Pauline Mc GurkPeter LennonBeverley Magowan
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Training Advice from Cycling Expert Dig Deep Coaching

Posted on May 31, 2019 @ 6:09 PM in AdventureCycling

With only three weeks to go until the big day, your training will really be paying off now. In this month’s blog, Dig Deep Coaching training expert Stephen has responded to some of the questions you’ve been sending in. Better still, he recorded a live video detailing everything you need to know about training for the Sportive. You can still purchase Dig Deep’s training plans here:


In Stephen’s live video he talks through a whole range of subjects including training, nutrition and equipment, and much more! Check out the live video on our Facebook page now!


Coming from a different sport:

If you go to the gym 2-3 times a week or go out running 2-3 times week, now is the time to really start focusing more on getting out cycling.


Do you need a specific bike to take part in the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive?
Nope! Participants can take part on a normal road bike, mountain bike, fat bike, E-bike, Mary Poppins bike - any bike you'd like!


How far on a cycling training programme should I be doing to get up to distance for the day? I’m signed up for the 85 mile/100km route and it’s my first time doing this type of cycling.

I would suggest that you are completing 60-70mile training rides without too much fatigue in the 4-5 weeks prior to the event. If you can be at this level then I would have confidence you can complete the 85mile route on the day.


The 115 miles, is it a tough course? It’s my first time doing this one!

The course is hard but so is the amount of time you will spend in the saddle. The biggest factors doing this distance is the terrain and how you hydrate and refuel. Make sure you keep energy levels topped up so you can tackle Torr Head at the end the best way possible.


Anything that would help with hill climbing would be greatly appreciated. I will always make it to the top but just so much slower than everyone else. I would be strong on the flat.

Climbing is all about general fitness and technique, to improve in both of these areas I would advise riding hills as much as possible in training. Not only to improve fitness but confidence. Look at increasing your cadence on climbs, get used to riding at a good rhythm and set out your own pace and don’t get too concerned about others, ride to your own limit and not others, as this will see your legs fall off later in the ride.


Any good advice for stretching? Pre or post ride?

I am a big believer in foam rollers, these are really good to help get the body ready for a long day in the saddle and help loosen out the muscles post ride. 15-20min a day on this will make a big difference.


Is the 35 mile route really hilly, and would I need to get loads of practise in?

The 35 mile route isn’t very hilly but there are a few reasonably tough climbs, the most notable being on the road after Bushmills. This Garmin link has the elevation chart on it:

For the 35 mile, we would suggest doing 10-15 miles pretty consistently over the last few months and that you attempt at least one ride of around 20 miles prior to the start of the event to make sure you're comfortable with that distance. If you are within this range, then you should be fine to complete the 35mile route. The more training you can do, the better it will be on the day. Also, it depends if you do any other sports.

The two most important things to keep in mind for the last three weeks before the event are:

  • Stay healthy, including staying hydrated and eating healthily
  • Stay injury free


Try to strike a balance with your training so you’re not training too much or too little so as not to derail all the hard work you’ve put in.


To keep up with all things Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Dominic Lyttle
Dominic Lyttle  Assistant Marketing Officer

Dominic has recently joined the ORNI team following completion of a MSc in Marketing from Queen’s University Belfast.

In his spare time, Dominic enjoys trekking, travelling to new and exciting places, and playing basketball, alongside drinking far too much coffee!

Instagram Inspiration - 10 'Must Explore' Walks This Summer

Posted on May 30, 2019 @ 10:01 AM in Walking

When it comes to thinking of where next to walk in Northern Ireland, Instagram is full of inspiration. We have pulled together our top 10 inspiring walks to discover this summer across Northern Ireland. From the rugged Causeway stones and city views to forests and summit selfies there is a walk to suit all. Detailed route descriptions and walker comments on each of these walks can be found on WalkNI.

Giant's Causeway


The rugged stones of the Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim along the Causeway Coast way is a popular walk for tourists and locals alike.  Managed by the National Trust, photographers can often be seen at sunrise and sunset capturing the light dancing off the stones.

Mourne Mountains


One of our favourite pictures to see on #WalkNI are the 'summit selfies' that walkers take after a day exploring the Mourne Mountains in Co. Down. A popular retreat for keen walkers, the Mournes offer a range of peaks suitable for those starting out, right the way up to those with lots of experience on the more challenging peaks.  

Cuilcagh Boardwalk


One of the most Instagrammed walks in Northern Ireland, the Cuilcagh Boardwalk in Co. Fermanagh is a must do walk for keen walkers this summer. Please note that no dogs are allowed on this trail due to the habitat you will be exploring via the Boardwalk. 

Cloughmore Stone


A little hill with big views, the Cloughmore Stone offers panoramic views over Carlingford Lough and the surrounding landscape. Declared a National Nature Reserve and more recently an Area of Special Scientific Interest, maximise the length of your visit by exploring the Cloughmore Stone via Fiddler's Green

Cave Hill


If you are in search of spectacular city views look no further than Cave Hill Country Park, Co. Antrim. Just a stone's throw from Belfast city centre, this is a popular walk for visitors and locals alike. The views are spectacular at any time of day, however we have noticed the 'golden hour' at sunrise and sunset is a popular time of day for those in search of the perfect Instagram photo.



