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5 Reasons You'll Love Wild Adventure Weekend!

Posted on April 3, 2019 @ 3:45 PM in Local Outdoors

Mid Ulster's Wild Adventure Weekend will take place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April, all across Mid Ulster. If you haven't heard about it yet, we've listed some of the reasons to get excited for it below!

 

1.       Most of the events are free or at a reduced cost

We all love a good deal. In fact the only thing we love more than a good deal is a freebie! And Wild Adventure Weekend has plenty of both. Some of the free events include bike hire at Davagh Forest MTB Trails, the Angling Taster Experience, Canoe Taster Sessions at Ballyronan Marina, Golf Taster Sessions at Tobermore Golf Centre and any of the countless walking trails available.

Mid Ulster is home to some of the most stunning walking trails in Northern Ireland

There are also deals on events such as Zip Trekking at Todd’s Leap (50% off), Airsoft at Torrent Warfare (reduced to £15pp), MTB Hire at Blessingbourne Estate and a range of activities at The Jungle NI.

 

2.       Events for everyone!

It can be difficult to run an event that fits everyone’s taste. Some events are suitable mostly for the children (such as the Kids Tree Top Adventure at the Jungle NI); others are ideal for people looking for a relaxing and social experience – and others still for people looking to get their next adrenaline kick.

This is one event not suitable for people looking for a relaxing activity

Wild Adventure Weekend however accommodates everyone. Hill walkers can find something to love, whether they’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro. Adrenaline junkies meanwhile have plenty to keep themselves entertained, whether that’s at Portglenone Paddler’s Introduction to Canoeing and Kayaking, or a Tree Top Adventure with the kids at The Jungle NI.

 

3.       Events are taking place all across Mid Ulster

With so many activities taking place over Wild Adventure Weekend (nearly 40!) the great thing is that nobody will have to travel too far to enjoy an event. One of the benefits of being at the centre of Northern Ireland!

Blessingbourne Estate has beautiful grounds for exploring

Those living in Fermanagh will have events at Blessingbourne Estate at their doorstep, while people travelling from Omagh have the likes of Todd’s Leap and Davagh Forest close by. Coming from the North Coast, your first port of call could be the popular Eagle’s Rock Trail at Moydamlaght Forest or possibly 9 holes and an introductory golf lesson with a PGA pro at Tobermore Golf Centre.

 

4.       Meet new people and make friends

Many of the weekend’s activities are social, whether for yourself or the kids. Events such as the Breagh Tours Low Level Walk will see people from all over coming together to explore the stunning Goles Valley in the Sperrins, with expert tour guide Brendan Adams. For those who fancy something a bit more uptempo, nothing bands together a group of people as quickly as modern urban warfare in the form of Airsoft, which you can try out at Torrent Airsoft’s day of fun.

Airsoft has become an increasingly popular alternative to paintballing

 

5.       Supporting local clubs and businesses

We can often be tempted to look abroad for an adventure; but allow yourself to be surprised by Northern Ireland and explore what your local community has to offer. Local groups such as the Portglenone Paddlers (and plenty of others) run events entirely organised by volunteers, while larger businesses help to attract tourism and bring increased spending to Northern Ireland.

Staff can also provide some reassurance when needed!

 

You can find all the information for Mid Ulster's Wild Adventure Weekend here. Don't forget to book early onto any events that require it, as well as use the #WildAdventureWeekend and #HowFarWillYouGo!

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Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Meet the Sponsor: Decathlon, Belfast

Posted on December 18, 2018 @ 11:34 AM in CyclingLocal Outdoors

In the first of a series of upcoming interviews with our event sponsors, we sit down with the main event sponsor of the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive – Decathlon Belfast. These interviews are intended to help put a ‘face’ to the often-corporate branding, so that our participants know about the strong connection our sponsors have to cycling and the Sportive World.

For Week 1, we sat down with Lee Aston, Belfast Cycles Department Manager from the store.

 

Hi Lee, thanks for speaking to us! Would you mind telling us a bit about your role at Decathlon?

Hi Ethan. So, my role in Decathlon Belfast is that of the Cycles Department Manager. I've been working in the Belfast store for over 2 years now and have a keen interest in most forms of cycling, mostly road and MTB. My role varies from day to day - one day I could be building the countless number of bikes we get into store on a daily basis (especially now at Christmas time when building and selling never stops) or it could be dealing with customers wanting a cycle scheme which is run through their work place and helping them find the perfect bike. I also help out with the different store events we have and sometimes get to take part in them myself. So yeah, my day to day is never really the same if I'm honest.

Some of Decathlon Belfast's impressive cycling stock

 

Sounds ideal for knowing about all things to do with a Sportive! What impressed yourselves about the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive / prompted you to get involved with it?

What doesn't impress me is the better question! After taking part in the event last year, all be it a bit wet at the start, it was easy to see why it is so popular. The location, the people, how it's set up and the excellent food stops and service stations along the way make it extremely appealing to us as a store. In store we have a large range of road bikes which suit a lot of those who take part in sportives and there is no better way to let people know we have these bikes than sponsor this massive event and spread the brand to all those who take part.

