OutdoorNI Does…Jungle NI’s Charity Zombie Run

Posted on September 22, 2015 @ 11:07 AM in Adventure

Imagine being chased through fields, rivers and mud over fences and through graveyards by flesh eating zombies…no I’m not describing your worst nightmare but the Jungle NI’s unique and daring 5K Charity Obstacle Run.  With three lives to protect runners must make it to the finish line with as many lives as possible intact all whilst negotiating a range of obstacles along the way.

Having never ran the length of myself never mind 5k the incentive of being chased by zombies seemed like the only plausible way I could complete my first ever run. With that in mind it was this time last year that I somehow found myself standing at the start line with a mix of terror, excitement and adrenaline pumping through me.  I was always under the impression that I couldn’t run if my life depended on it so you could say this was to be the ultimate test!

Zombie Run Jungle NI

If there was ever a time to whip out and wear pumpkin balaclavas this was it! So along with two of my colleagues we headed to the Jungle NI in Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry on an uncharacteristically sunny Sunday morning last October. The operations on the day were slick from start to finish with no mad queues at registration and plenty of water and treat filled goody bags handed out.  As we got prepared and chilled out in the onsite purpose built barn and coffee shop I noticed there was a varied mix of people waiting to take part from competitive crossfit teams to charity runners and those there just to have a bit of a laugh which put first time runners like me at ease.

It wasn’t long before we were gathered together in a grassy field for a quick safety briefing before the living dead (soon to turn against us!) lead an energetic warm up to zombie themed music that would have made even Mr. Motivator jealous and added to the fun atmosphere of the event.  A number of star jumps and burpees later we were set of in heats to avoid funnel necks at the obstacles.

Zombie run

As we set off the adrenalin was really pumping as not only did we not know what to expect but we didn’t know where or when the zombies would be lurking.  The start of the course went through a field where everyone jogged, ran or walked depending on if they wanted to preserve their energy / how fit they were.  After a quick dip in a muddy river the precedence of the course was set – if you don’t like getting your trainers dirty then this is definitely not the run for you! After this the obstacles kept coming as we attempted to scale fences using the only male in our team as a human ladder before leaving him to fend for himself as we reached the other side.  Next came the balance beams (where I found out mine was non-existent) and monkey bars - surprisingly a lot harder when you’re not 5 and have your dad to hold you up.  In a cruel twist of events as we ran up and down rolling hills zombies were waiting for us at the top just as energy reserves were running low so it was a case of tactile ducking and diving or my particular favourite defence mechanism of using the person in front as a human shield.

Jungle NI

The pace soon slowed down as we made our way through the muddy forest nervous to speed ahead in case something was lurking round the next tree. It was at this point that my selfish survival instinct really kicked in as I pushed my team mates ahead of me.  A connoisseur of terror the Jungle NI is transformed every Halloween for their popular Fight Night event so the props littered across the site from its hill top graveyard where zombies lurked behind tombstones to cornfield scarecrows really added an extra edge to the event. 

Challenge run NI

Half way through the course it wasn’t long until the inevitable happened and I lost all my lives confirming the fact that I would most likely not survive a zombie apocalypse.  Determined to keep going (I literally had nothing else to lose!) I decided to finally take one for the team and act as a zombie distraction for my other team mates who still had lives left.  The authenticity of the zombies really made the event; not only was the makeup and clothing fantastic but the commitment of the actors definitely didn’t go unnoticed, some of which were definitely worthy of being cast in Dawn of the Dead.  We even met one post-race who due to his enthusiasm had pulled a muscle from contorting his body all day!  The course came to a climax with a field swarming with zombies determined to take whatever lives were left.  We made it through to find that the best had most definitely been saved to the last with a giant slip and slide down the zorbing hill.  I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face as I went down the water chute that could rival most waterparks with plenty of fairy liquid and water ensuring a fast flow.  After this it was the home straight to collect our blood dripping badass medals before chowing down guilt free on a giant hotdog with all the trimmings at the free of charge BBQ.  A fantastic way to end a fantastic morning.  With the local radio station on-site pumping the tunes and the sun still shining the atmosphere at the end was buzzing as we recounted our favourite bits, most epic falls and scariest zombies.

Jungle NI Zombie Run

Entry for this year’s event on Sunday 11th October is now open with booking available online at www.TheJungleNI.com.  The event costs £25 to enter with a donation from all entry fees going to Autism NI.  We DARE you to sign up!

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!

Heading Off-Road Todd’s Leap Adventures (Part 2)

Posted on September 9, 2015 @ 11:16 AM in Adventure

 In Part 1 of the Todd’s Leap Adventure Blog series we headed to Todds leap in search of the ultimate day out...With a morning packed full of activities including clay pigeon shooting, the giant swing and drop zone we couldn’t possibly pack it all into one blog!

