Derrynane – Iveragh Peninsula

©Paul McCambridge – Sunset on Derrynane Beach

Viewed from the road above, Derrynane Beach, once notorious as a smugglers’ port, makes the swimmer itch to get down to it. The road is long and winding and seems to take you far past the first tantalising view but persevere and follow the signs for Derrynane House. These will eventually lead down to the shore and this gorgeous string of beaches, a series of sandy coves, each a different size and shape. The water virtually calls out for one to run down the strand and dive right in. Picture-perfect, the white sandy beaches curve around between the scattered rocks where one can happily while away an entire day swimming and rock-pooling in this natural harbour. 

Take care at the largest stretch of beach as it is prone to strong currents but there are plenty of coves and bays to explore and swim. The sunsets here are unparalleled, bathing the cove in pink and purple hues.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland, 2016, ISBN 978-1-84889-280-4

‘Goose’ the Eider duck growing fast…

120720 - Goose 7a WM

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Catch me if you can Luke! 

Goose’ the young Eider duck gained her name, partly after Tom Cruise’s wingman in the 1986 film Top Gun and partly as her rescuer liked the irony of calling a duck goose! 

120720 - Goose 5b Wm

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul Mccambridge. ‘Goose’ learning to forage 

 

Jack Childs, 14yrs, had kayaked over to the nearby Trasnagh Island on Strangford for a mini adventure when he came across the sad scene of devastation. Duck nests were trashed and feathers all around with no sign of any surviving ducks. That is, not until he got back to his kayak where a lone tiny duckling sat, in the cockpit seat.
“I lifted her out and looked for adults but there were none. When I turned she had climbed back in!”

120720 - Goose 4b Wm

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge ‘Goose’ being told off!

Jack phoned his parents asking what he should do and, knowing a friend that could advise them, they agreed he could bring the orphan home and they’d care for her.
“I put her in my hat and she fell asleep on the way back”

120720 - Goose 3b Wm

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Hitching a ride!

120720 - Goose 2b Wm

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – ‘Goose’ Foraging

Goose loves swimming with the Childs family, Clare says, “ She can stay with us as long as she wants, she is a wild duck after all.”

120720 - Goose 1b Wm

©MAC Visual Media – Picture by Paul McCambridge – Strutting her stuff!

100 Image Retro – Couch to 5k + ILDSA Lough Erne Swim

Shame we weren’t able to run the 2020 Couch to 5k with Waterways Ireland and the Share Discovery Village Fermanagh but here is a wee retrospective of the last 4 years courses and ILDSA Lough Erne Championships… Here’s hoping 2021 sees us getting back to training proper…

 

Flow Swimming Northern Ireland Open Water Coaching and Swimming with Mo McCoy + Paul McCambridge

Silver Strand + Malinbeg Harbour Donegal

©Paul McCambridge 2015 - MAC Visual MediaSilver Strand, Malin Beg, Co Done

©Paul McCambridge – Silver Strand, Malin Beg, Co Donegal

Words Maureen McCoy – Photography Paul McCambridge

On the far western shores of Donegal not far from the great cliffs of Slieve League sits the pretty curve of Silver Strand at Malin Beg, 400m of golden sand beside a small harbour favoured by divers.

Six kilometres from Glencolmcille is the pretty Silver Strand beach at Malin Beg. It is a steep climb down the steps from the car park to the enticing white sands of the horseshoe-shaped Silver Strand at Malin Beg but worth every bit of effort. At approximately 400 metres long and gently shelving waters, this beach provides excellent swimming and set as it is down such a flight of steps, the strand is never crowded. Nestled beneath the grassy headlands it is as close to a perfect beach as you may likely find. Count the steps going down and on the way back up to see if you can get the same number!

The nearby harbour at Malin Beg is rich in sea life, making it popular with divers and snorkelers. The harbour is set in a neat natural cove, making it extremely well sheltered.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland – the Book

50 - Donegal - Silverstrand + Malinbeg Harbour 05a Wm

©Paul McCambridge – Silver Strand and Malin Beg Harbour, Co Donegal

 

Benderg Bay, Lecale Way, Co Down

©Paul McCambridge 2015 - MAC Visual MediaBenderg Bay, Lecale Way, Co Down

Benderg Bay, Lecale Way, Co Down

Words by Maureen McCoy, photography by Paul McCambridge                                      

Walk through the grasslands of Killard Nature Reserve to the beautiful Benderg Beach, home to sand martins and seals. Perfect to spend a sunny day swimming, picnicking and investigating the rock pools.

This superb strand stretching just over half a kilometre from the rocks of Killard Point to the sand cliffs and farmland which separate Benderg from its more popular neighbour Ballyhornan Beach.

