Belfast Telegraph

Daredevil surfers hit waves in gale

By Amanda Poole and John Mulgrew

Surfers were among those embracing the turbulent weather conditions felt across Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon.

Those brave enough to face the lashing winds were battered by the gale force conditions across the north coast.

Among the bravest were those who opted to take advantage of the rough and raucous seas with a spot of surfing in Ballycastle. The ferry from the town to Rathlin Island was also cancelled.

Others were also perched perilously close to the rocky edges of the coastline at Ballintoy as the churning white waves broke, spitting foam high into the air.

Portstewart harbour also felt the force of howling winds as ever increasingly large waves broke against its walls.

One of those soaking up the weather tweeted yesterday: "75mph winds, raging surf, horizontal rain. Portstewart, you make me feel alive!"

Elsewhere, the electricity supply was disrupted to 300 households in Carrickfergus and a number people in the Cregagh area of east Belfast were left without power due to an underground cable fault.

Yesterday evening, an NIE spokesman acknowledged the severe winter weather had caused inconvenience for some of its customers, but said there was minimal disruption across the network.

"So far, the network has withstood the wind very well," he said.

"If needs be we can call in more engineers and call centre staff, but the worst of the strong winds appeared to be in the afternoon."

Football fans from Northern Ireland travelling by ferry to and from the Old Firm derby in Glasgow were not affected as all sailings were on time, despite sea conditions being deemed as moderate to rough.

The high winds follow Northern Ireland's mildest Christmas Day on record. In Murlough in Co Down, a high of 14.3C was recorded, which is eight degrees above the average for the time of year.

That stands in sharp contrast to last winter, where a record breaking low of -18.7C was recorded.

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