Having enjoyed a delicious lunch in Todds Leap’s Twisted Axle Bar & Restaurant we were fuelled for what was set to be a fantastic afternoon of even more adrenaline packed activities.

Off Road Driving Northern Ireland

Assembling in the yard we were soon joined by our instructor for our off road driving session. A buzz of excitement passed over the group as we climbed into our Land Rovers to take on the rocky Todd’s Leap terrain! Driving the 4x4’s down steep descents, up muddy climbs and through rivers, taking turns to conquer sections of the course and show off our driving skills (apparently at times inexistent!). The highlight of this activity for me was driving at close to a 45 degree angle along a sloping part of the track (not so sure my passenger’s enjoyed seeing the ground quite so close to their windows! But proof none the less that women can drive!)

With a recent extension to the off road course, even if you have done this activity before there are lots of new challenges you must come back and have a go at! Specially adapted these 4x4’s allow those with no driving experience and even children (yes even children!) to have a go behind the wheel making this an activity the whole family can have a go at!

Zip Line Northern Ireland

Climbing out of our Land Rovers we walked over to the large shipping container at the edge of the yard where we were kitted out with a harness and belay and loaded into the back of their ‘Zip Rover’, for what we were told was one of Todds Leap most popular activities with adventure seeking visitors.

The journey to the Zip Tower at the highest part of the off road track was an experience all by itself, as we held on tight over the rocky terrain we had previously driven down behind the wheel of our Land Rovers.

At its peak, the zip line hangs 50 metres above the ground and is a staggering 500m long making it Ireland’s longest zip line. From here you really do get to see the epic scale of Todd’s Leap Activity Centre! Soon we were knee trembling our way up the four flights of stairs to the top of the tower where our instructor clipped us onto the wire and guided us as we launched ourselves out over the valley high above the off road course, sailing through the skies over the impressive forest below and praying gravity would help us stop at the end.

Hill Rally Northern Ireland

Nothing could have prepared us for our final activity of the day! We had heard rumours that the Hill Rally Stage was not an activity for the faint hearted…but a must do activity for all thrill seekers! It would be fair to say that we each were experiencing a wide range of feelings from ‘nervous wreck’ to ‘bring it on adrenaline junkie’ as we harnessed up into the back of our specially prepared Rally Land Rover and listened intently to the safety briefing from our driver.

The engine roared and before we knew it we had taken off down the off road track reaching speeds of 70mph on parts of the course we had taken on earlier in the day in 1st and 2nd gear, in what now seemed like a snail’s pace! The air quickly filled with the sound of laughter and screams as we flew round corners, bounced over rough terrain and splashed through rivers. Words cannot adequately describe or do justice to this activity and the emotions stirred up. We definitely finished our day on an adrenaline high like no other!!

After a group photo we were on our way back to Belfast already planning our next visit. However, we would love to have stayed the night in the quirky onsite accommodation which takes Glamping (glamourous camping) to a whole new level. These muti coloured shipping containers have been converted to include bunk beds, ensuite bathrooms and lots of other home comforts.

Glamping Northern Ireland

Check out the latest video for a flavour of what you can expect on your next adventure to Todds Leap.

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Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She enjoys getting out and exploring the fantastic adventures on offer across Northern Ireland.

August Bank Holiday Adventures 2015

Posted on August 20, 2015 @ 11:27 AM in Adventure

With August coming to an end many of us are wondering ‘where did the summer go?’  But don’t worry it’s not over yet! With the August Bank Holiday Weekend just around the corner make sure you make the most of the last weekend of summer and an extra day off work with friends or family on an outdoor adventure.

Bank Holiday Family Fun

Family Climbing & Archery, Mon 31st Aug, Mobile Team Adventure, Belfast, Co. Antrim
Just minutes from Belfast City Centre join Mobile Team Adventure at Ardnavalley for a bit of competitive family fun.  Race to the top of the mobile climbing wall and see who can hit the bulls-eye as you take aim at archery on this family afternoon out with a difference (suitable for ages 4 and up). 

Bank Hol' Blowout, Mon 31st Aug, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry
Set at the foot of Binevenagh along the Causeway Coastal route, Carrowmena Activity Centre is having a ‘Bank Hol' Blow Out’ for all the family with 3 for 2 entry. Have a go canoeing, reach new heights on the climbing wall, defy gravity on their zipline or get to grips with a bow and arrow (minimum age 6).  You can also extend the family fun with a night in their glamping pods.

