Posted on May 13, 2013 @ 3:17 PM in
OutdoorNI’s Sarah Nelson spent a morning horse trekking at Sheans Horse Farm. Here’s how she got on…
Helping to fulfil the stereotypical view that all little girls love ponies I went to horse riding lessons as a child however those days are now long gone and apart from one brief hack many years ago I hadn’t been on a horse since. So with my visit to Sheans Horse Farm booked it was safe to say I was very much looking forward to quite literally getting back in the saddle. Situated just outside Armoy, Sheans Horse Farm is a riding school and trekking centre on the 400 acre McKinley family farm in the hills of North Antrim.
Not wanting to miss out, Beverley our seasoned horse riding pro from the office came along too. Beverley took up horse riding 4 years ago so was definitely more skilled than me however our differing abilities weren’t a problem as on arrival our instructor Maggie made sure to find out our individual capabilities and what we would feel comfortable doing.
While Beverley had come prepared with all the gear I was in need of being suited and booted up which thankfully wasn’t a problem as there was a big stock of riding boots and helmets available. After this it wasn’t long before Maggie introduced us to our chaperones for the morning; Archie and Phillip, our two very handsome…. horses! All tacked up and ready to go we wasted no time in getting started. Thankfully for 5 foot nothing people like me there were steps to easily mount the horses to help avoid any undignified clambering (that would be saved for the dismount!)
Having discussed our abilities at the start it was then time for Maggie to see how we were able to handle the horses which for me meant a trot around the sand school to refresh my memory. It was great to be able to build my confidence on the horse within the school before heading out on the trek.
Maggie and Shan then joined us on Pepsi and Trim, and explained what we would be doing before we headed off. I felt very confident on Archie and it didn’t take me long to realise he was my kind of horse - willing to do what I wanted when prompted but not willing to put any unnecessary extra effort in! Which meant he went at the perfect pace for me.
The trails started right from the stable yard so there was no need to go anywhere near a road as we began our off-road hack into the beautiful North Antrim Hills. With countryside stretching as far as the eye could see I could tell this was going to be a great experience. With nothing but the hooves to hear on the ground (and of course our occasional chatter) it was a very peaceful way to start our morning.
Although I would have been happy enough riding along with not a care in the world, Maggie really made it interesting for us by getting us to go up mounds and hills, learning to lean forward and back to help navigate the horse. We even travelled up through rivers with the horses drinking from the streams - I felt like I was on the set of Game of Thrones!
With green grass continuing for miles in the distance it really did feel like we were riding the horses in the perfect environment which was only emphasised further when we past the farms other horses frolicking freely in the fields before galloping past us on their way to be fed.
We continued up hill, walking and trotting before Beverley and Maggie went on ahead so they could have a go at cantering whilst Shan took me for a trot. The views were amazing the whole way up and seeing them from the height of the horse (plus the fact we didn’t have to walk uphill) made it even better! At the top, thanks to the sun splitting the skies we had stunning, uninterrupted views as far as Lough Foyle and the Sperrin mountains, Inishowen and even as far as Malin Head in Donegal. Evidence of the traditional hand turf cutting that takes place at the farm could also be seen at the top of the hill. After a lot of ‘ohhing’ and ‘ahhing’ at the views we began to make our way back down to the stable yard again having some fun trotting and cantering along the way. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to our new four legged friends – however going by how much fun we both had I think it is safe to say we will be seeing them again!
Sheans Horse Farm
38 Coolkeeran Rd,
£25 for a 1 ½ hour trek
Gift Vouchers Now Available!
Posted on April 29, 2013 @ 11:08 AM in
It’s not often everyone gets a long weekend away from work so make sure you make the most of the three day weekend by spending some quality time with the family or having a laugh with your mates in the great outdoors this May Bank Holiday Weekend.
Here is just some of what Northern Ireland’s great outdoors has to offer over the 4th-6th May 2013...
There are plenty of options when it comes to family activities happening in Northern Ireland over the bank holiday weekend, here are just a few of our favourites:
Bank Holiday Family Fun Day, Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry, 6th May
Enjoy some quality time with the family at the Jungle NI as they celebrate the bank holiday with an exciting array of adventure activities. From archery to karting, segways to climbing walls and body zorbs to llama trekking there are loads of activities happening from just £3pp and suitable for children as young as 5 years.
