Paddle back in time is an event run in conjunction with NI Science Festival.
Paddle back in time is our most popular kayak tour on Strangford Lough. Learn about the saints, sinners and smugglers that used the lough and made it their home. Taking in the scenic beauty, archaeological gems and Christian heritage, you will follow a traditional smuggling route undertaken by Daft Eddie and the Merry Hearts.
Starting from the shoreline in Whiterock, you will be kitted out with wetsuit and buoyancy aid. Followed by a briefing from local guide and kayak instructor – Rory Martin. Growing up on Strangford Lough, Rory has a real affinity & knowledge of the area, its waterways and heritage. You can expect to hear tales of the Smugglers and how they pillaged their cargo. Then, follow their route through the Dorn’s up to Mahee and Reagh Islands where they distributed their illicit goods.
The route takes in the Norman castles – Sketrick & Mahee and passes Nendrum Monastic site. Then, you will hear from Sarah Baccianti – a Viking specialist – of how St Maochai and the monks lived there, and the role of the Vikings in the area. Strangford gets its name from the Norse language, meaning fjord of the strong currents. The Vikings attacked, fought and had a base in the area of Strangford Lough from the 9th to the 11th century. In 1103, one famous Norse king, King Magnus barelegs, died in an ambush set up by the men of Ulster in the mud flats of the Quoile Estuary, just outside Downpatrick.