You may see seals lounging at Mill Quarter Bay, where the strength of Strangford Lough’s tidal run creates whirlpools. This is not the place to swim, leave it to the seals. A twenty-minute walk from here through the orchid-filled grasslands of the nature reserve leads to the Beach. Tucked out of the way of Strangford’s powerful tidal race here you can swim in crystal-clear shallow waters as sand martins swoop from the cliffs across the bay.

©Paul McCambridge 2015 - MAC Visual MediaBenderg Bay, Lecale Way, Co Down

©Paul McCambridge 2015 – MAC Visual Media Benderg Bay, Lecale Way, Co Down

Getting there: take the A2 Shore Road out of Strangford. At Kilclief veer left towards Mill Quarter Bay. Park at the roadside lay-by from where signs point to the track leading into Killard Nature Reserve. Follow the path past the mouth of Strangford Lough. The rough track cuts through the grassland to Benderg Bay Beach. Roadside parking, no facilities, twenty-minute walk to beach.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland 2016

Scenic walk / family friendly / secluded / snorkelling / rock pools / adventure swim /

Grid ref:J 60722 43067

 

Pollock Holes, Kilkee

50 - Clare - Pollock Holes and Kilkee Diving Boards - 01a WM

Swimming at Pollock Holes, Kilkee, Co Clare.

Words by Maureen McCoy, photography by Paul McCambridge

At the mouth of Kilkee’s horse-shoe bay step onto the barren and exposed landscape of the Duggerna Reef. Revealed at low tide, the reef is a plateau made up of slabs of rock smoothed by the twice daily ebb and flow of the sea. As the tide recedes several pools are revealed, these are the Pollock Holes.

Slipping into these sheltered pools where anemones wave their soft tentacles in search of unseen creatures the colourful underwater world is far removed from the hard and flat grey stone above. Even as the Atlantic rages at the edge of the reef creating swathes of sea foam which blows across the pools, gathering like curds and whey on the surface, one can peacefully swim and snorkel. The yellows and purples of underwater plants lighting up the pale waters.

Paul McCambridge - Diving - WIld Swimming in Ireland 02 WM

Off season at the diving boards near the Pollock Holes, Kilkee, Co Clare.  Near the Pollock Holes there is a tiny gap in the wall of the coastal road leading to a curved stairway. Passing signs of; diving prohibited / unsafe, the steps lead down to two newly refurbished boards which strain out along the side of the cliff.

These pools have become an institution and although well-known and even busy during summer they are well worth the visit. Check out the stepped diving area close to Kilkee beach. Warm up in the café with scones and hot coffee after your swim.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland 2016

CAMLOUGH LAKE, Co Armagh

Image

Irish International Triathlete Aileen Reid(nee Morrison) training in Camlough

Camlough Lake

I did a lot of my channel training at ‘Crooked Lake’ Camlough. The lake is calm, sheltered, with easy access from a wide slipway, providing an ideal training ground.

I love the days when I do a long swim down the lake, seeing the sun stream down over Slieve Gullion. Aiming for the V formed by the two hills at the far end, swimming past an old pontoon on the right hand side, a favourite spot for herons to perch. As the winter deepened the local fishermen looked on in amazement as I stripped down to my cossie and waded into the cold water.  Deep breaths as the cold chilled my skin, I would count –1 – 2 – 3 – GO!  Off with a fast front crawl to generate some heat in my muscles on the 250m out to the first buoy, I would then settle into my stroke heading around the second buoy to complete a lap of 750m at the slipway.

A co-incidental meeting in Dover the week prior to my channel swim caused me to bump into a group of fellow Camlough ‘training ground’ swimmers returning from their successful stag do relay swim.  Since then, this group of Camlough and Newry locals have been organising superb events at the lake.

This previously hidden gem in South Armagh hit the world stage when more than three hundred swimmers from all over Ireland and beyond joined the local community to continuously swim for nine days.  On the 9th of the 9th 2009 the Guinness World Record for the longest ever relay swim was smashed.

Following on from that success Camlough Lake has grown in popularity and 2010 saw the inaugural Camlough Water Festival, a weekend of kayaking, water-polo, short swims, 5k and 10k swimming races.

Go down to the lake in the summer and you will find something of a carnival atmosphere with children paddling, swimmers and triathletes enjoying the water, you are likely to be welcomed by some hardy folk, including Bridgeen, Micky or Milo, who have been swimming there since the mid 80’s.

More on Camlough Water Festival http://www.clwf.eu

Words By Maureen McCoy

Photography By Paul McCambridge

Enter from the slipway on the Crossmaglen road, where you will see marker buoys forming a 750m loop from the slipway – further buoys have been added creating a variety of circuits, detailed on the map below.  Newry Triathlon club have set up a container here providing a changing facility and storage for safety equipment.  They run events through the year, triathlons and occasional night swims.

Image

Image

Above Open Water Swimmer Colleen Mallon 

Course Map and Safety Information Below

 

Camlough Lake 2020 courses