Surfing, Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, Co. Londonderry, 4th-6th May
Join in on the fun on the Family Surfing Day on the 5th May or drop the kids off and let them have an adventure with children their own age on the Kids Surf Camp running from 4th-6th May. Created solely for families, the family surfing day is a great way to try something new together and with Long Line providing all equipment you won’t even have to worry about packing up the car simply head to the beach and get ready to have some fun! Alternatively leave the kids to have fun on the beach while you go away and relax for a couple of hours knowing they’re in safe hands on the kids surf camp - an experience the children will remember forever!
May Day Activity Shindig, Action Outdoors, Delamont Country Park, Co. Down, 6th May
Based in Delamont Country Park, on the edge of the stunning Strangford Lough, Action Outdoors is offering 5 great activities including canoeing, kayaking, climbing, archery and grass sledging. Can’t decide which one to do? At such great value you’ll be able to have a go at them all!
Strangford Sea Safari, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford Lough, Co. Down, 5th May
Hop aboard Clearsky’s Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) for an exhilarating sightseeing boat tour of Strangford Lough. See the Angus Rocks Lighthouse, the SeaGen (world's first tidal turbine) and some of the many seals at Cloughy Rocks Nature Reserve. If you’re lucky you might even get to see a pod of porpoises or even a Basking Shark!
Binevenagh Activity Weekend, Benone Complex, Co. Londonderry, 4th- 6th May
With loads of activities from hovercrafting to surfing and horse riding to kayaking being offered for discount prices Benone will be the place to be when it comes to adventure over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Sessions will run in the morning and afternoon with a shuttle bus taking everyone from the hub at Benone Complex to a whole host of different adventures. Make sure to pack a picnic!
For the thrill seekers out there if you want to get your adrenaline pumping this May Bank Holiday then Northern Ireland is the place to be! Check out the events section for a full list of adventures, here are just a few to provide you with some inspiration:
20 % Off Rock Climbing & Coasteering, Teambuild Ireland, North Coast, 4th & 5th May
If you want to get your heart racing then Teambuild Ireland can sort you out. They are hosting an action packed day with rock climbing and abseiling in the morning followed by a wet and wild coasteering session in the afternoon. Test your limits and over come your fears scaling new heights before jumping off the cliffs of the rugged north coast...and the best part is they are offering 20% off!
Segway NI Titanic Tour, Belfast, Co. Antrim, All Weekend
Guaranteed to be the most exciting sightseeing tour you will ever experience. Visit where the famous Titanic was built and discover its fascinating history all whilst gliding along on your very own Segway! The tour will visit all the key sites of the famous ship's history including the Titanic Dock and Pump House.
Barnett Demsene Trails & Jumps Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim, All Weekend
The long weekend is the perfect chance to try out the newly opened Barnett Demsene Mountain Bike Trails. With 3.4km green trail and a 3.9km blue trail with 3 red loop options (1.5km) there is something for everyone, from novices to experts, to try for free. If you’re feeling daring then you can pay a visit to Ireland’s first official dirt jumps park under the shadow of the Mary Peters Track.
Davagh Forest Trails, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, All Weekend
Located approximately 6 miles north west of Cookstown, Davagh Forest offers gentle mountain biking and walking trails as well as an impressive 16km red trail with some rock slab drops you will never forget! Starting on wide forest roads, the green trail is the perfect way to get to know your mountain bike and get a feel for riding off-road trails in a forest environment whereas the exhilarating red trail offers heart-racing singletrack, berms, rock drops and extreme slab features for the more experienced to try.
Experience Canoeing, Teambuild Ireland, Lough Neagh, 4th May
Take to the largest body of fresh water in Ireland and have a go at canoeing. This session is aimed at those who want to try canoeing in a safe environment with qualified staff. No previous experience is necessary and all "the basics" will be taught as you go, making it perfect for trying something new over the May Bank Holiday Weekend.
Have a great May bank holiday weekend 2013!
Posted on March 25, 2013 @ 5:58 PM in
It mightn’t be the best weather we’ve ever had at Easter but that doesn’t mean you have to hide away indoors! There are loads of fantastic family events happening over the Easter period and with the activity providers providing everything you need to have a good time there’s no excuse for not getting outside and having some family fun.
Don’t let the weather dampen your spirits this Easter, get the kids out of the house and book onto an Easter Family Adventure. Whether you want to get stuck in with the kids or leave them to it with friends their own age – here are just a few of the many activities happening over the Easter break:
Easter Picnic Boat Trip to Angus Rock Lighthouse, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford, Co. Down, 30th March & 2nd April
Departing Strangford Village, travel up the lough through the ‘Narrows’ to Angus Rock Lighthouse on Clearksky’s Sea Safari. After tying up the boat on the ancient quay there will be time get out and explore this stunning location rich in wildlife with fantastic views across to the Isle of Man and the Lake District. What better place to sit and enjoy a picnic?!