Located on the shores of Strangford Lough, The 2.3 miles Scrabo Hill Walk takes in the summit and the famous Scrabo tower built in 1857, one of Ireland's best known landmarks. The views over Strangford Lough and North Down are some of the finest in the country. The walk descends to a disused sandstone quarry before returning to the car park.



A favourite walk amongst locals in Co. Tyrone, it isn't surprising that the walks in Gortin Glen Forest Park appear frequently on Instagram. There are a number of fantastic walks to enjoy within this forest park and more are being developed. We recommend following the Pollan Trail up the course of the Pollan Burn as it tumbles down the mountainside or the Ladies View Trail, which is ideal for those looking a more strenuous walk to superb views.

Giant's Lair


The Giant's Lair Walk in Slieve Gullion Co. Armagh brings a magical living storybook to life through a trail of intertwined fairy houses and arts features. A childhood land with dragons, giants and fairies inspired by legend and mythical folklore.



Carrick-a-Rede famous for its rope bridge connecting the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island provides an exhilarating coastal cliff walk in Co. Antrim. Highlights of this walk include spectacular views of the rugged cliffs, Rathlin and a noisy seabird colony. Managed by the National Trust.

CS Lewis Square

#ConnswaterGreenway #CSLewisSquare

The Connswater Community Greenway provides two different routes along the Connswater, Loop and Knock River. This walk takes you through Belfast's own wildlife corridor so there is lots to see along the way. One of the highlights of this walk is C.S. Lewis Square where you can stop and explore the seven sculptures inspired by the characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Don't forget to share pictures from your favourite walks with us on social media using #WalkNI.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Get Involved in Watersports at Get Wet NI’s 2019 Taster Weekend

Posted on May 9, 2019 @ 2:53 PM in AdventureCanoeing

Make a splash and try something new this May as part of Get Wet NI 2019. Clubs from across Northern Ireland are offering watersport sessions for just £20 or less on Sat 11th & Sun 12th May. With no experience necessary and all of the equipment provided, there has never been a better time to get out on the water!


For the Adrenaline Junkies:

Learn to Waterski/Wakeboard With the Experts, Meteor Water Ski Club, Lough Henney, Bresagh Road, Sun 12th May, £15 for under-18’s & £20 for 18+

Come and try water skiing or wakeboarding in a safe and controlled environment!

Alive Surf School Surf Club, Alive Surf School, West Strand Beach Portrush, Sun 12th May, £10, annual membership for £60

Come for a taster surf session with award winning surf instructors in Portrush!

Kayak Marathon Race, Belfast Canoe Club, Lower River Bann at Portna Lock, Kilrea, Sun 12th May, £9

Compete with or watch the best racing canoeists in Ireland!

Day Out with the Family:

Give Rowing a GoPortavogie Coastal Rowing Club, Portavogie, Sat 11th May, £3

Have a splash on the water and try your hand at rowing on their St. Ayles Skiff boat on the sea. 

Community Currach Rowing on the River Lagan, Lagan CurrachsRiver Lagan, Stranmillis Mooring Dock, Governors Bridge, Belfast, Sat 11th & Sun 12th May, £5

Join the Lagan Currachs on their community built traditional currach and experience being part of a mixed age and abilities crew as they row the River Lagan.

Have a Go Rowing in KircubbinThe Black Neb Rowing Club, Lockview Rd Belfast, Sat 11th & Sun 12th May, Free

Experience the fun sport of community coastal rowing, in a traditional locally-built St Ayles Skiff boat.

Fun with Friends

Try Rowing with Lagan ScullersLagan Scullers, Lockview Rd Belfast, Sun 12th May, £5

Feel the sleek boat glide through the water underneath you and enjoy being part of a team learning new skills. See Belfast from the river!

St. Ayles Skiff Rowing for BeginnersKillyleagh Coastal Rowing Club, Killyneagh at the Netwalk, Sun 12th May, £2

Enjoy Strangford Lough from the water with Killyleagh Coastal Rowing Club.  

Have a Go Row Dundrum, Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club, Castlewellan Forest Park, Sat 11th & Sun 12th May, £3

A great way to have fun and keep fit. Get instruction on rowing from the current Skiffie World Champions and find out about the fun events and challenges you could be taking part in.


Push the Boat Out (Try Sailing):

Push the Boat Out: Try Sailing Taster DayCarrickfergus Sailing Club, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, Sat 11th May, Free 

A great opportunity to get out on the water for free and try your hand at sailing! 

Push the Boat Out: Sailing & Kayaking Taster Sessions for Adults And ChildrenCounty Antrim Yacht Club, Whitehead Promenade | Marine Parade, Whitehead, Sat 11th May, Free

Free taster-sessions give you the chance to experience crewing a sailing dinghy or taking a sit-on kayak out for a paddle. 

To check out more events taking place, and to keep updated throughout the summer check out and follow us on Facebook.

This campaign has been funded by Sport Northern Ireland, with support from the National Governing Bodies of watersports in Northern Ireland.

Dominic Lyttle
Dominic Lyttle  Assistant Marketing Officer

Dominic has recently joined the ORNI team following completion of a MSc in Marketing from Queen’s University Belfast.

In his spare time, Dominic enjoys trekking, travelling to new and exciting places, and playing basketball, alongside drinking far too much coffee!

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog