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Do something that scares you this October

Posted on October 13, 2014 @ 4:32 PM in Adventure

You don’t need life stealing zombies chasing after you or a trip round a terrifying haunted house to get your adrenaline racing. OutdoorNI dares you to do one thing that scares you this October! Check out our suggestions for living life on the edge...

Skydiving

Take the leap and try skydiving with Skydive Wild Geese based in Co. Derry~Londonderry. Experience the thrill of free fall and the freedom of the skies during a tandem skydive. Securely attached to an experienced instructor. Are you brave enough to jump out of a plant at 15,000 ft.?!

Rock Climbing

Reach new heights and experience rock climbing with Team Build Ireland in Co. Antrim. This is the ideal choice for those looking to try something new and experience a high adrenaline session with friends. Receive full instruction and all the essential equipment for what is sure to be an epic intro to climbing which will push you to your limits.

High Ropes & Extreme Downhill Zorbing

Get your adrenaline pumping at The JungleNI in Co.Derry~Londonderry. Fancy yourself as being a bit of a Tarzan or Jane? Negotiate your way through 50 elements up to 40ft high including zip lines, bridges, scramble nets and a death defying powerfan descent. The Jungle NI's Adult Tree Top Adventure Course is sure to test your imagination and nerve! If thats not enough excitment for one day climb inside a giant inflatable ball and roll downhill on an extreme zorbing session.

Coasteering

Jump into a coasteering session with Life Adventure Centre in Co. Down. Traverse the stunning coastline by scrambling over sea cliffs and jumping off rocks into the sea during this fun filled, highly adventurous and adrenaline pumping activity.

Paragliding

Soar through the sky during a paragliding session with First Flight Paragliding based in Co. Antrim. Get a bird's eye view as you take to the skies harnessed below below a parachute canopy. All the necessary equipment and expert instruction will be provided. 

Diving

Dive right into October by having a go diving in the beautiful North Coast with Aquaholics Dive Centre. Under the watchful eye of a fully qualified PADI diving instructor you'll go from learning the basics to exploring the underwater world with a dive in the sea, all in a matter of hours. No experience necessary. Check out our blog for a first hand account- Diving in Northern Ireland.

Drop Zone & Blindfold Driving

Do you really trust your friends to get you to the finish line? Or will they send you around the bend? Take a stab in the dark with aBlindfold off-road Driving session at Todd’s Leap in Co. Tyrone. Take turns behind the wheel guiding each other around the off road obstacle course without knocking anything down!

Have you got nerves of steel to take the plunge from the Drop Zone Tower? Experience the buzz of adrenaline as you jump off a 30ft free fall platform. Don’t panic, your fall will be cushioned by a ‘Big Air Bag’, similar to that used by stunt artists in big action movies!

So what are you waiting for?! Go on, we dare you!

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Spooktacular Outdoor Adventures this Halloween

Posted on October 9, 2014 @ 10:07 AM in Adventure

You've found our 2014 Halloween Blog but don't worry there's plenty happening this year too. Check out 'Halloween Haunts & Frightening Fun 2016'

The 2014 Halloween Holidays haven’t been long creeping up on us! There are lots of things to do for those that dare this Halloween. Have a go at some of the hair-raising outdoor activities sure to have both kids and grownups screaming with excitement, from ghostly boat rides on the lough to haunted tours of ancient woodland, there's nothing spookier than spending the scary season in the outdoors. Check out our top Halloween events for 2014;

Kids & Family Halloween Activities

Keep your little spooks entertained during the half-term holidays with some terrifyingly terrific outdoor activities. Check out some of our favourites:

Halloween Activities 2014

Ghostly Campout and Activities at Carrowmena, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry; 

Enjoy action packed family activities for less this Halloween during Carrowmena’s Halloween Howler offer of half price on all activities between Mon 27th Oct  & Sat 1st Nov. Activities include; climbing, archery, kayaking, zip lining and more. For those who fancy a night spent toasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories around the campfire, Carrowmena’s Ghostly Glamping Pods are the ideal family getaway. Take advantage of their half price offer between Sun 26th & Sun 2nd Nov.

Halloween Scheme, 27th- 31st Oct, Belfast Activity Centre, Belfast; 

Join in the Halloween fun at Belfast Activity Centre during the half-term holidays. With the option of attending for a day or multiple days, the scheme (suitable for kids aged between 8 and 16) is a fantastic opportunity to develop skills, face fears and make new friends during the holidays. Don’t forget your costume for Fancy Dress Friday!

Have a Spooktacular Halloween at Share, 5th Oct - 31st Oct, Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh; 

Bigger and better than ever before there are lots more spine-chilling going-ons at Share Discovery Village sure to give you Goosebumps. Climb aboard the ghostly cruise ship if you dare, navigate your way through the haunted forest, create a spooky pumpkin or join a ghostly paddle out on the water before enjoying a spectacular fireworks display. There are lots more ghoulish surprises in store including bouncy castles, fancy dress competitions and Halloween games.

