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Ranger the 80-Year-Old Snipe Dinghy at Lough Erne Heritage Skills Day

22nd September 2021
The Snipe dinghy Ranger at the Heritage Festival at Lough Erne
The Snipe dinghy Ranger at the Heritage Festival at Lough Erne Credit: Brian Osborne

For a very long time, the Snipe class Dinghy Ranger languished in the Boathouse at Crom Castle on Upper Lough Erne, but after lengthy restoration by Fred and George Ternan, Ranger has been afloat twice recently and last weekend (18th September) at the Lough Erne Heritage Festival, she created a stir on display in the grounds of Enniskillen Castle.

The festival celebrated various heritage skills, local talents, and heritage projects, including Willow Weaving, Rush craft and Rope making, Thatching and Blacksmithing, and there were Rowing tours on the Erne and Historical tours of the Castle.

Fred Ternan was there to show off Ranger and discuss all things maritime heritage, and he gave a dedicated talk on the Snipe's restoration.

From left to right: Joy and Colin Honeyford from Bangor with Brian Osborne and Fred Ternan Photo: Andrew PatonFrom left to right: Joy and Colin Honeyford from Bangor with Brian Osborne and Fred Ternan Photo: Andrew Paton

There were about 1000 people who visited the festival, and many took photos of Ranger and its display sparked much conversation and tales of sailing on Lough Erne in the past. Brian Osborne from Lough Erne Heritage (It aims to encourage local heritage research about Lough Erne, its traditional boats and the people who built and used them), says that "The future for classic sailing certainly appears to be bright. We had our fair share of interested parties of all ages. Our restored Snipe provided a fitting backdrop for dozens of people eager for a memorable photograph. If the level of interest shown is anything to go by, then classic dinghy sailing on Lough Erne has a positive future".

Ranger displaying its original club, LEYC (Lough Erne Yacht Club) the original club based at CromRanger displaying its original club, LEYC (Lough Erne Yacht Club) the original club based at Crom

Among those visiting were Joy and Colin Honeyford from Bangor, who has a boat on Lough Erne. They had a beautiful day for a visit; " Of special interest to us was our chat with Fred Ternan, who explained in great detail how he and his brother George carefully restored a 1941 Snipe dinghy which was on display at their stand. They've done a superb job! And it was also great to see that so many traditional skills such as basket weaving, lace making, saddlery and many others are still practised".

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

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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