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Displaying items by tag: Lough Neagh

#LoughNeagh - The Belfast Telegraph has posted an incredible photo of a funnel cloud that appeared over Lough Neagh last week.

Barry McGuigan, a fisherman working on the largest lake in the island of Ireland, captured the stunning image of the unusual cloud formation - often the precursor to a tornado - as it hovered over the water close to another fishing vessel.

"It was like a twister but it stayed in one place for five to 10 minutes and then it just fizzled out," he said.

It's now believed to be the most photographed and videoed weather phenomenon in Northern Ireland, with this video posted to YouTube by John McCorry just one example.

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph also reports that the aristocratic owner of Lough Neagh has vowed to work with the NI Legislative Assembly on its strategic management.

The 12th and present Earl of Shaftesbury, philanthropist and endurance athlete Nick Ashley-Cooper, said he welcomed the conclusion of a long-delayed report into the future of the lough and "wholeheartedly" agrees with its findings.

It comes some months after fears that the report by a special working group would remain shelved at Stormont, and its findings never made public.

"The report indicates clearly that the estate's ownership of the bed and soil is not a barrier to any potential development and that there is no compelling argument in favour of public ownership," said Lord Shaftesbury.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#canoe – Three canoeists have been pulled from the water after getting into difficulty in Lough Neagh.

Belfast Coastguard received a call on VHF channel 16 just after 1pm yesterday afternoon reporting that three canoeists had fallen into the water between Rams Island and Sandy Bay. Conditions on the water at the time were described as choppy, with a southerly wind of force 4 (13–17 mph).

The Kinnego Coastguard Rescue Team along with the Kinnego and Ardboe Independent Rescue Boats were sent to the scene. The three, who were all wearing lifejackets, were rescued from the water by a sand barge that was close by at the time. They were then transferred to the Ardboe rescue boat, and taken ashore where they were met by Coastguard Rescue Officers and passed into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said:

"These three canoeists all had lifejackets on, but unfortunately they weren't wearing wet suits or any type of gear that would help keep them warm. They were passed into the care of paramedics showing signs of hypothermia.

"We always recommend that canoeists and kayakers are well prepared before setting out. Check weather and tides, wear a buoyancy aid, suitable clothing and carry a VHF marine band radio with you. Where there is good network coverage then it is worth carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag.

"Call the Coastguard if you get into difficulty, preferably via channel 16 on your radio or if not by calling 999 on your mobile and asking for the Coastguard."

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#LoughNeagh - Northern Ireland's Agriculture Minister has rejected claims that she has ignored the findings of a working group on the future of Lough Neagh that were submitted a year ago.

As previously covered on Afloat.ie, the report considering the future of the largest of Ireland's inland waterways has sat on minister's shelves in Stormont for almost 12 months, with fears mounting that its recommendations will never be made public.

But the Belfast Telegraph reports that Minister Michelle O'Neill has hit back at criticism from DUP members of the NI Assembly who accused her of having "buried" the report because it did not gel with her department's plans to take the lough into public hands.

"I think that there is a certain wee bit of paranoia there," said the minister regarding the DUP's comments.

She also said that her "sole focus throughout all this work has been on unlocking the potential of Lough Neagh", adding that she had only recently been presented with new research commissioned by Culture and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin that would add context to last year's working group findings.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#LoughNeagh - The Belfast Telegraph reveals that a report by a special working group into the future of Lough Neagh has sat on the shelf at Stormont for almost 12 months - and it's feared that its recommendations will never be made public.

The report was commissioned as part of plans in early 2012 by the NI Legislative Assembly to take the largest inland lake in the island of Ireland - which supplies nearly half of Northern Ireland's drinking water - into full public ownership.

It's not commonly known that Lough Neagh is owned by the Earl of Shaftesbury, though the water within it is public property.

The 12th and present Earl of Shaftesbury, philanthropist and endurance athlete Nick Ashley-Cooper, recently met with MLAs to discuss the stalled progress on taking the lough public.