Halloween Camp, 30thOct - 1st Nov, East Coast Adventure Centre, Warrenpoint, Co. Down; 

East Coast Adventure’s annual Halloween Camp is back! Join the team for a day camp on the 1st or 2nd Nov or sign up for the two day residential. The kids will enjoy a selection of frightfully fun land based and water activities during the day while those who are brave enough to stay the night will pay a visit to the haunted house and see who is the scariest at the fancy dress Halloween party.

Halloween Spooky Nights, 25th- 31st Oct, Mobile Team Adventure, Belfast; 

Drop the kids off in the evenings for some frightening fun during the Halloween holidays with Mobile Team Adventure. They are sure to have a frightfully good time trying out activities including; abseiling, archery, canoeing, mountain biking and survival skills. What could be lurking among the trees? Those who dare to take a hike through the forest in the darkness will find out! 

Halloween 2014

Halloween for Grownups

You may be too old to go ‘trick or treating’ but Halloween isn’t just for the kids! Whether it be to frighten your other half or have a laugh with your mates big scares are just around the corner for the grownups this Halloween…

Halloween 2014

Fright Night, Various Dates in Oct, The JungleNI, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry; 

If you are looking for something truly terrifying to raise a few hairs on the back of your neck, then come along to Fright Night; Northern Ireland’s biggest, boldest and scariest Halloween event running throughout October. This year three new scare-zones and a host of other special effects have been added to ensure spine-chilling scares. Hitch a ride on the Hellish Haycart to the mouth of the ancient forest where you can continue your horrifying adventure on foot. Follow the forest path, guided only by lantern light, meeting a number of devilish creatures with twisted tales and terrifying howls. Are you brave enough to confront the world’s most unspeakable evil in the Inbred Horror House or make haste through the 10 acre Murderous Maze without being spotted by the noisome creatures lurking within?!

Find out what happened when OutdoorNI attended last years event: OutdoorNI does Fright Night

Davagh Night Enduro

Davagh Enduro Night Rider, Sat 1st Nov, Davagh Forest, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone; 

Take part in the much anticipated Davagh Enduro Night Rider! 5 timed stages of the Davagh Mountain bike trails guided only by bike light. Catering for more intermediate to advanced mountain bikers with night riding experience, this unique enduro race will consist of five timed stages within the Davagh Forest Trails and can be taken as seriously or as light-hearted as you like!

Have a frightfully good Halloween!

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

What are the most popular routes on CycleNI.com?

Posted on October 2, 2014 @ 11:58 AM in Cycling

CycleNI.com brings you the ten most popular routes on its website. These routes are based on what routes our visitors are viewing the most. There is a mixture of short, long, on road and off road routes so there should be something to suit everyone! 

1)       Comber Greenway

The Comber Greenway is the most popular route on our website and is a 7 mile traffic free path of the National Cycle Network which follows the old Belfast to Comber railway line. The traffic free walking and cycling route begins at Dee Street in East Belfast close to the Harland and Wolff shipyard. From the Holywood Arches to Dundonald the Greenway provides a tranquil green corridor through East Belfast with points of interest along the way including the CS Lewis Statue, views of the Harland & Wolff Cranes, Parliament Buildings at Stormont and the Belfast Hills.

2)       Lagan and Lough Cycle Way

The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way on National Cycle Network Route number 93 and 9 is a 21 mile mostly traffic-free cycle and walking route connecting Lisburn, Belfast and Jordanstown. The route is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities and passes along the waterside of the Lagan Towpath and Belfast Lough.

3)       Newry Canal Towpath

Similar to the Lagan and Lough Cycle Way, this very popular, traffic free route runs from Portadown to Newry and totals 20 miles in length. The route follows the towpath on the western bank of the Newry Canal.

4)       Belfast Lough

This traffic free flat section of the National Cycle Network along the shoreline of Belfast Lough takes in views of a truly historic shipyard. The 7 mile route runs on a path parallel to the motorway where you can observe the birds of Belfast Lough from special bird watching hides. The cycle lanes then take you through Duncrue Industrial Estate and onto Clarendon Dock where new businesses thrive alongside the old dry docks, where ships were once repaired. On arrival in Belfast, visit the Lagan Weir and learn about the history of the river Lagan and the Titanic.

5)       Loughshore Trail

The Loughshore Trail is a unique 113 mile on road cycleway, not only because it circumnavigates Lough Neagh but because it uses quiet country lanes and consists of mainly flat terrain. As well as providing breathtaking views, the trail also incorporates over 30 major sites of interest including marinas, nature reserves, parks and sites of archaeological interest.

6)       Giant’s Causeway to Benone

For a stunning cycle ride along the North Coast, follow National Cycle Network Route 93 between the Giants Causeway in the east and Benone in the west. This 22 mile on and off road route passes through the resort towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock. Significant stretches of the route are along traffic-free paths.

7)       Ballyshannon to Larne

Often listed in the world's top 10 road trips, the Antrim Coast is unrivalled in terms of attractions and scenery. Throw in the Sperrins, an Ancient Walled City and Atlantic beaches and you've got an unbeatable cycling holiday. The complete route is 281 miles in length along mostly minor country roads with varying degrees of cycling difficulty. Whether completed in its entirety or in smaller sections every cyclist will enjoy a truly spectacular experience.

