Video: Swimming cows make their annual pilgrimage across Lough Erne
CATTLE at a Co Fermanagh estate have completed their annual 100m swim across a lough.
A total of 24 cows on Crom Estate, owned by the National Trust, swam across a section of Lough Erne to graze in fresh pastures on the island of Inishfendra.
Crom Estate was founded as part of the Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s.
Parts of the landscape were designed by William Sawrey Gilpin in the 1830s.
National Trust ranger, Matthew Scott said the cows are herded into a pen on the banks of the lough, then gently herded towards the water.
They will be herded back across the lough when the grass starts to fade in September or October.
He said the tradition of cattle swimming to their summer pastures dates back to the 1800s.
"Inishfendra has a 40 acre field which the cattle graze over the summer months," he said.
"This way of caring for the pasture helps us to maintain the design of the parkland as the grazing ensures the land doesn't get overgrown with scrub.
"Instead, the cows actively encourage the growth of wild flowers such as cuckooflower and buttercup, and insects such as orange-tip butterflies and native honeybees also flourish.
"When we move the cows we always make sure within the group of cattle there are a few cows who have made the journey before so they can lead the way.
"We always keep an eye out for passing boats and that the weather conditions are favourable before setting off."