Responsibility for various aspects of the lough fall on different departments within Stormont, which may explain why one MLA believes the report "may never see the light of day".

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MarineWildlife - Lack of food has seen a severe decline in migrating birds visiting Lough Neagh for the winter, according to UTV News.

Researchers from Queen's University Belfast have noted a shocking 75% drop in numbers of visiting water fowl on Ireland's largest lough - from some 100,000 to fewer than 21,000 in the span of 10 years.

And the finger of blame is being pointed at a change in the lough's ecosystem that has seen a significant fall-off in the Special Protection Area's main food source of insects and snails.

Ironically, the reason for this may be a stemming of agricultural run-off into the lough, the extra nutrients from which "artificially boosted its productivity", according to Dr Irena Tománková from Quercus, Northern Ireland's Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science.

In addition, climate change has seen lakes in Northern Europe that were once frozen over in winter become available for feeding for more of the year, meaning that once migratory birds are staying put.

UTV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LoughNeagh - Former British Army corporal Dean Owen recently swam 20 miles across Lough Neagh despite not having full use of his legs.

And as the News Letter reports, the achievement is doubly special as the route from the north-east shore to the south-west has never been completed before by any swimmer - let alone one only using their arms.

Owen - who broke his back in a road accident more than 10 years ago - received a plaque from Craigavon mayor Mark Baxter on top of the £8,500 (€10,000) he has already raised toward treatment for four-year-old Caleb Kerr's cerebral palsy.

In other Northern Ireland waterways news, residents of East Belfast will soon be able to enjoy a new crossing of the Connswater River at Victoria Park, according to the News Letter.

The Sam Thompson Bridge saw its main 60-tonne structure lifted into place by one of Europe's largest cranes last weekend.

It's expected to form part of a new network of pedestrian paths linking the Castlereagh Hills to Belfast Lough.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#Fishing - Tributes have been paid to the driving force behind Europe's largest wild eel fishery in Lough Neagh.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, Father Oliver Kennedy passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

Described by NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill as "an inspirational figure for Lough Neagh fishermen and their families", Fr Kennedy was chairman of the Lough Neagh Fishermen's Co-operative Society.

The priest co-founded the society in 1965 in an effort to assist local eel fishermen in asserting their rights on the lough - including fundraising efforts that enabled the fishermen to take control of Toome Eel Fishery.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#InlandWaterways - NI Environment Minister Alex Attwood has finally announced planning permission to restore part of the historic Ulster Canal that has not been used since 1929.

The original Ulster Canal was completed in 1841 and linked the Erne System to Lough Neagh with a 93km navigation route. It was last used for trading boats in 1929 and officially closed two years later.

The application is to restore 14km of the navigational route in total - 5.5km or river navigation from Quivvy Lough to Gortnacarrow and 8.5km of canal from Gortnacarrow to Clones.

This will involve construction of the existing canal route and tow paths for public access on both banks. New road bridges are to be constructed at Derrykerrib, Wattle Bridge, Gortnacarrow and Clonfad/Munilly with three farm accommodation bridges.

The plan is to restore two existing canal bridges and a double lock at Gortnacarrow that will facilitate a rise from the River Finn to the canal section. A mooring of 170m with 32 car parking spaces and public toilets will be provided at Gortnacarrow. A picnic area and a further 20 parking spaces will be provided at the new bridge at Clonfad/Munilly.

Minister Attwood said: “The Ulster Canal restoration project has been a key heritage and tourist attraction for a long time, which has gathered momentum since the late 90s. Today is a turning point for the project. I hope the Planners’ green light means the project can accelerate.

“This is an example of cross-border initiatives working and working well. It follows from my announcement to give planning permission to the bridge at Narrow Water, linking Warrenpoint and Omeath.

“This cross-border project will be a boost for the people of Fermanagh, Cavan and Monaghan. It will re-open a historic waterway that has not been used for over 80 years and offers huge opportunities for regeneration and leisure-related activities for the entire region.”

