpensive travel was possible, and Bangor soon became a fashionable resort for Victorian holidaymakers thus making the seafront a popular gathering place. The small beach and bay which preceded the Marina were busy with visitors. But the emergence of out-of-town shopping centres was the beginning of the end of an era in Bangor and with the coming of inexpensive foreign holidays, ease of travelling abroad meant visitor numbers fell dramatically.

Queen's Parade regeneration mapQueen's Parade regeneration map

The proposed scheme, developed by Bangor Marine Ltd (a partnership between Karl Group and Farrans Construction) will see extensive improvements to this area of Bangor including new homes, a hotel, public realm scheme, events space and cafes/restaurants.

The Department for Communities owns most of the development site and the news has been welcomed by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey. Mayor of Ards and North Down, Trevor Cummings, said: "Approval of this £50m development is an immense boost to Bangor, and the wider Ards and North Down area. Planning Officers worked closely with Bangor Marine and various consultees to redesign any potential obstacles in order that the application could be recommended. We are grateful to all those who contributed to the process, which was complex and rigorous".

Queen's Parade regeneration
He continued: "The Queen's Parade development, combined with the Council's own plans to regenerate Bangor Waterfront, offer the potential for more than £110m of investment to come into the town delivering new attractions, accommodations and commercial opportunities. These really are game-changing times for Bangor, and we are all impatient to see them come to fruition."

The area will be largely pedestrianised and contain open landscaping and water features and incorporate apartments, offices, a hotel, shops, children's' play park, a cinema, and a central marketplace. The aim is to regenerate a very run-down part of Bangor Town, which should take four years to build with the developers aiming to start the works before the end of this year.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Peter Bullick is well known in sailing circles in Northern Ireland and has long been a familiar face associated with volunteering for the RNLI. He enjoys cruising to the west coast of Scotland and has ventured as far as St Kilda, Stornaway and the Orkney Islands.

He is a Community Safety Adviser at Bangor Lifeboat Station and now his dedication to the cause of water safety has been recognised with the presentation of a Long Service Award.

By 2020 Peter had spent 21 years volunteering and saving lives at sea. The volunteer lifeboat crews who pull people from the water can't depend on rescue alone. That's where water safety volunteers like Peter come in.

Asked what inspired him to volunteer, Peter said. "I'm a keen sailor. I sailed with my father as a youngster at Bangor and took up powerboat racing in my mid-20s. I'm an RYA) Yachtmaster and was an RYA Advanced Powerboat Instructor with commercial endorsement. I organised most, if not all, RYA shore-based courses at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club for eight years or so. I relied on the RNLI on two occasions when I got into trouble at sea. So, when I saw an advert in the local paper for RNLI volunteers with sea safety experience, I applied and got the position of sea safety adviser".

Peter is the only water safety volunteer at Bangor Lifeboat Station, but about 30 volunteer lifeboat and shore crew support him. He promotes the RNLI's water safety messages at any given opportunity, particularly safety afloat with sailing and motorboating being popular activities locally. He says " I do this through delivering RNLI presentations, holding Lifejacket Clinics, and giving onboard and shore safety advice. I often speak with boat owners casually whilst walking the marina pontoons".
Peter also is a fundraising volunteer in Bangor, and as the Souvenir Secretary, he sells RNLI souvenirs and gifts at local events.

In response to being asked how it makes him feel to know that he has the power to save someone's life, Peter replied " I don't think too much about it. I may not know how many lives I have prevented from being lost. It's the people I have not been talking to who are my priority. I must reach them – they are more at risk". He added " I've been told on many occasions that my advice has helped to prevent people from losing their life. Particularly after I've advised them that the lifejacket they've been using for many years has a fault and so will not inflate".

Peter reveals that for him, the best thing about being a water safety volunteer is wearing and promoting the charity's name and making new friends every day. " The worst is standing in the rain collecting with the bucket holding more water than money!". He is also looking forward to shaking many hands at some point once the pandemic is over. Peter would encourage others to volunteer for the RNLI. " You will enjoy it. It is one of the most rewarding types of volunteering you will ever do".

Marina Manager Kevin Baird is a Bangor RNLI member – "Absolutely fantastic to see Peter recognised in the latest RNLI magazine. Peter has for many years, organised the Bangor Life Jacket clinic. We know that his work has saved lives. Peter is also a Bangor Marina berth holder. Well done Peter from all the team at the Marina".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skippingstone Beach is a popular swimming venue a short distance to the west of Bangor Harbour on Belfast Lough and sadly was the scene this morning (13th October) of a fatality. It is only a few hundred yards from the Lifeboat Station.

