Chris Scott Activity Tourism Manager
Having 'retired' from competitive sailing he is trying to find something new to fill the void. Currently mixing it up with 10ks, trail running, duathlons and adventure races.
February 21, 2017
February 10, 2017
February 8, 2017
January 30, 2017
January 17, 2017
Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend is back on March 24th & 25th 2012. A Saturday and Sunday activity extravaganza just jam packed with outdoor activities from only £10 per person.
The good news is there are loads of opportunities over the weekend to try out canoeing and kayaking. Whether you are looking for a trip into the wilderness or a simple splash and dash session – there’s something for everyone.
No experience is necessary. You don’t need a big group or lots of organisation. Just book a place online for yourself, the family or a group of mates.
Canoeing & Kayaking Trips
These canoeing and kayaking trips provide an excellent opportunity to explore some of Northern Ireland’s coastline, rivers or lakes.
Four Elements Adventure are offering a great chance to circumnavigate the island town of Enniskillen. Along the way you will see the town's oldest building and bridges, discover lots of wildlife and float merrilly along as the town bustles by.
Come along and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to sample Sea Kayaking along the awe-inspiring North Coast. Simply Sea Kayaking trips will depart from Portrush harbour. There is also a session especially for families.
Enjoy the quiet waters of Strangford Lough. Take in the amazing scenery and some of our inquisitive local seals. Action Outdoors' experienced instructors will show you a few of the basic strokes before you head off for a paddle around some of the islands on the lough.
Have a Go Sessions
There are loads of ‘have a go’ sessions happening throughout Northern Ireland so there is sure to be something available on your doorstep.
To make it even easier we have picked out our favourites to give you flavour – but be sure to click through to find out more info.
Mobile Team Adventure is offering canoeing and kayaking for both families and adults at Shaw’s Bridge in the heart of Belfast’s Lagan Valley Regional Park.
Castlewellan Forest Park will be a hive of canoeing activity.
Outdoor Concepts are offering canoeing and part of a three piece package including laser clay pigeon shooting and archery. Separate sessions are available for families and adults. Sea Kayaking is also available for adults.
Life is offering two hour canoeing blast and kayaking blast session for families.
The Adventure Team is offering both family and adult kayaking session on the Gortin Lakes set amongst the Sperrins foothills.
Action Outdoors is offering a range of canoeing sessions suitable for the family and adults at Delamont Country Park near Killyleagh.
So what are you waiting for - book online for Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend today!
No previous experience needed? That is very good, because I have always wanted to do that. It looks so much fun! My sister loves kayaking, we are going to Ireland next month and this is a must do. Read more >
Whether you plan to start cycling to work, want to spend some time enjoying the tracks and trails of the Northern Irish countryside or are hoping to get into competitive racing, your choice of bike is essential to get right so that it is the best for the job.
The main choice to make initially is whether you are going to choose a mountain bike, a road bike or a hybrid all round bike. To the untrained eye all bikes look fairly similar, with the classical diamond shaped frames as invented by John Starley in 1885, but a short ride will quickly demonstrate the difference.
Mountain bikes are a popular choice for many, as their low gearing and knobbly tyres make them well capable of coping with even the toughest off road conditions. The handlebar mount can often be fairly steeply angled, encouraging the rider to adopt a tuck position whilst on the bike. This can put some novice riders off as it creates a top heavy sensation, but despite this a mountain bike is one of the most versatile types of bike available. Mountain bikes can easily be adapted for road use by exchanging their knobbly tyres for slicker road treads.
When buying a mountain bike it is essential to make sure the frame fits you. You need around 6cm clearance between the crossbar and your crotch and although all wheels are 26 inches, frames are available in a range of sizes to suit the rider. Reputable brands include Kona, Specialized, Marin, Giant and Cannondale.
