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The Chronicles of Strangford Airs on BBC NI

19th January 2022
Former ferry Captain, 84-year-old John Murray features in the first episode of the Chronicles of Strangford
Former ferry Captain, 84-year-old John Murray features in the first episode of the Chronicles of Strangford

The first of the BBC NI Series, The Chronicles of Strangford aired on Monday, 17th January.

The maritime TV series will cover the four seasons on this stunning part of Co Down, beginning with this week's episode on Autumn. It will ultimately follow a year on the almost landlocked sea Lough, the largest in the UK.

Autumn is the time when grey seals visit and use the sheltered Islands to breed and raise their pups before returning to the open sea. It also celebrates the arrival of the migrating Brent Geese, an annual event familiar to many who live and work on the shores of the Lough. The geese travel from arctic Canada and the Lough is a vital stopover when thousands arrive to feed on the shores at low tide.

Brent Geese on Strangford Lough Brent Geese on Strangford Lough Photo: National Trust

The programme also featured songwriter Brigid O’Neill who finds inspiration from the natural surroundings and performs at a gig in a small, converted church. RSPB Ranger Mark McCormick explained how his work looking for endangered species has helped him overcome PTSD which he suffered after seeing the attack on Westminster Bridge. And in Portaferry on the Narrows near the mouth of the Lough former ferry Captain, 84-year-old John Murray was seen hauling out his boat, the St Brendan.

Next week (Monday 24th) on BBC NI at 19.30 will be about Winter on the Lough. National Trust Ranger Hugh Thurgate moves livestock between islands and Ulster Wildlife’s Katy Bell looks after barn owl boxes at Mount Stewart Gardens. Boatyard owner Kenny Smyth winterises his yard near Whiterock and shed to work on his 100-year-old River Class yacht Laragh in which Kenny races regularly.

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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