RNLI Bangor said, "Despite the heroic efforts of our volunteer crew, there was little we could do other than move the woman to the shelter of a nearby inlet where she could be attended to by the ambulance service".

During the attempted rescue, realising that the boat could not get close enough to the casualty because of the weather, wind, and rocks, one of the crew, Gavin Mitchell, made the selfless decision to jump into the water with a lifeline attached to offer any assistance he could. This is something the volunteer crews train for and practice regularly, hoping their expertise will never be needed. Sadly, the tragic outcome could not be avoided, and the RNLI said it would implore others to avoid swimming in such dangerous conditions.

Bryan Lawther, Lifeboat Operations Manager said. "Tragic circumstances. Conditions were very very poor". The wind was blowing 20 knots from the North East with big seas.

The officers and crew of RNLI Bangor would like to extend their sympathy to the family and friends of the woman who drowned at Skippingstone Beach in Bangor.

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The minehunter HMS Ramsey under the command of Lieutenant Commander Joel Roberts, arrived into Bangor Harbour on Belfast Lough over last weekend on an exercise visit.

The 53m vessel is moored alongside the Eisenhower Pier, so-called as before departing for the D-Day landings of Normandy beaches in June 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower inspected the 30,000 American soldiers and sailors gathered in three huge US Navy battleships (the Nevada, Texas and Arkansas) in Belfast Lough off Bangor. In 2005 the “North Pier” as it was known was renamed the Eisenhower Pier to recognise the
towns role in these events.

HMS Ramsey is a Sandown-class minehunter and her glass-reinforced plastic hull gives the ship the same magnetic signature as a fridge freezer. She is equipped with Type 2093 variable depth sonar and can detect an object the size of a football 600m below the surface. She is one of the quietest vessels in the fleet and is specially designed with a very low magnetic and acoustic signature.

She provides an invaluable service keeping shipping lanes open and detecting and destroying underwater dangers. HMS Ramsey has 40 personnel including eight specialist divers.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Recently the Brompton inflatable goose featured in a story about open sea swimmers near Bangor on Belfast Lough. Now round the corner from Brompton, the Helen’s Baywatch swimmers have a real ‘Goose’ to swim with!

The reddish-brown female eider duck started life on Trasnagh Island in Strangford Lough where it was noticed five weeks ago by Jack Childs on a kayaking trip. He saw some dead ducklings but ‘Goose’ was still very much alive and hopped into his kayak.

Having unsuccessfully tried to return it to land he decided to keep it safe and ended up taking it home.

This special duck is ironically called ‘Goose’ after Tom Cruise’s wingman in the 1986 blockbuster, Topgun.

Jack and his mum Clare took advice from a friend who kept ducks and started it on the correct food. It thrived with all this individual attention and now thinks Clare and her son are his family! So much so it goes everywhere with them (in a cat carrier) and swims regularly with the group, not only in Helen’s Bay but also at other locations such as Donaghdee and Islandmagee. ‘Goose’ has even been in the Mourne Mountains!

Published in Belfast Lough
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Last Friday was the first of July’s FunDay Fridays on Belfast Lough, a three-way collaboration between Bangor Marina, SUP HubNI and Citizen Sea who are together providing a fabulously educational and active two-hour session where all the children will have an opportunity to learn about Water Safety, try Paddleboarding, learn about environmental issues and research, and commandeer the pontoons like pirates looking for treasure (marine life)!

Citizen Sea is Northern Ireland’s first boat-based Environmental Research Charity, SUP Hub NI is a Paddleboard School and Boatfolk Bangor Marina’s role is to facilitate and promote this new collaboration.

Onboard the Seabird, a converted 17-metre ex herring ring netter, the children learn about Harbour wildlife, then search for marine creatures and see how the Sea Bins work collecting marine litter. It is run by Jen Firth, a boat lover and marine conservationist, and Master Shipwright Tony McLoughlin. SUPHubNI frequently operates in the Harbour and owner, Iain McCarthy wants to make the experience as safe, simple and enjoyable as possible and therefore provides the Paddleboard, Paddle, Wetsuit, Buoyancy Aid, Booties & Leash.

The popularity of this venture is illustrated by the fact that all sessions are fully booked.

Published in Belfast Lough
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