Four accompanying applications for Listed Building Consent to carry out works to repair and restore three listed bridges and works to the Clones Aqueduct have also been approved.

Northern Ireland's Department of the Environment consulted Fermanagh District Council on its opinion to approve this application on 18 April 2013.

Monaghan County Council and Clones Town Council have signalled that planning approval should be granted for the Repubic side of the canal - although moves have been slow on that front.

Despite confirmation from Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan in April 2012 that the "main thrust" of waterways refurbishment is still focused on the reopening of the Ulster Canal, no significant moves have been made in the year since that statement, which came some months after a U-turn in Government funding for such projects.

Published in Inland Waterways

#OLYMPIC FERRY– With 50 days to go to the start of the London Olympic Games, the torch-relay is to depart Northern Ireland this afternoon with P&O Ferries on the North Channel service to Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Before the flame reaches the Port of Larne, 67 torch-bearers will have carried the torch today on a near 120 mile journey across the north having departed Newcastle this morning.

A highlight of the day was a water crossing on Lough Neagh, where the flame was carried by the boat Island Warrior on the largest lake on the island of Ireland. Eorann O'Neil from Crumlin had the honour of torch-bearer and the 16 year-old was nominated for his dedication to swimming.

When the torch with its accompanying escort of support vehicles arrives in Larne mid-afternoon, the flame will be taken to an event to mark it leaving Northern Ireland. An hour later the torch's motorcade is to head for the port to board the P&O conventional ferry European Highlander on the 16.30hrs sailing for Cairnryan in Galloway. The 21,188grt ferry will arrive at the port on Lough Ryan some two hours later.

Tomorrow morning sees the start of the first relay in Scotland which is scheduled to start at 06.08hrs and takes place further down along Lough Ryan at the former ferryport of Stranraer.

The ferryport closed last November when Stena Line switched Scottish ferry terminals to Cairnryan, where sailings to Belfast are still maintained by a pair of 30, 285grt 'Superfast' sisters. Close to the new €80m Stena terminal is the existing terminal that serves P&O's operations.

Tomorrow's torch returns to Cairnryan as the relay route heads northwards to Glasgow which marks the day's final destination. After the torch completes touring Scotland the relay will cross the border to England to head back to London 70 days after originally embarking on a tour of the UK and detour to Dublin. The capital has been the only location visited by the torch relay outside that of the UK and Greece.

Published in Ferry
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is highlighting the latest additions to its network of canoeing trails ahead of National Trails Day on Sunday 2 October.
“We are very fortunate in Northern Ireland to have so many perfect calm lakes and meandering rivers to explore and canoeing provides a great day out or weekend away for the family," the board's Nigel Tilson told the Community Telegraph.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the new coastal Foyle Canoe Trail and South East Canoe Trail join Northern Ireland's five inland canoe trails at Lough Neagh, the River Blackwater, Lough Erne, the Lower Bann and Strangford Lough.
These will be joined later this year by two more sea trails on the north and east coasts.
National Trails Day will feature six two-hour canoeing sessions with free equipment and lessons. For details visit see www.nationaltrailsday.co.uk.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is highlighting the latest additions to its network of canoeing trails ahead of National Trails Day on Sunday 2 October.

“We are very fortunate in Northern Ireland to have so many perfect calm lakes and meandering rivers to explore and canoeing provides a great day out or weekend away for the family," the board's Nigel Tilson told the Community Telegraph.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the new coastal Foyle Canoe Trail and South East Canoe Trail join Northern Ireland's five inland canoe trails at Lough Neagh, the River Blackwater, Lough Erne, the Lower Bann and Strangford Lough. 

These will be joined later this year by two more sea trails on the north and east coasts.

National Trails Day will feature six two-hour canoeing sessions with free equipment and lessons. For details visit www.nationaltrailsday.co.uk.

Published in Canoeing
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