Frightfully Fun Family Halloween Adventures

Posted on October 16, 2013 @ 4:46 PM in Adventure

You've found our 2013 Halloween Blog but don't worry there's plenty happening this year too. Check out 'Halloween Haunts & Frightening Fun 2016'

There are lots of adventurous activities happening in Northern Ireland this Halloween that are sure to get the kids screaming with excitement.  Let your little terrors get into the Halloween spirit with these spooky outdoor activities. Parents can join in too – unless they’re too scared of course! 

Here are some of our top tips for outdoor activities with a spooky twist this Halloween:

 

Halloween Howler, Share Discovery Village, Co. Fermanagh, 31st Oct – 2nd Nov
With pumpkin carving, ghost stories, face painting and ghoulish treats this really is the ultimate Halloween party. For those looking for more chills and thrills, head down the haunted forest trail, have a go canoeing and take part in the pumpkin paddle, hit the bullseye at archery or climb aboard the ghost ship and watch the fireworks light up the sky. 

Halloween Spooky Nights, Mobile Team Adventure, Ardnavalley, Belfast, 25th, 26th & 30th Oct
Beware of the creatures lurking in the shadows as you take a night hike through the forest.  All those who make it out alive can take aim at the floodlit archery or race to the top of the climbing wall.  Don’t forget your fancy dress.

Halloween Moonlit Paddle, Far and Wild, Derry~Londonderry, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 30th & 31st Oct
For something completely different try a moonlit paddle on the Foyle or neighbouring coast-line and waterways with Far and Wild.  Paddle out into the night to experience the change in season from the old Celtic year to the new one whilst looking out for nighttime wildlife. Come in spooky fancy dress and prepare for a wild adventure to remember!

Halloween Camp, East Coast Adventure, Rostrevor, Co. Down, 1st-2nd Nov
Taking place over two days the kids will enjoy a selection of frightfully fun land and water based activities, pay a visit to the haunted house and find out who is the scariest at the fancy dress Halloween party.  Day camp option also available.

Fright Night, Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 18th- 20th & 25th- 31st
It’s time to face your fears…fright nights at the Jungle are back and they are bigger, better and even more frightening than before!  Many special effects will help set the mood on this terrifying tour through the haunted woods with only a lantern to guide the way.  Suitable for adults and children aged 12 years plus.  Check out our blog to find out what happened when OutdoorNI.com took on the trail and survived to tell the tale!

Halloween Outdoor Activity Day, Breckenhill, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, 2nd Nov
Have a go at eerie archery, feel your way along the nasty nightline blindfolded, creep along the climbing wall and fire the giant catapults at the pumpkin targets. There will also be a chance to shoot some ghouls (sorry, goals) at the football game and find your way through the 'Orrible Orienteering maze. Most activities suitable for ages 7 and up.

Wet & Wild Kids Week, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan, Co. Down, 28th Oct – 1st Nov
If the prospect of entertaining the kids is scarier than Halloween itself then book them onto Life Adventure’s Wet & Wild Kids Week.  Suitable for 8 to 14 year olds, each day will be action packed with the opportunity for the kids to have new experiences and make new friends. Activities on offer will include canoeing, survival skills, archery, orienteering, abseiling, raft building and team games to name a few! 

Halloween Maize Maze, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 26th October
Carrowmena Activity Centre welcome you to their ‘field of screams!’ Try not to get lost as you navigate your way around the errie maize maze - once you’ve entered there’s no turning back…There will be ‘trick or treat’ prizes, music and a campfire waiting for those who make it back alive! If that isn’t scary enough you can head back in the evening for a go in the dark!

Halloween Scream Park, Belfast Activity Centre, Belfast, 24th – 26th October
Enjoy all the chills and thrills with a host of terror-ific Halloween themed activities and character performances.  Experience hair raising story telling, spooky sound effects, flashing lights and a liberal covering of spider’s webs and creeping fog in this truly haunting experience at Barnett Demesne.  Don’t forget to come dressed to thrill!  Booking essential.

With so many great outdoor activities to be had in Northern Ireland this Halloween, it makes sense to build a short break around the fun! For deals from only £49 per room, or to find out about Northern Ireland’s visitor attractions, accommodation and things to do, visit discovernorthernireland.com

Happy Halloween!

 

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

The Iron Lady

Posted on October 10, 2013 @ 4:08 PM in Walking

WalkNI.com caught up with long distance runner and all round adventurer Hannah Shields to find out where she gets her inspiration from.  In 2007 Hannah became the first woman from Northern Ireland to conquer Mount Everest, just one of her many accolades.  An enthusiastic mountaineer, Hannah has climbed extensively in Ireland, Scotland, the Alps, South America and Nepal and also competed in the inaugural Polar Challenge, a race to the Magnetic North Pole in which she came second. Lately she can be found on the podiums after completing some of the toughest Ultra Marathons in the UK and Europe.  Currently living in Derry Hannah splits her time between training, expeditions, racing and working as a dentist.

Hannah Shields

Mountaineering and adventure racing is not a typical hobby, how did you get started?
From an early age I have always loved sports, taking part in everything going.  While I was studying at University in Manchester there was a walking club but to be honest at first I was pretty sceptical. Why would I want to go walking? Surely all it involves is being outside and getting soaked.  I went along anyway and the first time I went I enjoyed every second of it – I was as high as a kite! I didn’t realise you could get so much from walking.  My mountaineering really started when I dated a student who was into climbing and I thought if you can’t beat him, join him!  I was scared of heights so it was terrifying to begin with but I pushed through my fear and quickly became hooked.  That’s when I realised I wanted to climb.  I like to put myself outside of my comfort zone and I’m always looking for a challenge however saying that, if you had asked me 2 or 3 years ago if I would be competing in ultra marathons I would have laughed at you!

You have achieved so much, summiting Everest, racing to the magnetic North Pole, competing in 100 mile Ultra Race’s to name just a few of your accomplishments but what has been your most memorable achievement?
It’s hard to say because they are all so different in their own ways.  Obviously summiting Everest was a dream come true but I love the atmosphere when competing in events at home such as the Mourne Way and Causeway Coast Marathons.  The polar trips were memorable for their physical challenge, you’re pulling 150lb pulks in temperatures as low as minus 70C having to hold your own against men who have the weight advantage.  Then again with my ultra running I still have to pinch myself that I’m completing these 100 mile races. I’m just happy I can do all these things!

Obviously you can’t be away doing specialist training all the time, how do you train at home?
I just get outside as often as I can. Like everyone I like a lie in on a Saturday but if I decide to take up a challenge I have no problem getting up and out!  I’m from Derry so I regularly hit the slopes of my beloved Binevenagh.  I like to spend as much time there as I can and I know it so well yet I never get bored of going there, it’s just so dynamic.  I like to train on my own without too many people so Binevenagh is perfect as you can often go out and not meet a soul so I have it all to myself!  I also love training on the Giant’s Causeway Coast, the scenery up there is simply spectacular. I’ll do a 26 mile run along the coast from Portballintrae to Carrick-a-Rede and back.  I also try and do a 52-80 mile race every month to keep fit.  Many people often think you have to go far afield to find these amazing places and don’t realise or appreciate the fantastic scenery that is right on their doorstep.  I have been lucky enough to experience some amazing trips in the British Isles but I can honestly say climbs in Northern Ireland are most definitely on par. 

What are the crucial skills needed to train for such extreme conditions?
For something as extreme as Everest the preparation is all about breaking it down to things you need to be good at.  For example coping in cold conditions and knowing what the appropriate clothing is to help you with this, being able to hill walk with a weight on your back and functioning without much sleep. When I was on my expedition to the Magnetic North Pole I was only getting a maximum of 2 or 3 hours of sleep at a time for the whole 4 or 5 weeks of the trip, in preparation for this I would deprive myself of sleep and do everyday tasks so my body learnt to do things automatically.  You also need to be good at assessing your conditions, it’s a steep learning curve but you just have to get out there and do it!  Being part of a walking or running club is a great way to introduce you to a lot of these elements.  A lot of the time, it's as much about mental resolve and teamwork as physical fitness.

