Adventureland NI: Kayaking on Strangford

DCIM112GOPROAdventureland is back! The weekend of March 28 and 29 is officially NI Adventureland Weekend with loads of outdoor events on offer for just £10 per person or 50% off.

Whether you ride the waves on a sea safari or fly through the air on a zip-line, explore Northern Ireland’s dramatic landscape on an outdoor adventure.

I was invited along to enjoy a taste of Adventureland and found myself kayaking around a number of islands on Strangford Lough.

John from Mobile Team Adventure met me at Whiterocks at Killinchy on what was the warmest day of the year so far, a heatwave of 10 degrees. The thought of kayaking was a bit daunting but exciting. It was suggested I bring waterproofs and wellie boots! Luckily after a few sailing lessons in Ballyholme Yacht Club a few years ago I had appropriate footwear (Ballyholme Yacht Club are also part of the Adventureland weekend by the way).

I was given 2 options, a single person kayak or a two person kayak, so let’s face it, I thought I was action-man enough to get on the water in the first place, so the thought of doing it alone was a bit too much, two man kayak it was. Little did I know that this may have been the wrong decision, but more on that later.

We got the life jackets on, pre briefed on the safety stuff, carried the kayak to the water and climbed in. A minor wobble later and I’m wondering what the heck I’m doing!

And off we went on an adventure….

Luxury home on Strangford LoughJohn kept saying, you’ll be fine (he’s been doing it for 40 years!) so I put my trust in him. We headed out from Whiterocks towards and around Skettrick Island, passing some amazing houses on route. Houses that you’d only ever see if you were on the water. John reckoned this was owned by Mr Grey, you can see why.

We passed a lighthouse boat (I didn’t know they existed) and paused to watch a heron sitting on the shore. We passed the historic Nendrum Monastic Site and ended up paddling for a few miles around various islands on Strangford. It was beautiful and I can imagine how stunning the area would be on a warm sunny summer’s day.

It wasn’t all easy kayaking though, and that’s where the two man kayak worked to John’s advantage and my disadvantage. At one point I was just rowing along at what had become my norm and John shouts out, ‘Jeff, you need to row faster, we aren’t actually moving’ And right enough, looking left to the shore, we were fighting against one of those strong Strangford currents and weren’t moving at all!

DCIM112GOPROThen…..Mr experienced himself had secretly decided I was competent enough and tested me. Out we went, heading straight towards a big current. With careful instruction and guidance we jumped on to it with a frantic row, a tilt to the left where I felt we were going to topple, a quick spin round and out the other side, before pausing for a second, then another twist and turn and we were back on it. Minutes later were riding the current and traveling at speed downstream. At this point I have yet to decide whether or not I was bloody scared or it was a huge adrenaline rush. The latter I think…

The wind was starting to pick up so we started making our way back to shore, probably a mile away. In the distance I could see my car and the home stretch had begun. Thankfully by now I was feeling comfortable, more confident and was loving the experience.

We arrived back to the shore and I couldn’t even think straight! That was most definitely an adventure and a rush, and I loved it.

Adventureland is your chance to try something new and exciting on your doorstep. Do something locally that you would normally only consider on holiday. Get out and have an adventure!

Find out more about this and other Adventureland Weekend activities here 

Post Author: Belfast Times

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