Image Courtesy of Bann Wheelers
If you are looking for something fast which you can ride for miles, then a road bike may be more your style. Road bikes are only suited to tarmac surfaces and are geared to allow swift climbing up inclines and great acceleration for speeding back down. Drop handlebars ensure you can change positions during your journey for comfort and the frame is designed with energy efficiency in mind. Good brands for road bikes are Condor, Scott, Bianchi and Colnago.
For the best of both worlds the hybrid bike offers the versatility of a mountain bike with the lightweight frame of the road bike. The large wheels offer more speed for less effort and their semi slick road tyres offer less resistance whilst still being able to cope with the odd rough track or muddy path. The riding position is more upright than mountain bikes due to the high rise stem and flat handlebars. Trusted brands include Trek, Marin, Ridgeback and Scott.
Fold Up Bikes
City commuters may also want to consider a fold up bike, particularly if part of your journey includes a bus or train. Whilst the downsides of these bikes is the small wheel size, low speeds and poor energy efficiency, the practicalities and usefulness of a folding bike is well worth the sacrifice for many. Good brands include Brompton, Birdy and Dahon.
With budget in mind, although a bike can be bought for as little as £150, for this amount of money the bike you will get will not be a great standard. For road, hybrid and mountain bikes a budget of around £400 will get the rider a considerably better bike with a lighter frame and better quality components.
For more information on the different types of bicycles available please visit www.bikes.org.uk.
Biking is something that keeps you healthy is also enjoyable. However finding the right one can be difficult. http://www.servicingstopblog.co.uk Read more >
St Patrick’s Day is on Thursday this year which means a great 4 day break in March because you know you won’t be going to work on the Friday!!
To us St Patrick’s Day means getting outside for some adventure rather than shamrocks and shalalies - check out our top tips:
Thursday 17th March – St Patrick’s Day
Do Adventure with Life at Castlewellan Park
With Over 10 Great Adventure Activity Options, Preferential Lifeline Cover and Couple, Family and Group Discounts to name but a few DO benefits.
St Patrick Day’s Fun at Faughanvale Stables
Pony games, horseriding and much more beginners welcome
Friday 18th March – because you know you’ll take this day off!
St Patrick’s Have a Go Day with Action Outdoors
Grass sledging, archery, climbing wall and a special St Patrick’s Trail
Moon Chasing with Mountain Sojourns
Enjoy the delights of the full moon and night sky with a walk into the heart of the Mournes.
Saturday 19th March
Cave Day with Corralea Activity Centre
Explore the depths of Fermanagh’s underground passages, streams and formations accompanied by a qualified cave leader.
The Ultimate Sunset and Full Moon Paddle with Teambuild Ireland
Spend Saturday night in a canoe with friends sipping champagne while watching the sun set and a full moon rise on the placid waters of Lough Neagh!
Sunday 20th March
St Patrick’s Trail Bike Ride – Stroke Association Northern Ireland
Explore St Patrick’s country by bike on this 5 mile or 15 mile charity cycle.
Welcome to our new regular blog feature ‘OutdoorNI.com Does…’. This is our chance to showcase the exciting outdoor activities available in Northern Ireland.
For our first blog feature ‘OutdoorNI Does… Tree Top Adventure’ we sent out Chris Scott to Northern Ireland’s first tree top adventure course at The Jungle NI. Chris was chosen as he has possibly the worst head for heights in the team so if he could get around the course then anybody can.
This ‘OutdoorNI Does…’ assignment initially seemed more like a punishment for me than a pleasure. My head for heights is atrocious – my knees go wobbly walking up a flight of stairs never mind a tree top adventure course.
Through fear of not being able to complete the course and for some encouragement I brought along my wife and two mates, Kerry and Ali who were across from Manchester for the weekend. At least one of these 25-30 year olds should be able to get around the course to give me enough material to write the blog.
A 50 minute drive from Belfast brought us to The Jungle NI on the outskirts of Moneymore. On arrival you are immediately caught up in the atmosphere of the place. Folk hurtling down the hill in zorbing balls, the clattering noise of paintball guns going off in the distance and the cool young staff dressed in the combat trousers and black hoodies excites from the moment you open the car door.