What was it like coming so close the first time you attempted Everest in 2003?
Absolutely devastating, it felt like the end of the world to come so close (Hannah was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to turn back just 100m from the summit due to frostbite injuries).  I hadn’t achieved what I had set out to do and it was heartbreaking but you know what…I think it was the best thing that ever happened.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying, if it’s something you really want, you’ll do it.

In 2007 Hannah returned to successfully summit Everest from the North-Tibetan side with the all male 7 summits Russian Team.  You were the only woman in a group of 7 males how was that? 
It was a real eye opener!  None of my team spoke any English so it was a very different experience from the first time.  The leader was fantastic though and I felt very safe, it’s amazing how much you can communicate without words. You are completely reliant upon your other team members, so mutual trust has to develop because your life, quite literally, depends on it. With the language barrier there wasn’t the same type of craic however it was a great way to examine and learn about my inner self.

How did you celebrate when you reached the top on your second expedition?
With a thumbs up and a hug!  When you reach the summit that’s only half the battle, you still have a dangerous descent ahead of you.  My contact lens had frozen to my right eye and we were trying to conserve as much oxygen as possible so the proper celebrations didn’t start until we were down safely.

Do you have any recommendations for those wanting to start mountaineering?
I would definitely recommend getting onto a good course and learning the basic skills properly.  It’s so important to get the technical side ride with tuition from the experts from the very start.

What is your next challenge and how are you preparing?
I’m really concentrating on my ultra running at the moment. I only started in my 30s, the long distances require a lot of discipline so you often find older people are good at it as they’re mentally toughened up.  Obviously you have to be in good shape physically but that’s only half the battle.  I’ve been lucky enough to stay away from injury so far so hopefully the next year will bring plenty of racing both in the UK and Europe.

Visit WalkNI.com for a full list of outdoor activity providers who deliver skills development courses to help improve your confidence in the hills as well as a full range of courses in walking and mountaineering.

 

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

Rosco outfoxes the Fox in Rostrevor!

Posted on October 7, 2013 @ 11:08 AM in Mountainbiking

On a weekend where mulitple World Cup Winner, Gee Atherton came, saw and was conqured (by local rider Colin Ross - Rosco Lines/Vitus Bikes), MountainBikeNI.com takes a look back at the breathtaking Red Bull Foxhunt 2013 in Rostrevor.

Red Bull Foxhunt 2103

With early October bringing days of consistent rain, the scene was set for the Red Bull Foxhunt 2013 and it was always going to get messy! We caught up with Gee Atherton on Day 1 to find out what he made of this year's course in Rostrevor.

Saturday's qualifying was full of thrills and spills and gave all the riders an opportunity to get a feel for the course and fine tune their lines for the main event.

Red Bull Foxhunt

Then after a few socialbles on the Saturday night, it was time to push up to the summit of Slieve Martin to take part in what is fast becoming one of the most iconic sporting events to take place on these shores!

Red Bull Foxhunt

With Red Bull's helicopter in place, the build up of nervous anticipation quickly exploded into one almightly adrenaline rush as 400 local riders from all across the UK and Ireland set off on the race of their lives!

 

Red Bull Foxhunt

It's tough enough navigating your way down these singletrack trails alongside 400 other riders but having Gee Atherton breathing down you neck (below in yellow) is what makes the foxhunt truly unique.

Red Bull Foxhunt

In the end though, this year was too much for the Fox and the title was claimed by Colin Ross (Vitus Bikes), after a tough battle with last year's winner Greg Callaghan and Joe Barnes (Dudes of Hazzard).

Red Bull Foxhunt

Watch the short video below with Colin Ross - Winner of the Red Bull Foxhunt 2013

Many thanks to Red Bull Ireland and Plush MTB for organising this year's Foxhunt in Rostrevor. Of course a special thanks must also go to Gee Atherton - a real ambassador for mountain biking all over the world!

