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Tides and sea

Just as the shoreline of the Lough is varied, so too is the movement of its waters . The Lough can be still, almost glass-like, but it is also noted for the rushing turbulent tidal waters of the Narrows. The overall effect is one of restlessness and change, which influences the mood of the Lough and also contributes to the huge variations in its wildlife and habitat.

The turbulence of the water in the Narrows is partly caused by large pinnacles of rock on the sea bed that cause upwellings and whirlpool effects - the most notable being the Routen Wheel. 

Wave action is greatest when the effects of wind and tide are combined. On the shore waves are seen on rocky outcrops and headlands and on the more exposed outer coast

Tides: are mainly caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, though the sun also has some influence. This area gets two low and two high tides every 24 hours.

During new and full moons the sun and the moon are most closely aligned and therefore their pull is greatest. This means that the tidal range is also greatest and we get Spring tides. These very low tides are great times to explore the shore as wildife normally covered is exposed.

About 350 million cubic metres of water flow through the Narrows with every tide.
For further information on this area please see related publications - Strangford Lough The Wildlife of an Irish Sea Lough by Robert Brown, Chapter 3, Tides, Wind and Waves.