The Upper Lough Erne Regatta for Lough Erne Cots at Crom Estate in Co. Fermanagh proved a captivating event on Sunday, August 20.

Lough Erne Heritage, having re-established racing for Lough Erne Cots on Upper Lough Erne, concluded this year’s programme with this event.

“Although raced in wet weather it was very well attended and supported with the maximum of eight teams having entered,” enthused Fred Ternan, Chairman of Lough Erne Heritage. 

He pointed out "it was also filmed for the BBC Home Ground programme" when the history and uses of the Lough Erne Cot were being outlined along with its use in the past for entertainment and sport at the many regattas held in the 1800s.

He added: "This was before the many modern sports were even invented and therefore the plentiful supply of water and the local traditional boats were put to good use as the main part of local sports days or fetes.”

Mr. Ternan recalled: “In early summer this year on the first Saturday of June, the first Knockninny Regatta for Lough Erne Cots since the 1830s was organised by Lough Erne Heritage and the winners there were crowned the Knockninny Champions. This was ‘Murphy’s boys,’ Alan, Eoin and Frank.

On Saturday, August 19, the second Crom Regatta for Lough Erne Cots was again organised by Lough Erne Heritage. 

“Cot racing here was a very popular pastime for many local families many members of which often crewed on the big yachts which took part in the sailing regattas” indicated Mr. Ternan. 

He noted: “When the yacht racing was over, the crews who had travelled to the race area in their cots often raced their cots for cash prizes and this was a regular feature of the regattas. The Goodwin family was very well known for their prowess in sailing yachts and racing cots and a descendant of the family, Michael and his wife travelled up from Dublin and took part in Sunday’s regatta.”

Mr. Ternan recorded: “The winners of Saturday’s Crom Regatta and crowned the Crom Champions was the ‘Cathcart 360 team’, Andy Cathcart, Brendan Elliott and Tom Irvine. The runners up being the West Island Wenches, Christine Irvine, Elaine Elliott and Lauren Potts.”

He added: “Saturday’s regatta was made more interesting as we had very able teams from Lough Neagh who had also brought with them a Lough Neagh Cot, a Lough Foyle salmon cot and a curragh from the coast of Donegal and we were able to have the first Lough Erne rally for traditional boats from different parts of Ireland. This is something Lough Erne Heritage will enlarge upon for next year. It was a wonderful sight to see all these boats on the water along with some of Lough Erne’s own traditional boats.”

Mr. Ternan went on to say: “Sunday’s regatta, the Upper Lough Erne Regatta was going to be very interesting as we now had two very strong teams from different parts of the lough who very likely would be competing against each other and indeed was the case. With the support of members of Lough Erne Heritage, the TV company was able to enter a team which had an extra member in the shape of David Seaman’s dog Bailey. The TV Company was very pleased with the amount of footage they had been able to take about the story and activity of the Lough Erne Cots.”

He concluded: “As the elimination rounds took place it was to be seen that the final was going to be quite serious. The regatta was won by ‘Murphy's Boys’, Alan and Eoin Murphy and Daire McCaffrey with the runners up being the ‘360 Cathcart’ team, Brendan Elliott, Tom Irvine and Andy Cathcart. Next year will be very interesting especially after the practice sessions planned for the winter.”

At the prize-giving held in the Visitors’ Centre, Lord Erne issued a Certificate of Participation to all competitors and the prizes to the winners. Michael Goodwin presented the prize to the runners up. 

Lord Erne congratulated all those who had taken part in this, the first Upper Lough Erne Regatta and Lough Erne Heritage for the excellent organisation.

Both events were supported by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and facilitated by the National Trust with the use of its premises.