Check out Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails for more information on these trails including interactive maps, route drescriptions, information on bike hire/uplift and mountain bike friendly places to eat, drink, relax and stay in the area.

 

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland ...it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

OutdoorNI.com does… The Jungle NI’s Fright Night

Posted on October 3, 2013 @ 3:15 PM in Adventure

One thing is for sure if you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise….and it won’t be some teddy bears having a picnic! The Jungle NI’s now infamous Fright Night is back to terrorise people this October and promises to be more chilling than ever.  Check out what happened when OutdoorNI.com dared to go into the dark depths of the night on their terrifying trail…     

There are few things I hate more than scary movies preferring to hide behind a cushion. No, I don’t want to scare myself so much that I can no longer sleep at night – can somebody please remind me why people find this fun?!  You may be surprised to hear then that when an opportunity came up to go to the Jungle NI’s Fright Night I was actually pretty excited and it was me who had to convince my paranormal-activity-watching flatmate to come. 

On arrival to the Jungle in the pitch black we were barely up the lane when strange noises started coming at us through the night.  We checked in for our session and waited apprehensively with others in our group before huddling round for an introduction.  All we had to do was follow the lanterns…in the pitch black…in the middle of the forest…with complete strangers and people may or may not come to try and hunt us down. Well that doesn’t sound scary at all!   

After receiving our instructions it was then time to step into the unknown, something which I definitely had a fear of!  The parting words as we set out on the trail were “don’t go at the back” so naturally everyone began racing each other to avoid the dreaded spot not realising that in doing so we were actually running towards the dreaded demons of the forest! As we slowly realised we were now completely on our own it wasn’t long before everyone was holding hands with complete strangers.  This probably wasn’t the best idea in hindsight as in the dark you don’t know who your friends and who your enemies are…

 

With just the lanterns to guide our way we were on our own. However it wasn’t long until we found out the lanterns weren’t the only things we were following…all I’ll say is there was a butcher in the forest and he may have left something behind!  It wasn’t long until we were ushered into a wooden hut by a witch who warned us of the evil spirits we would encounter in the forest.  And so began our terrifying trail that would make even grown men scream…The element of surprise is definitely the best bit so I won’t let away too much, just be aware that you may encounter half eaten men, mad scientists, scarecrows, undertakers, soldiers, vampires, werewolves, woodcutters and zombies!  Each one coming out when you least expect it and each one with a terrifying story to tell.  Whether it be a masked man in a window, an undertaker who wants to sniff your flesh, a soldier with trench fever or a hooded figure luring you up a hill, one thing is for sure there is no where to run (although we did try!) and no where to hide (especially when your locked into a mineshaft!)  The attention to detail and sheer scale of the whole experience made it really feel like we were in the middle of an American teen horror movie.

As we neared the end everyone attempted one last break for freedom, this time there was no holding hands, it was every man for themselves! Despite needing a woolly hat and gloves earlier in the night I was now sweating as the fight or flight response kicked in. Finally back safe we were greeted by a roaring fire where we all relived our favourite (and most terrifying) moments.

If you want the fright of your life then this is it!  Remember I know what they did last summer winter and you’re in for a terrifyingly good experience!

Fright Night is happening on selected evenings throughout October and is available to book now! Strictly over 12s only.

Why not make a weekend of it with a stay in one of Jungle NI's Jungle huts? These purpose built huts sleep up to 8 people and are double-glazed, secure and lockable, so you are guaranteed to be cosy and warm whatever the weather.  Or alternatively if you prefer something a little more luxurious visit discovernorthernireland.com for deals from only £49 per room.

Activity Provider:

The Jungle NI,
60 Desertmartin Road,
Moneymore,
Magherafelt,
BT45 7RB

+44 (0)28 8674 8881 

bookings@thejungleni.com

www.thejungleni.com

Sarah Nelson

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com