Christmas Gift Ideas for Men 2014

Posted on November 18, 2014 @ 1:26 PM in Adventure

With so many fantastic gift experiences to choose from we’ve got Christmas wrapped up when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the men in your life, by selecting our top picks for the ultimate Christmas present.

With over 70 gift experiences for men available to buy from clay pigeon shooting and off- road driving to hovercrafting you won’t have any problems finding something exciting and memorable to give him this Christmas.  Gift Vouchers for him Northern Ireland

Segway Off-Road Experience, Segway NI, Portadown, Co. Armagh

Get ready to race along off-road tracks on two wheels! The ideal experience for those looking for some high speed fun as he navigates obstacles and learns how to successfully keep his balance on the downhill descents!

Wild Photography, Far & Wild, Various Locations

Get up close and personal with wild-life through the camera lens. Take a gentle hike with an expert through remote countryside in search of locations and wild-life sure to produce the most intriguing shots.

Clay Pigeon Shooting, The JungleNI, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry 

Whether he is a complete beginner or a seasoned professional this activity will have him blasting clays out of the skies in no time. This experience will include all equipment and expert instruction before stepping up to have a go for himself. 

The ‘Narrows’ Sea Safari Voyage, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford Lough, Co. Down

A high speed boat tour around the spectacular Strangford Lough taking in sights including; Clough Rocks Nature Reserve, Whirlpools and more! 

Christmas Gift Vouchers for Him

Fly 'N' Drive Combo, Foyle Hovercrafting and Leisure, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry

Experience the thrill of blasting over land and water at speed on a hovercraft, before racing around the track in his very own high speed powerturn buggy.

Surfing, Long Line Surf School & Troggs Surf School, North Coast 

Whether they are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro at catching a wave a surf lesson with one of Northern Ireland's top surf schools is a guaranteed great day out. Receive expert tuition to learn the basics or improve skills and build confidence out on the water.

Rathlin Sea Safari, Portrush Sea Tours, Portrush, North Coast

Enjoy a fantastic boat tour around the spectacular North Coast and Rathlin Island. Experience the North Coast from a whole new perspective as he takes in the sights of Rathlin Island from the sea as well as the Giant’s Causeway, the Skerries, the historic Dunluce Castle and much more!

Causeway Coast Sailing, Ballycastle, North Coast

Whether he wants to enjoy a full day or half day's sailing along the picturesque North Coast aboard a 24' yacht or learn the ropes with some hands on experience, he is sure to have a fantastic time. Departing from either Ballycastle Marina or Rathlin Island he may even decide to bring you as this voucher is for up to three people so he can bring family and friends along. 

Gift Vouchers for Him

Off-Road Driving Taster Experience, Todds Leap, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone

Conquer muddy climbs, drops and hazards along the 8 mile course before being taken back across a stage of the course at rally competition speed!

Mountain Bike & Kayak Rental Package, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan, Co. Down

Combine two activities to make for a great day out. Hit the trails on a mountain bike and explore some of the 27.5km of green, blue and red grade trails before heading out in a kayak or canoe for a relaxing paddle on the lake. 

Make sure you check out our Christmas Gift voucher section for even more fantastic Christmas gift ideas for him.

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!).

Bring Game of Thrones to life with an Outdoor Adventure

Posted on November 11, 2014 @ 10:34 AM in Adventure

Step into Winterfell at Castle Ward or sail past the Iron Island's in the North Coast. Whether you are planning on exploring the Game of Thrones film locations in Northern Ireland for yourself or looking to give the perfect experience gift voucher to a loved one, OutdoorNI.com has it covered as we list some of our top suggestions of the best outdoor activities to bring the epic fantasy of Game of Thrones to life. 

Set Sail for the Iron Island's

Game of Thrones

Head north and take a high speed voyage of discovery as you experience the sights of some of the most iconic Game of Thrones film locations from the sea with Aquaholics on their Causeway Coast Sea Safari.

Departing from Portstewart harbour visit key locations including: Cushendun Caves (The Stormlands), Ballyintoy Harbour (Phyke, The Iron Islands), Carrick-a-Rede (The Stormlands, Larrybane), Downhill Beach (Drgonstone) and Murlough Bay (Storm’s End). 

Gift Vouchers for this activity can be purchased online at OutdoorNI: http://bit.ly/1pM1iim

Step into Winterfell

Game of Thrones

Get into character and transport yourself back into the world of Westeros with Clearsky Adventure Centre based in Castle Ward, Co. Down.

Begin your day with the Game of Thrones Archery Experience, where you will be kitted out in Stark Family Costumes and prepare yourself to enter Winterfell for the first time and experience the feeling of being on your very own movie set. It is here you will receive instruction from your archery instructor as you shoot medieval arrows with ancient bows.

After your archery lesson hire a bike (or bring your own) and take some time out exploring the grounds. The self-guided Game of Thrones Cycle Tour takes you to where many pivotal Game of Throne’s scenes took place, including ‘Winterfell’, ‘King Roberts Arrival’, ‘The Twins’, ‘Robb’s Camp’ and the ‘Lannister Camp’ to name but a few. To ensure you have great fun out in the wilds of Westeros you will be given a Game of Thrones ‘Stark Sack’. Enclosed you will find a ‘Medieval Scroll’ of the Filming Locations map (you can keep this as a memento!) plus some supporting images and text from each filming location, Game of Thrones Stark Family Costume Capes and Game of Thrones Stark Family ‘LARP swords’.

For the ultimate Game of Thrones outdoor adventure see the sights from the sea during your own private Castles of Westeros Boat Tour. The tour is a must for all Game of Thrones fans as you are sure to enjoy stunning views from the water of the various Westeros Castles, cross the mouth of Strangford Lough Aka ‘The Narrow Sea’ and other shoreline locations used by HBO in the filming of the show.

Gift Vouchers for these activities can be purchased online at OutdoorNI: http://bit.ly/1tBTgTW

Join the Night's Watch

Game of Thrones Adventures

Wrap up warm and join the Night’s Watch in Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle, Co. Down

Featured in the first episode of Season 1 you might remember this haunting forest from the scene in which a member of the Night’s Watch rides through the snowy forest and stumbles upon Wildling bodies. This romantic and yet haunting forest is home to trees, woodlands, streams grottos and caves as well as offering panoramic views of the sea at nearby Newcastle.

With its far reaching views, stunning landscapes and authentic medieval buildings you don’t have to travel far in Northern Ireland to see why HBO film location scouts chose Northern Ireland as the perfect place to film Game of Thrones. 

The tours and activities mentioned above are independantly operated by Clearsky Adventure Centre & Aquaholics Sea Safari and Dive Centre. They are not sponsored, endorsed, or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with 'Game of Thrones'

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!).

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!

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