On my way to Antrim last week I stopped to have a quick look at Lough Neagh. With an area of 392 square kilometres it is the largest lake in Ireland and in the British Isles. Though large, it is quite shallow, with an average depth of just 9m. It is bounded by five of the six counties in Northern Ireland, and it supplies 40% of the province’s water. It is fed by six rivers: the Maine, the Six Mile Water, Upper Bann, Blackwater, Ballinderry and Moyola, but only one flows out: the Lower Bann which flows north to the Atlantic at Portstewart.
According to legend, the lough was formed when Ireland’s most famous giant, Finn McCool was chasing off his Scottish rival Benandonar. He scooped up a huge clod of earth to throw at him and the hole left filled with water and formed the lough. And where did the mass of rock and soil land. Well he missed and it didn’t quite reach Scotland but landed in the sea and we now know it as the Isle of Man.
There are lots of birds, including this bored Black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) Sléibhín
Alders (Alnus glutinosus) is common around the lough and is known for being able to survive flooding and wet soil. Even so it is remarkable to see it growing in the water.
And the recent rough winter sees to have taken its toll. It shows how shallow tree roots are.