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2 New Canoe Trails launched in Northern Ireland


This week sees the launch of two outstanding new coastal canoe trails in Northern Ireland; the Foyle Canoe Trail and the South East Coast Canoe Trail.

Both of these trails allow paddlers to explore stunning coastlines at either ends of the country and are a further piece in an extensive network of trails being developed here in Northern Ireland. This coupled with permit free access to the water means experts are claiming that Northern Ireland is striding ahead and indeed setting the standard for canoeing facilities all across the UK and Ireland.

The new Foyle Canoe Trail stretches for 33 miles along the River Foyle and by Lough Foyle’s varied coastline and rural countryside. Starting at Lifford in Donegal, the trail passes through the historic walled city of Derry/Londonderry and finishes just beyond the bustling seaside town of Moville on the scenic Inishowen peninsula.  The trail is suitable for open boating or touring kayak with both wild and official campsites available along the route.

In contrast to the rolling landscape of the Foyle trail, the South East Coast Canoe Trail explores rocky bays and long sandy beaches under the breathtaking backdrop of both the Mourne and Cooley mountain ranges. This sea kayakers’ trail, which spreads out more than 50 nautical miles from Strangford village to Newry City, boasts ancient castles at Narrow Water and Dundrum as well as Annalong’s historic harbour and cornmill.

These new canoe trails have been developed by the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN), the Lough’s Agency and Down and Derry District Councils respectively and add to the five acclaimed inland canoe trails already in existence.

On the launch of the trails, CAAN Development Officer, Kathryn Callaghan, explained, “We are very fortunate here in Northern Ireland to be able to paddle right up next to some of our coastline’s most stunning attractions. With historic castles, dramatic coastal mountain ranges, rugged foreshores and contrasting rolling countryside both these trails offer a golden opportunity for us all to explore two picturesque corners of Northern Ireland from a unique perspective.”

Kathryn continued, “The use of local expertise is paramount to the successful development of Northern Ireland’s canoe trails.  Putting all this expertise together on a trail guide and means we take the hassle out of trip planning for the visitor.  This process has been a key ingredient to success on the trails”

Derick Anderson of the Loughs Agency has welcomed the launch of the Foyle and South East Coast Canoe Trails, and is confident that the trails will attract tourists, benefit local communities and reveal the natural heritage of both regions to more and more people. 

The new waterproof trail guides for both the Foyle and South East Coast Canoe Trails can be picked up, free of charge, from local tourist information centres or ordered online from which also includes detailed route descriptions, itineraries and maps as well as information on access points, accommodation options, canoe/kayak hire, packaged trips and transfers. 

Later this year will see the launch of 2 further coastal canoe trails.  The North Coast Canoe Trail is set to become one of the most iconic sea kayaking routes in Europe passing the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.  The adjoining East Coast Canoe Trail will allow sea kayakers pass the renowned Glens of Antrim, the maritime history of Belfast Lough and the abundance of wildlife along the Ard’s peninsula.

For more information, click here.

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