£15 Surfing Lessons, Alive Surf School, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 1st April
Who says the kids should get to have all the fun?! Join in with them and see who can stand up first and ride the waves into the shore. Alive Surf School is offering 2 hour surf lessons including all equipment and a free snack and drink for just £15 when you quote ‘OutdoorNI.com’ when booking.
Easter Activity Madness, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, Co. Londonderry, 29th March, 1st, 2nd, 5th & 6th April
With climbing, zip line, archery and kayaking sessions available you will have no problem filling up the weekend. The kids are sure to be left screaming for more just as well then that Carrowmena are offering buy 2 full days, get 1 free. Suitable for ages 6 and up.
Bay to Bay Sea Tour, Portrush Sea Tours, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 30th & 31st March, 1st, 3rd & 4th April
Enjoy the memorable experience of seeing our beautiful coastline from the sea. Witness the glorious sandy beaches of Portrush as you zoom across the water and experience the North Coast like never before as you take in the glorious sights of Ramore Head, the Skerries, Dunluce Castle and Island Doo. This is one sightseeing trip that will definitely not leave the kids bored.
Kids Surf Camp, Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, Co. Londonderry, 30th March – 7th April
Surfing, beach games, safety and an experience the children will remember forever! Leave the kids to have fun on the beach while you go away and relax for a couple of hours knowing they’re in safe hands. Add into the mix a special kids Easter egg surf hunt on the 1st April and a whole day of fun on the beach with the kids big day out on the 5th April and you’ll have no problem keeping them amused over the break.
Easter Eggstravaganza, Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry, 1st & 2nd April
If you’re in search of some spring time fun then look no further than the JungleNI where a fun packed and affordable family fun day of events awaits with activities starting from just £3. Race to the top of the climbing wall, try to hit the bullseye in their paintball and archery target ranges, or try out a spot of body zorbing, take a boat ride and of course hunt for some easter eggs.
Easter Activity Shindig, Action Outdoors, Delamont Country Park, Co. Down, 1st April
Canoe or kayak on Strangford Lough, see who can climb the highest on the outdoor climbing wall, have a go at archery or try out grass sledging. For just £3pp per activity these great value activities are not to be missed!
Kids Easter Adventure Camp, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward, Co. Down, 3rd – 5th April
Set in the grounds of the stunning Castle Ward Estate this easter adventure camp promises to send the kids back tired! Activities range from climbing and bouldering to canoeing and archery and are suitable for 8-15 year olds. Don’t panic if you don’t have time to drop them off, Clearsky are running a free shuttle bus service from Newcastle, Strangford and Downpatrick each day – we have a feeling this is one bus they won’t be late for in the morning!
Easter Kids Camp, Portrush, Troggs Surf School, Co. Antrim, 6th – 7th April
Relax and chill out while the kids hit the waves, learn how to surf and meet new friends at The Troggs Quicksilver Kids Surf Camp. No experience is necessary and video footage of the surfing is included so everyone can relive the fun. An exciting, friendly and fully supervised learning experience - the kids are sure to be talking about it for ages!
Make sure to check out OutdoorNI.com for even more family fun for you and the kids this Easter.
Posted on March 15, 2013 @ 9:23 AM in
Due to adverse weather conditions some events over Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend have unfortunately had to be postponed or cancelled. Check out OutdoorNI.com News for more details.
You’re never too young to have an adventure that’s why as part of Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend £10 and half price outdoor activities are being offered for children as young as 3.
On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March you can take part in an affordable adventure that the whole family can enjoy. But if you think you’re just going to have to sit back and watch the kids have all the fun think again... all the events have been created so everyone can take part together, both the kids and the kids at heart!
With all activities taken by fully qualified instructors and offered for a fraction of the normal price it’s time to get outside with the kids and have a hassle free and most importantly affordable adventure. The only question now is which activity to choose….?!
Family Canoeing, Mobile Team Adventure, Belfast, Sat 23rd & Sun 24th March, £10pp
Designed for ages 4 and up this event is perfect for both kids and families to have some fun on the water. Enjoy a paddle with experienced and friendly instructors in the middle of the stunning Lagan Valley Regional Park only minutes from Belfast City Centre.
