The Dorn

Myself and Eddie found ourselves at a lose end yesterday after a potential bit of last minute work fell though. With the forecast set to be showery in the afternoon we decided to go for a paddle, rather than get a soaking on the crags.
We had both heard of the Dorn in Strangford, but neither of us had been there before. Its basically a little inlet that has a shallow bar running across the mouth, so as the tide drops if form a “marine waterfall”, we decided to go see it for ourselves! Leaving Castleward at high tide we paddled north for about 7km to reach the inlet. The paddle up was fantastic, with the breeze completely dropping to leave the lough like a big sheet of glass. When we arrived, the rocky bar running across the mouth was still fully submerged, so we decided to stop and have a bit of lunch while we waited to see what would happen as the tide continued to drop.
On the northern shore of the inlet there is an old church and grave yard, Ardkeen church, which sits below castle hill, on which Ardkeen castle used to stand. It really is a fantastic spot, so we headed up there to explore and have a bite to eat. We spent a bit of time reading the old head stones, which nearly all dated back to the 1700’s, we even found one of someone who had lived to ripe old age of 102! After a bit more exploring, we headed back to the boats. By this stage the rocky bar was starting to come to the surface, creating channels of fast flowing water, with tiny little waves, some of which were just beginning to hold the boats for a little surf. I have to say, the “marine waterfall” did not live up to our expectations, but it is still a lovely place to visit, the church and castle are an amazing place to spend a little bit of time, and it was very refreshing to visit a completely new area in Strangford, which is somewhere that we both spend a lot of time, all in all another great day out and about.

Glassy conditions on the lough

Approaching castle hill

Ardkeen Church and graveyard
The view from the top of castle hill
Just about managing to escape the April showers!
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