Family Mountain Bike Hire, Outdoor Concepts, Davagh Forest Park, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone
With its blue, green, red grade mountain bike trails, skills park and jumps track the kids wont be complaining of getting bored during this day out. With bike hire available from the trailhead from Outdoor Concepts avoid the hassle of putting your bikes onto the car and pack a picnic instead to refuel after a day on the trails. 

Family Fun Days, Sun 30th & Mon 31st Aug, The Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry
Get yourself some tokens and enjoy an action packed family day out in The Jungle with activities including zorbing, archery, segways, treasure hunts and more the whole family are sure to stay entertained. 

Adventures With Your Mates

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Sun 30th Aug, Long Line Water Trails, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry
For those wanting to try something unique, chilled out and fun then sign up to a Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) session (an ancient form of surfing with a paddle) with Long Line Water Trails. Paddle down the idyllic River Roe alongside a knowledgeable instructor providing you with tips and sharing local heritage as you travel along remote parts of the river under the shadow of the beautiful Binevenagh Mountain.

Coasteering, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford Lough, Co. Down
Continue the fun on the water with a high energy coasteering session with Clearsky Adventure Centre which will see you traversing the stunning Ballyhornan coastline scrambling over sea cliffs, crawling and even jumping off rocks into the sea lead by your instructor.

Shoot Out, Todds Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone
An action packed day out you won't want to miss! Kick off your day at Todds Leap learning to Clay Pigeon shooting under the watchful eye of your qualified instructor, followed by 2 hours of back to back combat paintballing an activity certainly not for the faint hearted! Before finishing your day hitting bullseye during an archery session. 

Mountain Bike & Kayak Hire, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan, Co. Down
Avoid the hassle of attaching bikes to your car and get ready to hit the Castlewellan blue, green and red mountain bike trails. Spend the afternoon out on the lake in your very own kayak practicing your paddling skills and. Kitted out with everything you need by Life Adventure Centre at the trailhead for a day of adventure with your friends!

Whatever your Adventure have a great August Bank Holiday Weekend!

For more information on the above events as well as a whole range of exciting outdoor activities and events happening throughout the year visit www.OutdoorNI.com 

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She enjoys getting out and exploring the fantastic adventures on offer across Northern Ireland.

Short Break Ideas for Couples in Northern Ireland

Posted on July 23, 2015 @ 10:37 AM in Adventure

From the stunning coastline of the North Coast, to the famous Lakelands of Fermanagh, beautiful beaches, sunsets and stargazing there are endless possibilities for adventure in Northern Ireland this summer.   

Put your trust in each other and do something crazy together, here are our top 5 active summer short breaks that are sure to inject some excitement into your life and leave you feeling reenergised.

Forest Hideaway

Tucked away in the stunning 820 acre demesne Castle Ward in Strangford, Co. Down is home to four eco friendly continental camping pods. 

Just outside your doorstop you will have over 12km of off road cycling and walking trails to explore based on the stunning shores of Strangford Lough. Take advantage of onsite activity provider Clearsky Adventure Centre’s package which includes a night glamping with bike hire and archery or canoe hire so you can explore the trails including some of the filming locations for hit series Game of Thrones. If you really want to recreate the magic then have a go at their Game of Thrones archery experience in the Winterfell courtyard. 

The next day why not hop aboard the high speed Strangford Sea Safari? Watch your knuckles go white as the RIB takes you to shipwrecks, whirlpools and sea colonies to view Strangford Lough from a whole new angle. 

Fermanagh Lakeland Escape

Fermanagh is famous for its Lakelands so there is no better way to explore it than by boat. Enjoy a trip on the Lower Lough Erne with boat hire from Manor House Marine. Explore some of the finest castles, gardens and heritage sites, do a bit of fishing or alternatively sit back, relax and take in the splendid scenery anchored up in your peaceful surroundings. 

Make a weekend of it and head to Blessingbourne, a private estate in the picturesque Clogher Valley in Fivemiletown just a 40 minute drive away. With a range of self catering options from the 3* appartments in the courtyard to the 5* gatelodge a good nights sleep is guarantteed before heading out to explore the mountain bike trails.

Explore the North Coast

Northern Ireland’s most spectacular coastline is bursting with fantastic activities for you to enjoy together. Book a session with Troggs Surf School, Portrush and catch a wave together during a surf lesson. Alternatively if you want something a bit more chilled out then skip the waves and try out a spot of stand up paddle boarding.  After an active day at the beach check in for the night at the Shola Coach House B&B. Enjoy the sunset after dining at the Ramore Wine Bar renowned for its fantastic tasting food and lively atmosphere.

The next day pay a different sort of visit to Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge. You may have already crossed the famous landmark but have you ever been underneath it? With Simply Sea Kayak you can explore the North Coast by kayak. 