8)       Kingfisher Trail

The Kingfisher Trail has been named after the kingfisher, a bird long associated with the lakes, fishing and the tranquillity of the rural setting. This is a beautiful rural area of quiet country roads well suited to cycling as there is very little traffic. This 230 mile trail was the first mapped and signed long distance cycle route in Ireland and is still regarded as one of the most enjoyable.

9)       Strangford Lough Cycle Trail

Cycle through St. Patrick’s country and explore one of Europe’s richest wildlife habitats, Strangford Lough, on this 82 mile on road route. It is managed by the National Trust and is a haven for marine life, butterflies and wild flowers. The route which is linked from Belfast by the traffic-free Comber Greenway meanders along the shores of the Ards Peninsula and Strangford Lough along minor roads with all the scenery and wildlife right at your wheels.

10) Craigavon Lakes Mountain Bike Trail

This 6.5mile family mountain bike trail meanders through broadleaf woodlands, wildflower meadows and along the lake shoreline. The majority of the trail is purpose built singletrack linked with some wider tarmac sections meaning it is both challenging and scenic. The trail is suitable for all cyclists with basic off-road riding skills.

Why not experience some of these routes for yourself? Even if you don’t have a bike there is further information on each route page about bike hire and don’t forget to check out the facilities section for the nearest coffee shops too!

Beverley Magowan
Beverley Magowan  Senior Marketing Officer

Beverley used to be a keen horse rider but since joining a local cycle club in 2013 she has developed a passion for 2 wheels instead of 4 hoofs! Meaning she can often be found on a bike exploring the roads across the country!

Walk in the Footsteps of Dracula – Filming Locations for Dracula Untold

Posted on October 1, 2014 @ 12:26 PM in Walking

Filmed on location in Northern Ireland you may recognise one or two familiar backdrops in the Hollywood blockbuster Dracula Untold.   Combining the story of the origin of its title character, Count Dracula with the true history of Prince Vlad the film stars Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon and Charles Dance.

Highlighting the varied and interesting landscape that can be found in Northern Ireland it is no surprise location manager, Catherine Geary wasn’t stuck for places to portray the mythical lands of this big budget action film.  

With fantastic walks to be found at each of the main filming locations, see below for downloadable route descriptions and maps so you can walk in the footsteps of Dracula….if you dare!

Mount Stewart, Newtownards, Co. Down
The Italian Garden at Mount Stewart in Co. Down acted as the grounds of Dracula’s Castle.  There a several walks to choose from on this National Trust owned property taking in the lake and world famous gardens, planted in the 1920s by Edith, Lady Londonderry.

Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, Co. Antrim
The world-famous stones of the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim double as a fictional Transylvanian Mountain - with a little CGI help.  Renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt it is the only World Heritage Site in N Ireland.  Move over Finn MacCool, the Causeway has a new legend who wants to claim this land as his own! Starting at the visitor centre this 2 mile walk along the famous stones has a lot to offer.

Leading lady of the film, Sarah Gadon, was a fan of this particular location whilst shooting.  Speaking to Click online she enthused, “I loved the Giant’s Causeway! It was so beautiful and we drove through the Glens of Antrim and I just think that’s the best part about shooting in Northern Ireland – every location we go to is stunning…”

 

 

Divis & the Black Mountain, Belfast, Co. Antrim
Described by location manager for the film, Catherine Geary as “stunningly desolate” Divis and the Black Mountain played host to the movie’s dramatic battle scenes. Just minutes from Belfast City Centre you will be transported to unspoilt countryside with arguably one of the best views in Belfast as you look down on the city’s famous landmarks below and impressive Mourne Mountains in the distance. Choose between 4 walking trails from 1 – 4miles, all providing something different across open moorland on the highest point in the Belfast Hills.

 

Tollymore Forest Park, Tollymore, Co. Down
Covering an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, Tollymore Forest Park is home to spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle.  Follow the trails through the forest to the arboretum, along the river to the stunning Shimna Stepping Stones or take on the Mountain and Drinns Trail incorporating several points of historical interest for something more energetic.

Roe Valley Country Park, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry  
A variety of walking options exist along the riverside and through woodland, combining legend with industrial and natural heritage in the place where shooting first began for the film back in August 2013.  The park is a haven for wildlife with over 60 species of birds having been spotted as well as foxes, badgers and otters. 

Scrabo Country Park, Newtownards, Co. Down
Home to the famous Scrabo Tower, built in 1857, the views that can be found at one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks are some of the finest in the country.  A great place for a leisurely stroll this 2.3 mile walk takes in the summit of Scrabo Hill before descending to the disused sandstone quarries which provided building stone since Anglo-Norman times and are now designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest.


Killynether Wood, Newtownards, Co. Down
Featuring a steady climb on woodland paths to a viewpont over the Drumlin countryside and beyond, Killynether Wood was another location used in this retelling of Dracula.  A result of planting in the mid nineteenth century this former estate woodland provides a peaceful surrounding to this 1.5 mile walk.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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