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UTV’s Keeper of the Lough returns this week!

Katie Bell from Ulster Wildlife 

Katie Bell from Ulster Wildlife 

A new series of ‘Keepers of the Lough’ is coming to UTV. Set in and around the shores of Strangford Lough, the previous series have taken the viewer on a beautiful voyage of discovery about this enchanting part of the Northern Irish countryside, learning about its people and its habitat.


Renowned internationally for its sheer beauty with its marine and nature reserves, it's also a working lough and its shores are surrounded by people who not only look after and keep it, but also depend on it for a living.


As with the previous two series, Patrick Kielty narrates these brand new episodes and tells us even more about what life is like in and around the Lough. 

Katie Bell from Ulster Wildlife 

Katie Bell from Ulster Wildlife 

Along the way, the viewer will see some old faces from before, and meet some new characters, as they go about their business all the while protecting and preserving this area of outstanding natural beauty.


In the first episode Katie Bell from Ulster Wildlife checks on owl chicks near Castle Ward. She takes them from the box to be ringed and weighed, and we find out why they are so docile.


Next up, we’re at the Killyleagh Summer Festival, where event organiser Gawn Hamilton talks us through the bucket challenge between two teams as part of the four day festival. 

John Scott (left) from Killyleagh, at Ringhaddy Boatyard

John Scott (left) from Killyleagh, at Ringhaddy Boatyard

The series wouldn’t be complete without John Scott from Killyleagh, We find him once again on his tractor at Ringhaddy Boatyard where he has been working since the early 1970s when he helped his father as a teenager. He’s an expert in the yard, and knows every boat and its history. He tells us about one which came all the way from South Africa and is being painstakingly restored by a young Dublin boat builder. Ryan needs to work on it to make it seaworthy before sailing it down to Howth. John thinks Ryan is very brave taking on the project.


We then meet Heather Gilmore who lives on the shore at Whiterock, where she trains pups to become guide dogs. We meet Jones, her latest pup, who even at 10 weeks old, is proving to be quite talented.  


In Portaferry at the Queen’s University Marine Laboratory Open Day members of the public are invited in to take part in experiments and see what the lab does.  There is also some sea shantie singing to entertain the visitors!

National Trust ranger Tomasz Ciesielski

National Trust ranger Tomasz Ciesielski

On Gibbs Island, National Trust ranger Tomasz Ciesielski explains how they run courses in the traditional art of hedge laying for members of the public. He explains how important this is for the local wildlife.


Out on the water, at East Down Yacht Club, there is RS Feva junior racing and we meet some of the young competitors, excited to be out and working in pairs on the water.

Further in the series, viewers will get to see the work of Exploris, and other National Trust projects, as well as meeting local artists, musicians and other artisans, set against the beautiful lough and surrounding areas.



UTV Programmes Editor, Tony Curry said:

“I’m just delighted that ‘Keepers of the Lough’ is returning. Viewers can delight in the area’s natural beauty which serves as the perfect backdrop to meet old friends from previous episodes, and to meet more new characters that add to the richness of the area. There is something for everyone in these six new episodes and we are delighted to be bringing this one corner of Northern Ireland into peoples’ homes.”


‘Keepers of the Lough’ is produced by Co Down-based independent production company Green Inc. Stephen Stewart is Executive Producer for Green Inc., and Bob O'Brien produced, shot and directed the series. Bob said:

“This is my favourite series to work on – it actually doesn’t feel like work, when I’m surrounded by so much beauty and receive such a warm welcome from the local people who are so proud to call Strangford home. We’ve unearthed some great characters and stories which will educate and entertain in equal measure.”


The series is sponsored by ‘Echlinville Distillery’. 

You can watch the first episode on Tuesday 16th April at 8pm on UTV and afterwards on ITVX.


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