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 Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She is interested to see if marketing outdoor activities on a daily basis and being surrounded by sporty colleagues rubs off, and stirs up a love for the outdoors (once she conquers her fear of heights of course!).

Spooktacular Outdoor Adventures this Halloween

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

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 Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She is interested to see if marketing outdoor activities on a daily basis and being surrounded by sporty colleagues rubs off, and stirs up a love for the outdoors (once she conquers her fear of heights of course!).

Hitting The Wall – Literally and Figuratively!

Posted on September 12, 2014 @ 1:04 PM in Adventure

Eternal adventure seeker and sports enthusiast, Andrea Harrower recently decided to take on the mighty Mourne Wall.  Here’s her story…

(NB: Undertaking such a challenge should not be done so lightly and training and preparation is key.  It is not advised that this challenge be attempted without proper planning and consideration and with the correct provision of food and water).   

The last day of freedom before school drop offs/pick ups/extra curricular activities dawned bright and a planned “me time” run in a local forest, then became a planned wee run in the Mournes….which by halfway through the 30min drive to the majestic Kingdom of Mourne became a madcap plan?! of running the entire Mourne Wall! Not a plan?! that I’d be encouraging many to do, unless they actually planned it!

The Mourne Wall was constructed to enclose a reservoir's catchment area in the Mourne Mountains. It was built between 1904 and 1922 by the Belfast Water Commissioners to enclose the water catchment in the Mournes.  The wall was crafted from natural granite stone using traditional dry stone walling techniques. On average the wall is about 1.5 metres high, and 0.8-0.9 metres thick.  It is 22 miles (35 km) long and passes over 15 mountains.  So yes, it is not something to be taken lightly without adequate preparation and provisions !!!! NB do as I say, not as I do!

Walkers generally complete the Mourne Wall over the course of 2 days, camping about halfway around the route, and reports are that anybody attempting to complete the wall in 1 day, does so in about 12-13 hours.  Setting off at around 10am in an anticlockwise direction from Silent Valley car park, with the aim of walking the inclines and running the flats and down hills, I was reckoning about 8 hours. A far cry from the wee forest run I was planning before the madcap plan took hold!

The wall immediately climbs up Moolieve, to Wee Binnian and Binnian on an easy-to-follow narrow path, and from the very start the views are spectacular. The descent from Binnian to Annalong Wood is on rugged and rocky terrain, with stunning views of the wall and ensuing summits rising up above the far side of the trees.

The section through Annalong Wood is testing – heavy undergrowth, brambles, rocks, bore holes and river crossings!  - but then an easy path resumes via Rocky Mountain and the whole way across the Bog of Donard (guess why it’s called that???) and up to the summit of Slieve Donard.

By this stage I had been going 2hr50min and bounced down the descent to the saddle with Slieve Commedagh in less than 10mins. I felt invigorated and full of energy!...or was that just because I’d eaten 1 of my 3 chocolate bars (NB do not attempt this with such meagre supplies! If I’d planned this at all, I’d have had a full blown picnic with me….not to mention way more than an insufficient 1 litre of water) at the top of Donard?!

Up Commedagh and running along the wall on a long, gradual descent across Slieve Corragh and Slievenaglogh, the vista ahead is breathtaking and not only can you see the Mourne Wall snake its way in the distance over peaks to come, but you can see it weaving its way around behind you from where you have come. The ascent up Slieve Bearnagh is a challenging one, as is its descent to Slieve Meelmore – but sure scrambling gives you an upper body workout!

Psychologically, once you’ve done Slieve Meelbeg, then you think you’re pretty much home – as all the biggest summits are behind you. Oh how wrong can you be?! Not even my 2nd chocolate bar of 3 on Meelbeg could spur me through this final section. Yes….it had happened….you know that saying “hit the wall”?!...well, having hit the Mourne Wall lastmin.com with insufficient provisions, I had hit the wall figuratively. So, what do endurance athletes do in such situations? Start talking to yourself like a nutter, using any mantras and methods necessary to keep moving forward!

The section from Slieve Loughshannagh via Carn and Muck was a total slog through boggy, marshy terrain – ending with a slow, sharp, heather-ridden descent down Muck and through further no-mans-land until crossing over Banns Road and ascending the final summit, Slievenaglogh (yip! there are 2 of them along the Mourne Wall!).

With the allure of the final summit, and devouring the 1 final chocolate bar, you’d think that energy levels would be restored. Nope! That final wee summit felt like Everest surely feels. And then, the final straw, just when you’ve crested the top and think all you have to do is drop down to the finish at Silent Valley – the wall sweeps you totally the opposite direction! Sure, what’s an extra 2 miles?!

With aching knees, hammered feet, bruised legs….and so the list goes on…I finally ended up back at the car after 7hrs10min. I hadn’t felt this shattered since doing the Himalaya 100 in 2010, but couldn’t help but think that if I’d had proper food and water then I probably wouldn’t have felt so bad.

