Natural World

Paddle Back in Time: The Vikings of Strangford Lough

Friday 23 & Saturday 24 April

Suitability: 18+

£45 (Price includes all equipment, tuition, guide & historian)

Kayak Tour & The Smugglers

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 Vikings & The Monks

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.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic situation we have a few important requests for you to ensure that the event is safe for everyone attending or facilitating.

If you or anyone in your household are suffering from a temperature, a persistent cough, or a loss of taste or smell - DO NOT ATTEND (unless you have prior permission from us after providing a negative COVID-19 test result). It is your responsibility to let the organiser know that you can no longer attend the event. 

Please arrive at the stipulated meeting point 15 minutes before departure. It is a small group, but please be patient and maintain a 2 meter distance from other people/groups when you arrive.

When you arrive on site, please:

• Use your own personal hand sanitiser or hand sanitiser provided by the event facilitator 

• Provide the festival representative with a name and phone number.

• If inside at any point please wear a mask AT ALL TIMES.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Book now



Strangford Activity Centre
Green Boat Shed
BT23 6PY