 

Decathlon Belfast are offering an Early Bird Offer – could you tell us a bit about it?

The Early Bird Offer consists of a brake and gear adjustment and a tyre and bolt check. Perfect to get the competitors bikes in tip top shape for whichever of the 4 routes they decide to take on. 

 

What else might people be interested in picking up when they call in store?

Within Decathlon Belfast we have over 70 different sports under one roof, from cycling to hiking to horse riding; we cover all areas. While customers are in buying their cycling essentials for the event like energy gels, co2 canisters and tool kits they may be able to try out a new sport they have never thought about previously. As our moto goes, ‘Decathlon makes sport accessible for the many.’ 

If you're stocking up on your gels, co2 cannisters or multi-tools, Decathlon is the place to go.

 

Have you taken part in the event yourself? If so, what was your favourite part?

Yes I took part in the event last year for the first time. I did the 35mile route and it was outstanding. My favourite part of it was the coast road going towards Bushmills as the views were just excellent (especially once the rain stopped!)

 

One of our photographer's snapped Lee during his route! 

 

Finally, Decathlon Belfast are also providing mechanical support at next year’s event. What does this involve for yourselves?

This will involve myself and the team helping fix punctures, provide gear tune ups and bolt checks along with any other quick fixes we can do there and then to help competitors. We will be on the road in 3 different vehicles along with our support at the event HQ, so nobody has to worry if you get stuck half way round!

 

     

You'll see plenty of Decathlon vans on the day as they respond to any problems riders may have on the course.

 

Thanks for speaking to us Lee! People can find the Decathlon Belfast store on Facebook.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Watersports Clubs open their doors for Flow

Posted on April 28, 2016 @ 12:21 PM in AdventureCanoeingBeachesLocal Outdoors

Over 20 watersport clubs are opening up their doors and offering local people the opportunity to take part in a range of taster events as part of a new initiative called Flow.

Over the weekend of 14th & 15th May participants will be able to try their hand at canoeing, sailing, water-skiing, wakeboarding, kite surfing, rowing, angling, stand up paddle boarding and diving for as little as £10 or less!

To give you a flavour of what’s happening over the weekend we’ve selected some of our favourite events!

Flow Blog Collage Image

Give Rowing a Try - £2pp
City of Derry Boating Club, Londonderry, 14th & 15th May

Enjoy an introductory rowing session on the River Foyle and be part of a crew learning new skills.

Juniors Try Canoe Polo - £3pp
Belfast Kayak Academy, Belfast, 14th May

Have a go in a kayak on the water and play a game of canoe polo. This will be a fun intro session into a great sport at a state of the art canoe polo facility in Belfast.

Team Selection Trial for Skiffie World Championships - £3pp
Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club, Dundrum, 14th & 15th May

Once in a lifetime opportunity for beginners to compete for a place in the selection squad going to the Skiffie World Championships on home waters on Strangford Lough from 25th – 30th July.

Try Sailing or Kayaking – FREE
County Antrim Yacht Club, Whitehead, 14th May

County Antrim Yacht Club are holding an afternoon of taster sessions from 1.30pm - 5pm for beginners to have a go!

Try Rowing with Lagan Scullers Club - £5pp
Lagan Scullers Club, Belfast, 14th & 15th May

See Belfast from the river and feel the sleek boat glide through the water underneath you as you learn to row.

This is just a taster of what will take place during the weekend of 14th & 15th May. For information on how to book and to see what other events and activities that are taking place visit FlowNI.com

Latest comment posted by Athens Coast on December 30, 2016 @ 12:51 PM

Thanks for sharing this post. It's good news for local people for enjoying watersport clubs. Read more >

Beverley Magowan
Beverley Magowan  Senior Marketing Officer

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

Must Try Watersports for £10 or Less!

Posted on April 14, 2016 @ 12:54 PM in AdventureCanoeingBeachesLocal Outdoors

Over the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May there will be over 20 watersport clubs based all over Northern Ireland offering local people an opportunity to ‘Have a Go’ in a range of watersports for as little as £10 or less!

With no previous experience necessary and taster events in canoeing, sailing, water skiing, wake boarding, rowing, angling, stand up paddle boarding and diving there has never been a better time to get on the water and get wet!

Flow

Here are just a few of the thrilling activities you could be experiencing:

'Push the Boat Out' Sailing Taster - FREE
Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club, Cushendall, 14th May
Sailing has everything, from being a sociable relaxing experience to a high adrenaline, high action sport. Experience the adrenaline buzz of skimming across the water in a small dinghy or be part of a team in a larger keelboat. Come and ‘have a go’ at Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club for free!

Learn to Paddle your own Canoe - £3pp
Broighter Paddlers Canoe Club, Strathfoyle, 14th May
Learn the fundamentals of how to paddle a canoe and then give the rapidly growing team sport of canoe polo a go in this fun introductory session. A women’s only session is also available from 3pm - 4.30pm, subject to demand.

Discover Kitesurfing on the Beach - £10pp
Irish Kite Surfing Association, Tyrella Beach, 14th & 15th May
Let’s go fly a kite on an introductory session led by qualified kite surfing instructors on dry land. This event will take place on Tyrella Beach and is designed to elevate you into kite surfing! On the day you will be taken through a range of skills and techniques to get you launching your own kite.

Introduction to Fly Fishing for Women – FREE
Irish Ladies Fly Fishing Association, Ballyclare, 14th May
Angling is a male dominated sport but this all-day taster event will give women the chance to find out what it's all about. Taking place at Straid Fishery which is a 20 acre lake, participants will benefit from the presence of some of the 2016 International Ladies Fly Fishing Team being on hand to guide participants.

Row the Lagan – £5pp
Lagan Currachs, Belfast, 14th & 15th May
Enjoy a leisurely row on a traditional wooden boat on the River Lagan finished off with a visit to 'T13' in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast where you will get a guided tour of the build of a 33ft 10 man currach rowing boat.

Learn to Waterski/Wakeboard with the Experts - £10pp
Meteor Water Ski Club, The Temple, 14th & 15th May
Have a go and experience this exhilarating water sport with encouraging instruction given at all times to ensure success.

Stand Up Paddling Taster for Beginners - £5pp
Erne Paddlers, Enniskillen, 14th & 15th May
Take in the scenery around Lough Erne as you try your hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding with Erne Paddlers. This is a fast growing paddle sport providing a great fun core work out with the possibility of getting wet!

These taster events are being offered as part of a wider campaign called ‘Flow – Get into Watersports’. This campaign is an ideal way for those with no background in watersports to learn the basics under the watchful eye of qualified instructors through taking part in one of the many taster events. These taster events will be followed closely by a series of training programmes for those looking to continue in their chosen sport.

With too many to mention make sure to visit FlowNI.com for a full list of the events on offer in your local area.

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Beverley Magowan
Beverley Magowan  Senior Marketing Officer

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

Kids Go Wild for Nature Play

Posted on April 30, 2015 @ 3:43 PM in AdventureLocal Outdoors

Adventurous and fun loving mum Gail headed to the brand new Nature Play areas in Tollymore and Castlewellan Forest Park for a fun family day out with the kids.  Here’s how they got on…

Nature Play

Along with hundreds of other families we visited Tollymore and Castlewellan Forest Parks on Easter Sunday as part of a stay in nearby Newcastle, Co. Down.  The play structures in both forest parks certainly added an extra dimension for our little outdoor enthusiasts, Joshua (7) and Adam (5).  Not your typical play parks, made by natural materials they fit in well with the surroundings.

‘Big Deer’ a Big Hit at Tollymore Forest Park

We visited ‘Big Deer’ in Tollymore and the boys were amazed at the size of the structure. After walking through the archway into the park area you see a huge, wooden deer in front of a wooden fairy-tale castle with towers and bridges.  My boys, being the seasoned-tree climbers they are, made straight for the highest points finding different ways to climb up each time.  There are bridges, poles, ropes, stairs and climbing walls inside the towers, a slide and swing along with balancing logs - plenty to keep the kiddies occupied during a picnic at the deer-shaped picnic tables or, as we did, after a walk up the river to the Stepping Stones  .  There are beautiful carvings of animals and plants to decorate the wooden structure and stimulate young imaginations.  The play structure is set in a large, enclosed area making it safe and also providing plenty of space to run around.  Adam loved the fact that it was all made from wood and thought the big deer was ‘awesome’.  Joshua really liked the woodcarvings and the secret door which took him up the tower.

Tollymore Nature Play

Wonderment at ‘Animal Wood’ in Castlewellan

After a fun 30 minutes finding our way through the Maze at Castlewellan we found the play area, ‘Animal Wood’ tucked into the woodland above the Maze.  From this area there are stunning views towards the Mourne Mountains and also towards the sea at Newcastle.  These structures were based on animal homes and habitats and again the boys had a great time climbing over, under and through various tunnels, bridges, ladders, nets and even a large squirrel drey which was set several feet off the ground.  The boys were inquisitive about the names of the animal homes whilst playing on them so this was a great talking point.  There was also a fox den with tunnels to crawl through, a spider and web to climb on, and a badger with a set to climb through.  There is also a fort structure with stairs and a rope-bridge. Both boys had a super time and even had enough energy left to ride the green mountain bike trail around Castlewellan Lake and race each other on the pump track.

Castlewellan Play Park

Castlewellan Play Area

Both play structures are well worth a visit and add to the activities already available at both locations.  With phrases like ‘epic’, ‘so fun’ and ‘so cool’ being uttered there is no doubt the boys will want to return again soon.  

For anyone planning to visit, ‘Animal Wood’ in Castlewellan Forest Park is located beside the Peace Maze and the ‘Big Deer’ can be found beside the lower car park in Tollymore Forest Park. 

Gail Martin
Gail Martin  Primary School Teacher / Mum

Gail is a Primary School teacher and Mum to two active, young boys. She enjoys any activity involving the great outdoors, especially those where the boys can get involved. Gail is a keen runner and cyclist, both road and MTB and likes to push herself to take on new challenges.

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