No matter what though, the journey reinforced what an exceptionally beautiful area the Kingdom of Mourne is. There is spectacular scenery, varied terrain, diverse flora and fauna around not only the summits themselves, but the low lying foothills too.

Whether you’re going 22 miles, or 2 miles, you can’t help but be in the Mournes and feel lucky to be alive. . . even when you feel nearly dead!  En route I saw only 2 sets of people, the 2nd set being after 5hrs and in my lengthy slog through the last section. I saw 2 women hikers approaching from the opposite direction, and was unsure I could even muster a “hello”. However, I did, and not only that…I even managed to make 1 of them crease up in laughter when she asked me, “How far have you come?”. I told her I’d started in Silent Valley and would be back in Silent Valley in a couple of hours. She asked, “Did you start yesterday?”. I replied, “No, I started just 5 hours ago” and she was astounded. Her hilarity was when I then added, “Sure, the Mourne Wall is 22 miles – that’s not even a marathon” !

Anyone out there wanting a marathon route?......hit the wall!

Latest comment posted by Anthony on September 18, 2014 @ 2:29 PM

Total Respect for anyone why does this. I love the Mournes but have been away from them for far too long. I attempted this by myself 25 years ago and although fit & healthy and having been hill ... Read more >

Andrea Harrower
Andrea Harrower  The Belles

Eternal adventure seeker.... A sports enthusiast, who competes at a high level but who has as much passion for encouraging other females and kids into the great outdoors. Along with 3 other like-minded girls she founded The Belles in 2009!

Free Family Activity Days- Get Outdoors Weekend 2014

Posted on September 4, 2014 @ 1:18 PM in Adventure

Looking for a fun filled family day out with the kids during September? Get Outdoors Weekend 2014 promises not to disappoint! You will be spoilt for choice with over 80 FREE outdoor activities across Northern Ireland and a choice of 7 Family Multi Activity Days. The fun really needn’t stop now school has started!

Get Outdoors Weekend 2014

Belfast

Colin Glen Forest Park Family Fun Day, Sat 20th Sept, Colin Glen Forest Park; 

Enjoy family fun in Belfast and get to try a whole range of outdoor activities including low ropes and archery. Some activities require pre-booking.

Get Outdoors at the Autumn Fair, Sat 20th & Sun 21st Sept, Botanic Gardens;

Celebrate the changing season with a weekend of food, flowers and family fun. Free activities including a climbing wall and archery sessions will be on offer during the festivities. Just turn up on the day! 

Co. Tyrone

Gortin Glens Forest Park Family Activity Day, Sat 20th & Sun 21st Sept;

Come to Gortin Glens Forest Park near Omagh and enjoy a host of outdoor activities sure to enthuse the whole family. Activities include archery, climbing and laser clay pigeon shooting. Some activities require pre-booking.

Get Outdoors Weekend 2014

Co. Down

Free Entry into Castle Ward, Sat 20th Sept, Castle Ward;

Enjoy free entry to this beautiful country estate and explore a network of more than 34kms of walking, cycling and horse riding trails. This is a turn up on the day event. 

Co. Armagh

Ring of Gullion Get Outdoors Extravaganza, Sat 20th Sept, Slieve Gullion Forest Park;

Bushcraft, climbing tower, archery, hill walking and more...it’s all happening at Slieve Gullion for the fantastic Get Outdoors Extravaganza! Some activities require pre-booking.

Get Outdoors Weekend 2014

Co. Derry~Londonderry

Taste the Outdoors Family Fun Day, Sun 21st Sept, Beech Hill Country House Hotel;

Get Outdoors with a range of different outdoor activities for all the family including a scavenger hunt, mountain biking and wild cooking. Some activities require pre-booking.

Co. Fermanagh

Get Outdoors in Fermanagh Family Fun Day, Sat 20th Sept, Castle Archdale;

Experience the great outdoors with free activities including climbing, canoeing as well as guided cycling and walks. Some activities require pre-booking.

To find out more information on all these great activity events and how you can take part in a FREE event near you vist Get Outdoors Weekend!

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She is interested to see if marketing outdoor activities on a daily basis and being surrounded by sporty colleagues rubs off, and stirs up a love for the outdoors (once she conquers her fear of heights of course!).

Explore the North Coast by Sea with Portrush Sea Tours

Posted on August 25, 2014 @ 3:40 PM in Adventure

The North Coast is most famous for one thing (no I’m not thinking of Barry’s amusements or Morellis ice-cream although both strong contenders!); it’s all in the name, of course I’m talking about the fabulous coastline! With sea stack cliffs, historic castles, beautiful beaches and a famous geological phenomenom there are lots of impressive sights to behold in this part of the world. With so much to see the best view is definitely from the water as I would soon find out on my trip with Portrush Sea Tours who offer exhilarating tours of the famous coastline by boat.