Glamp it Up

Home to Northern Ireland’s only tree top adventure course, play Tarzan and Jane at The Jungle NI as you swing from the trees.  Or why not take a tumble together with some extreme downhill zorbing?! You can also enjoy a spot of clay pigeon shooting or have a blast round the forest on a Segway.  

With so much happening onsite it makes sense to stay put and with the Jungles quirky glamping pods you can do just that.  Relax in the splendor of the great outdoors and get toasting those marshmallows in your very own outdoor patio equipped with a camp fire and picnic benches before unwinding in their outdoor hot tubs!

Majestic Mountain Break

When it comes to an outdoor adventure break the Mourne Mountains have it all; fabulous mountain walks, beautiful beaches and enchanting forests. Take a trip to Castlwellan forest park where you can create your own adventure with bike or canoe hire from Life Adventure Centre. Hire a canoe and head out on the lake or get down and dirty on the mountain bike trails.

Just a 7 minute drive to Newcastle indulge in a spot of luxury at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa or for something a bit out of the ordinary relax and unwind at the soak seaweed baths

We all know food is the way to anyone’s heart so the next day why not head out on the Mourne foods cycle trail?  A self guided food tour by bike with the Mourne Mountains as your backdrop you’ll get to experience the wonderful artisan food and spectacular scenery of the area.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She enjoys getting out and exploring the fantastic adventures on offer across Northern Ireland.

Flying High Todds Leap Adventures (Part 1)

Posted on July 20, 2015 @ 4:39 PM in Adventure

What's your idea of a really great day out?! At OutdoorNI.com we are always on the look our for action packed activities on offer across Northern Ireland to help you plan "the best day out ever"! Whether you're in search of ideas for a hen, stag or birthday party or looking to make the most of a day off with your mates.

Our journey from Belfast began early on a sunny Friday morning as we jumped into the car to head down the M1 towards Todds Leap Activity Centre in Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone just over an hour’s drive from Belfast City Centre. We arrived to a warm welcome, delicious scones and a cup of tea the ideal fuel ahead of our action packed day of activities. It was here we met with our first instructor who gave us the rundown of what activities we would be having a go at during our day onsite.

Clay Pigeon Shooting Northern Ireland

First up was clay pigeon shooting an activity I can’t say I’ve had much experience of! The firing range looked out across the valley over a small forest of trees to give a brilliant setting and feeling of a real country shoot! Here our instructor talked us through the safety and how tos of handling the gun. Having made it sound easy enough I was quick to hit my first clay on my practice shot before a bit of competitive fun began. With two points up for grabs for those who hit the clay with their first shot and one point for hitting it with the second I quickly realised my first successful shot was more a case of beginners luck...even with some top tips throughout the session from Todds Leap's resident clay pigeon shooting expert.

Giant Swing Northern Ireland

At the end of the session we were met by another instructor who directed us uphill past the assault course and log cabin accommodation towards the ‘Giant Swing’ which we had been told was just like our old playground favourite (but bigger! much bigger!). Climbing into our harnesses and dividing into groups of 3 we cautiously made our way over to the instructors to be clipped into the swing. The floor soon moved away from our feet as we were slowly pulled up to what can only be described as a “knee trembling height”.

This activity puts you (or your friend) in control, as it's up to your when to pull the release to swing high out over the cliff edge...so make sure you choose your friends wisely! The freefall moment of the drop takes your breath away but soon the sound of “ahhhhh’s” is replaced with the sound of laughter! The “superhero” which sees you clipped onto the swing by the back of your harness was a favourite amongst us all as we struck our best superman poses for the camera during the freefall.

Drop Zone

Buzzing from the adrenaline of the Giant Swing we made our way back down towards the car park to have a go on the 'Drop Zone'. From the moment we parked the car at Todds Leap it was hard to miss the Drop Zone's high tower and ‘Big Air Bag’. The first purpose-built recreational free fall stunt jumping facility in Europe this is definitely not an activity for the weak kneed or faint hearted!

Running through the safety briefing with our instructors and with the promise of an epic photo to share on our Instagrams and Facebook later, we nervously followed our instructor up the stairs to the lower intermediate level platform to practice our ‘jump technique’. Having managed to land successfully three times we were allowed to make our way to the 30ft free fall platform. It takes nerves of steel to walk along the platform and make the jump from the tower but the thrill of flying through the air feeling like a stunt artist in an action movie was the only incentive we needed!!

And that was only until lunch time!

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our Todds Leap Adventure blog series where we share how we got on heading off-road (at speed!). 

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She enjoys getting out and exploring the fantastic adventures on offer across Northern Ireland.

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