We were met by Hugh our instructor for the day, who before we knew it, had us fully kitted out with harnesses and gloves and on the practice course. This gets you used to the ingenious safety system which means it is impossible to unclip yourself from the safety line – this was not only great peace of mind for me but more so for parents bringing their kids along. Hugh told us this system was the only one of its type in the country.
After a quick practice it was time to get off terra firma and within seconds we were taking on the first obstacle. We didn’t have a great start, despite Hugh’s relaxed persuasive manner Catherine (the wife) quickly appointed herself official photographer! The height too much she returned to the ground but was still part of the group as she watched the excitement from the trails through the wood.
All of a sudden I was lead man meaning I took on each new obstacle as it arose. As I slowly edged across each obstacle, Kerry continued to show me up by following as if she was walking to the shops and Ali the same.
The innovative obstacles which total 40 in all, provide a different challenge each time. If I ever had trouble working out what to do next, the ever helpful Hugh was on hand to point out the way – which was much more helpful than the constant laughter at my misfortune from Ali and Kerry – with friends like these…
As we progressed through the course my confidence grew and grew and I was determined to get to the 200 metre long zip line at the end, it also meant I was now able to reply to some of Ali and Kerry’s constant banter.
At heights of up to 70ft the rope bridges, tight ropes, cargo nets, swings and many more obstacles of various other shapes and sizes were conquered one by one until we reached the zip line. By the end we were pretty tired; the cargo nets in particular look much easier on the war movies on TV than in real life and would prove tricky for some. Although I was probably holding on 10 ten times tighter than required!!
However adrenaline is a great motivator and we reached the zip line“…you just kinda lie back and go…” were the instructions from Hugh as he clipped me on. The zip wire blast was top class, after the initial adrenaline surge I was able to relax and enjoy the sensation of flying through the air.
Ali and Kerry followed and I prepared myself to head home delighted that I had put myself out of my comfort zone and in hindsight enjoyed every minute.
As we congregated at the finish Hugh asked would we like a go at the ‘King Louis Descent’ – seeing the puzzled look on our faces he explained simply “…I clip this hook onto your back and you just kinda jump off. The Powerfan will stop you before you hit the ground – it’s class craic.” Class craic indeed!? – I began looking for my exit. One at a time Ali and Kerry jumped from about 35ft, face forwards towards to ground, each time landing on their feet with a scream of delight.
Peer pressure is a wonderful thing – how could I go home without doing it. After more words of kind persuasion from Hugh and not so kind words from Ali – I leaped off – this is as close to a parachute jump as I’ll ever get – what a feeling. I wouldn’t be queuing up to do it again but glad I’ve done it once.
All in all a great few hours spent – we were well looked after and it is great that the Jungle NI have brought yet another unique activity to Northern Ireland.
We were tired at the end but the whole experience was very much the topic of conversation over dinner and beers later that night.
Right to Reply:
Sarah-Lousie Cairmichael – Jungle NI
As of March 19th we no longer have the huge cargo net at the Tarzan Swing in which many people had problems climbing up, Instead this has been replaced by a smaller net in which you swing in to then climb to the side where you can step on to a platform and climb up the ladder (I have attached a picture of the new Platform). Also we have added an additional bridge to the last few elements where customers who do not want to or have the time to do the whole course can step on here and do the last few elements with the zip line and the king Louis descent, we have named this Mowgli’s Adventure (£20pp) compared to the whole course package which is our Tarzan’s Adventure (£35pp)
Tree Top Adventure Course
The Jungle NI
Session duration: 2-3 hours depending on your ability and how adventurous your feeling that day!
No minimum numbers required, 15 people maximum in an hourly slot. Booking Essential
Suitable for: There are no age restrictions but all participants must be over the height of 4ft 8" (1.42m)