Window wipers on I began my journey from Belfast to the North Coast one not so sunny Saturday excited for my tour on the ‘high seas’. Heading up ahead of schedule I made time for an obligatory ‘99’ (it’s never too early for ice-cream) just in time for the sun to come out, and for me to enjoy the views from Portrush East Strand.  

Portrush Sea Tours
Conveniently located right on the North Pier (next to Ramore Wine Bar a great place for a bite of lunch, dinner or a drink or two after) it was easy to find Portrush Sea Tours shop.   It was here I met Crawford and Pearl; Mr and Mrs Portrush Sea Tours - a dynamic duo and our skipper and tour guide for the morning.  After a friendly welcome and a cup of coffee everyone was soon assembled eager to get aboard.  Kitted out with life jackets, Crawford gave a safety briefing and we hopped on the Stormforce 11, a fast RIB (rigid inflatable boat) which would treat us to some exciting speeds at the same time remaining very comfortable and stable on the water.  With a cover for the boat allowing us to still have full view there was no need to let the threat of rain put a dampner on the day and more importantly us! All aboard, as no one else seemed to be fighting for it I was straight up the front beside the captain. 

North Coast ToursThe captain doing what he does best; a famous face hidden within the Skerries

Pearl explained the plan for the tour and give us a rough run down of what we would be seeing then with a whir of the engine we were off leaving the harbour behind us as Crawford got the tunes going.  Passing the impressive Ramore Head our next stop was the Skerries; a small group of islands scattered just off the Portrush coast, formed from cooled volcanic lava. Pearls knowledge of the area was fantastic and both she and Crawford had a great awareness of the wildlife pointing out Iderback ducks and grey seals which I would have missed.  Pearl had plenty of fascinating facts about this particular spot including famous faces hidden within the rocks, tails of freedom fighters and the secret of how the rabbits got to the skerries!   Sorry guys my lips are sealed – you’ll just have to go on the tour to find out. 

Portrush Sea Tours

Pearl telling us some interesting facts about the area

Accelerating along the water with the sea air in our hair we headed to Portballintrae harbour also known as the fictional town of Lordsport in the television series Game of Thrones. After admiring the distinctive white church high above us on the headland more impressive sites awaited us in the form of Dunluce Castle and the White Rocks.  Perched right on the edge of basalt cliffs, towering above us Dunluce Castle was a particular highlight for me.  It was amazing to stare up at the mighty structure from the sea and take it in from an entirely new and impressive perspective.  Built on the site of an ancient Irish fort, the Scottish style castle was occupied by the MacDonnells of Antrim and the MacDonalds of Dunnyveg, Scotland, providing no shortage of fascinating history for Pearl to share with us including tales of the kitchen which fell into the sea in 1690 and the ghosts that were left behind.

The awesome views continued as we zoomed beside the White Rocks stretching from Dunluce Castle to East Strand, an impressive array of limestone cliffs with caves and arches only accessible from the sea – something I would have never knew existed or have been able to witness from dry land. After waving at a group coasteering; jumping from the cliffs and exploring the caves, we headed back towards Portrush to take in the sandy beaches and impressive dunes. 

Born and bred in the North Coast Crawford and Pearls passion for the area really came through as they shared local knowledge, history and folklore helping to bring each location to life ensuring everyone was entertained both kids and adults throughout.  After taking in all the sites it was then time for Crawford to show us what the Storm Force could really do as he told us to hold on tight and notched up the speed for a fantastic spin which got everyone’s heart racing and the adults onboard fighting the kids for a coveted place at the back!

North Coast Tours

Crawford and I back on dry land

After a few laps at speed and skimming through the waves it was time to head back with the hour having flown in.  Once back everyone was raving about the trip keen to find out when they could go again. We had experienced the Bay to Bay Sea Tour however other trips include the Giant’s Causeway tour and Rathlin Island tour as well as the opportunity to go further afield to the Scottish islands of Juraand Islay so there was plenty of reason for everyone to come back for more. It was a fantastic experience made all the better by Crawford and Pearls welcoming and friendly nature with everyone learning a lot and getting to experience never before seen views of the coast.  Whether you are a regular visitor to this part of the world or are here for the first time I would definitely recommend this trip as I know Crawford and Pearl will guarantee you won’t be disappointed!  You don’t just have to take my word for it however, as theTripadvisor reviews speak for themselves.   

Activity Provider:

Portrush Sea Tours

+44(0)77 61696060 

info@portrushseatours.com

www.portrushseatours.com 

Cost:

Bay to Bay Sea Tour (approx 1 hour)

Cost per person: £20

Know someone who might like to give this a go?  You can purchase this and other tours online from the OutdoorNI.com Gift Voucher page.   

 

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!

older articles >
Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com