Sunrise Photography Walk and Canoe

August 26, 2022

I want to start by thanking all of the wonderful people who came out to our sunrise photography walk and canoe on Monday morning. The skies weren’t as clear and bright as could be but everyone’s smiling faces and sunny characters certainly brightened the day.

Sean and I arrived early to get final preparations sorted for the day and we had our first sign of a great morning ahead when, looking out towards the Carratraw bridge, I saw not one but two herons lifting off. They briefly flew in parallel, like a pair of old friends or as if a couple dancing, before calling out loudly to each other and parting ways, one down stream for a play on the waterpark and the other up towards Clogh Oughter for a bit of history (or at least that’s how I chose to view the scene). Herons are actually quite gregarious and will nest in big colonies, particularly during the breeding season, but are often seen alone, standing very still as they wait for their prey to come along.

A short while later, our lovely photographer-adventurers began arriving for the day. After registering and getting fitted with buoyancy aids, we set out in pairs and a threesome in our “Canadian canoes”. With a bit of encouragement and paddling practice we were soon making our way up towards the woodlands. A few minutes later and before we even reached the first bend in the river, we were treated to a sighting of a mother swan and her “teenage” cygnets as they set off for a bit of foraging themselves. Not long after, a flock of geese (not sure which type as I didn’t manage to get a snap off in time) taking to the skies.

Landing at the little inlet between the reeds, we disembarked and pulled our canoes up to secure them. Moments later, we got a glimpse of our first damselflies still perched amongst the long grasses, sedges and reeds. The cooler temperatures of the morning (and evening), when it’s too low for flight, is often the best time to spot and photograph damselflies and dragonflies. We then enjoyed a leisurely and quiet stroll through the native wet woodlands getting more photographs as we walked. We emerged a bit further along the lakeshore where we heard and spotted (at a distance) several coot, frolicking amongst the waterweeds

Back on the canoes again and the wind had picked up slightly but the sun was also shining. Slightly more effort to paddle against the current and wind not helped by the large patches of waterweeds currently thriving in the waters, however we made it a bit further on to see more of the landscape. Sadly the grebe, herons and other waterfowl remained well hidden throughout the trip but we did get to see that family of swans again on our way back to the centre.

Once we had landed back, we were more than ready to sit together in the pergola for a hot tea/coffee, scones, croissants and fresh bread. I’d like to think that everyone enjoyed the trip and made some new friends. I must say that I could not have asked for or had the pleasure of paddling with lovelier group. I look forward to seeing them again soon!


After this event, we invited participants to enter our photography competition. Out of our entries, the vote came down to these two great shots:

Photo Credit Bobin


Photo Credit: Angie Heaslip


Note: the full photos are best seen on our social media pages.

After an online vote and a final count, the scores were very closely tied, however Angie’s photo of the canoes won by a narrow margin. She will get free entry to our next event in association with the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark which is a guided kayak tour of Inishmore Island (Cavan) in celebration of World Rivers Day 2022, Sunday 25th September. If you would like to join us and see some of the hidden treasures of this part of the Lough Oughter Special Area of Conservation, check out the events page of our website, look out for our social media posts and book you place by emailing [email protected] or calling on +353 (0)49 489 3630! We look forward to seeing you there!


Special thanks to Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark for their support of this event and many others that we host here at Cavan Adventure Centre.

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