Family Adventure Activities, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, Sun 24th March £10pp
Enjoy an afternoon of adventurous activities together. Zoom down the zipline, aim for the bull’s-eye in archery, race to the top of the climbing wall and take part in some fun team games together! Suitable for children 6 and up.
Rathlin Island Sea Tour, Portrush Sea Tours, Ballycastle Marina, Sat 23rd & Sun 24th March, £20pp
Forget the ferry; this high speed boat will add some excitement to a trip to Rathlin. See the stunning sights of the North Coast by sea as your skipper takes you to Rathlin where you will see the famous bird sanctuary and West Lighthouse before getting off to explore the island and zooming across the waters back to Ballycastle. No minimum age.
Family Surf Session, Long line Surf School, Benone Beach, Sat 23rd & Sun 24th March, £10pp
Jump into a wetsuit and grab a surf board to experience a thrill the whole family can enjoy. A surf lesson aimed at all ages (from 6yrs old) to learn the skills and techniques needed to ride the waves on one of the best beaches in Northern Ireland.
Family Canoe Session, Four Elements Adventure, Gortin Lakes, Sat 23rd March, £10pp
Take to the water at Gortin Lakes for a fun filled family canoeing session whilst learning the basic skills and techniques with fun games to build you and your family's confidence on the water. This session is great for the wee ones as kids from as young as 4yrs old can take part.
Kids Tree Top Adventure Course, The Jungle NI, Moneymore, 24th March, £10pp
Specifically designed for children aged 5 to 11 years, (minimum height 1 metre) this is an obstacle course with a difference. Your little ones will be harnessed up by friendly, fully trained staff and, after a safety briefing, they will be set free to roam the trees, with the opportunity to test their skills of monkeying around!
Llama Trekking, The Jungle NI, Moneymore, Sun 24th March, £20 for a family of 4
A family day out with a difference - take an exciting trek through a enchanted woodland in search of some mystical treasure from a bygone era with a friendly Llama as your scavenging companion. Suitable for any kids able to walk along beside the Llama.
Kids Pony Lesson, Laurel View Equestrian Centre, Templepatrick, Sat 23rd March, £10pp
Has your child always wanted to get on a horse? Now is their chance. They can enjoy a lead rein lesson especially for kids from 6yrs and up. Mum and dad can join in on the fun too by getting involved with the leading.
Family Frollicks, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward, Sun 24th March, £10
Suitable for ages 4 and up, have a blast with the family and enjoy some quality time together. Take part in three fun-packed activities everyone can enjoy including archery, orienteering and crate stack climbing. Afterwards why not enjoy a picnic in the grounds of the Castle Ward Estate?
Family Canoeing & Pier Jumping Session, Action Outdoors, Delamont Country Park, Sat 23rd March, £10pp
Using a variety of boats - Canadian canoes and sit-on-top kayaks that are easy and fun to paddle, experienced instructors will show you a few of the basic strokes before heading off for a paddle under the watchful eye of St Patrick towards the Quoile Barrier. Look out for the seals as you make your way to the pier for a fun jump into the sea! Suitable for 6yrs and over.
Strangford Sea Safari Whirlpool Special, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward Demesne, Sun 24th March, £10pp
For all ages from 3 to 103, an exhilarating sightseeing boat tour of Strangford Lough. See the SeaGen, Angus Rocks Lighthouse and some of the many seals at Cloughy Rocks Nature Reserve. This trip is run at the best time of day to see The Narrows' unusual natural phenomenon - the surface whirlpools! See them spin as the tide rushes through. You might get to see a pod of porpoises or even a Basking Shark! An excellent trip available to anyone, young or old, which never fails to please.
Family Wet Bouldering, Outdoor Concepts, Bloody Bridge, 23rd March, £10pp
Wet bouldering is all about the water – make your way up a river, jump into pools and climb up waterfalls on this wet and wild experience all under the supervision of fully qualified instructors. This is one experience the kids (from 6yrs) won’t forget!
Check out the Northern Ireland Adventureland Website for even more great family activities happening over the weekend.
Posted on March 7, 2013 @ 4:12 PM in
Due to adverse weather conditions some events over Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend have unfortunately had to be postponed or cancelled. Check out OutdoorNI.com News for more details.
Inject some excitement into your life and get your mates together for the ultimate day out. For one weekend only on Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March Northern Ireland is being transformed into an action packed adventureland.
With events for just £10 and a massive 50% off normal prices this is the perfect time to try something completely different, thrilling and fun with your friends - all for a fraction of the normal price. No experience is necessary for any of the events – just a sense of adventure! You don’t need a big group of people or lots of organisation, simply choose from one of the many activities on offer and book online.
Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush on land or water there are loads of activities to choose from. Get away with your mates and have a laugh with them (or at them!) as you discover what Northern Ireland has to offer when it comes to outdoor adventure.
Here are just a few of the adrenaline pumping activities you could be enjoying over the Northern Ireland Adventureland weekend:
Overnight Wilderness Canoe Trip, Outdoor Concepts, Strangford Lough, 23rd-24th March £50pp
If you want to get out of the rat race, get away from it all for a couple of days, meet new people and enjoy a simply stunning part of Northern Ireland - then this trip is for you! Led by highly skilled, experienced and fully qualified instructors you will begin your adventure on the water before spending a night underneath the stars on Salt Island.
Coasteering, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward Demesne, 23rd & 24th March, £25pp
Not one for the fainthearted coasteering involves walking, scrambling, jumping, swimming and sometimes crawling along the coast. Get your heart racing whilst traversing the stunning Ballyhornan coastline. Scramble over rocks, launch yourself off sea cliffs into the Irish Sea and discover hidden caves as you test your nerves against your mates and have a laugh. Jumps are not obligatory – but they are a lot of fun!
Sailing & Powerboat Rides, Ocean Youth Trust Ireland, Titanic Quarter, 23rd & 24th March, £10pp
Learn how to sail in the city with the impressive Titanic building as your backdrop. In small groups you’ll get the chance to have some hands on experience sailing before taking it up a notch behind the wheel of your very own powerboat.
Surf Kayaking North Coast, Xplore Outdoors, Portrush East Strand, 23rd &24th March, £12.50pp
Evolving from both kayaking and surfing, surf kayaking provides the ultimate adventurous activity. The session is tailored for both complete beginners and novice paddlers providing you with the perfect opportunity to try out this ever growing sport. Take to the waves on one of Portrush’s stunning beaches for what is sure to be a wet and wild session.
Surfing With Your Mates, Alive Surf School, Portrush West Strand, 23rd & 24th March, £10pp
Possibly two hours of the best fun you and your mates will have this year. Let the pros teach you how to tackle the waves of the North Coast and see who can stay up the longest (and look the coolest!). All surfing equipment including wetsuits is provided so all you have to worry about is turning up.
Max Combat for Adults, Foyle Hovercrafting and Leisure, Limavady, 23rd &24th March, £10pp
This 2 hour hi-tech laser combat session will involve several different games on a choice of purpose -built battlefields, complete with bunkers, trench systems and gun emplacements. Separate your friends from your enemies and get ready to do battle with full replica weapons, jackets and power packs recording individual and team scores.
Rally Driving Experience, Superdrive Motorsports Centre, Portadown, 23rd & 24th March, £35pp
Take to the wheel of your very own rally car, learn how to drift around corners and handbrake at exciting hairpins before putting your foot down and releasing your inner speed demon. An instructor will be in the passenger seat at all times to ensure you get the most out of your time on the track.
Segway Skills & Speed Course, Segway NI, Tannaghmore Gardens, Craigavon, 23rd March, £15pp
Pilot your very own Segway and test your skills before going on an off road challenge all whilst competing against your friends for glory and prizes. See who is the best at manoeuvring the obstacles on these unique two wheeled machines before heading off on an off road challenge.
Half Day Half Price Canoe / Sit on Top Kayak Rental, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan Forest Park, 24th March, £17.50
This fantastic canoe or sit on top kayak rental offer allows you to create your own adventure on the water. With 2 paddles and 2 buoyancy aids included in the price you and a friend can have double the fun exploring the stunning Castlewellan Forest Park Lake. Dedicated instructors will be on hand at the start to introduce you to your equipment before setting off on your adventure.
Adrenaline Playzone, Todds Leap, Ballygawley, 24th March, £20pp
Experience pulsating action on Todds Leap's most extreme outdoor activities – take a giant leap of faith at their Drop Zone, zoom down a 500 metre zip line and finish with a white knuckle, high speed hill rally! This is a fast paced day out like no other.
Zorbing, The Jungle NI, Moneymore, 24th March, £10pp
Picture yourself inside a massive inflatable ball (approx 3 meters in height) hurtling at high speed down a hill face...and get ready for an adrenaline packed ride of your life. Never has the phrase ‘that’s how I roll’ been more apt!
With too many great events happening to mention make sure you check out the Northern Ireland Adventureland Website for a full list of what’s on offer. Places will sell out fast so book your place now and let the adventure begin…!