What's Going On?

Important Alteration to Lough Erne Canoe Trail Guide

Monday, 17 December 2018

Following engagement with ESB, the following change has been made to the Lough Erne Canoe Trail Guide. 

The change is relevant to the last paragraph within the ‘Lough MacNean and links to other waterways’ section.

It is no longer possible to extend your journey from Belleek at the north west end of Lower Lough Erne across the border to Assaroe Lake in the Republic of Ireland. 

The Cliff Hydro Power Station (GR H934599) presents a serious hazard to canoeists and therefore journeys from Lower Lough Erne should cease before the disused eel fishery (GR H938950). Once, the Hydro Power Station begins to generate (often at short notice) the flow of the river can increase to 200 tonnes per second. 

Access to Belleek remains at Belleek Marina (GR H943588) which is a 200m walk to the village centre.

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Mid and East Antrim Public Consultation on Outdoor Recreation

Monday, 5 November 2018

*Please note the change in venue for the consultation on Tuesday 27th November*

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is calling on residents to have their say on an outdoor recreation strategy for the area.

The council wants as many potential stakeholders, clubs, groups, and lovers of the great outdoors to feed in to a public consultation as they draw up proposals that will see many of our natural assets used for the benefit of our residents and also attract visitors to our borough. 

With coastline, rivers, uplands and low lands, forests, parks and open spaces, we have some of the most fantastic natural assets just waiting to be developed.

To get involved, come along to one of three public consultation events, which are being led by Outdoor Recreation NI. These will start at 7pm with a short presentation before breaking in to smaller consultation groups.

They will take place at:

  • Tuesday 13 Nov – 7pm to 9pm at Carrickfergus Town Hall (Dobbs Room)

  • Tuesday 20 Nov – 7pm to 9pm at Larne Town Hall (Wilson Room)

  • Tuesday 27 Nov – 7pm to 9pm at The Ecos Centre (Kernohans Lane, Ballymena)

You can also get involved by completing the online survey.

Outdoor Recreation activities and facilities up for discussion include walking, cycling, horse riding, canoeing, fishing and mountain biking, as well as adventure activities such as archery, climbing, fell running, jet skiing, orienteering, sailing and water-skiing, etc.


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New Website Maps Northern Ireland’s Canoe Trails

Thursday, 2 August 2018

A new website developed by the organisation behind CanoeNI.com has been launched providing people all over Northern Ireland with detailed information and interactive mapping on the country’s canoe trails. It also brings together a huge variety of other outdoor trails, community walking paths and outdoor venues.

Cool FM presenter and keen outdoor enthusiast Paulo Ross attended the launch and believes the website will be an incredible resource for anyone interested in the outdoors. “OutmoreNI.com is such a brilliant concept and definitely a site I’ll be using for my own trips to the Mournes. I love how easy it is to navigate and I’ve no doubt it’s going to become incredibly popular here.”

The website will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, letting users quickly and easily search for a wide range of opportunities to get outdoors.

OutmoreNI.com acts as a ‘one stop shop’ for information on outdoor recreation in Northern Ireland for users of all abilities and backgrounds including complete beginners through to serious enthusiasts. Its goal is to help people discover what trails and outdoor facilities are on their doorstep or waiting for them in another part of Northern Ireland – including walking, cycling, canoeing and mountain biking trails as well as forests, parks, beaches and nature reserves.

The website contains all nine of Northern Ireland’s canoe trails which have been pulled from CanoeNI.com, plus almost 700 mountain biking, cycling, and walking trails and over 200 outdoor places. These have all been individually mapped to display the important information needed when planning an outdoor adventure. This includes trail distances, information on parking facilities, admission charges, guidelines on bringing dogs and much more.

The website was developed by CanoeNI’s corporate arm, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI) whose remit is to develop, manage and promote outdoor recreation for Northern Ireland. Financial funding was secured from SportNI and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), who are both thrilled to see a website like this developed in Northern Ireland. However, the website would not have been possible without the support from Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) who have provided the mapping platform which the website is based upon.

John News from Sport NI said, “We believe OutmoreNI will lead to a significant growth in people becoming more active. A lot of work has gone into making the site as accessible as possible for people. Whether you’re looking for an easy walk, a nearby park or your nearest canoe trails to get outdoors, OutmoreNI will make a real impact on the lives of people all over Northern Ireland.”

Helen Anderson, the Director of the Environment Division at NIEA was delighted with the finished project. She commented that “The website has great potential to show local communities and the wider public where to explore their local landscapes and natural environment. We hope the website will have a positive impact on the public’s health and well-being.”

The website is now live and can be found by visiting OutmoreNI.com


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Salt Island Bothy - Update

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Following sterling work from the National Trust staff and volunteers the Salt Island Bothy is open again for bookings.

Salt Island Bothy on the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail provides a fantastic overnight camping experience but requires the complete cooperation of all visitors to help with maintenance and upkeep. 

The Bothy was restored in June 2008 and is located on Salt Island just south of Killyleagh. It is a bunkhouse which provides basic shelter, accommodation and camping facilities.  It is very popular with canoeists, boat users, youth groups and families.  

The National Trust team has provided excellent information on

  • Bothy facilities

  • Access

  • Bookings and charges

  • Conditions of use and bothy ethos

For further information see visit the Salt Island Bothy section of CanoeNI.com.

If the bothy starts to create major maintenance issues for the already overstretched Strangford Lough Rangers, the National Trust will be forced to close down the bothy.  Please help us to ensure that this doesn’t happen. 

A key frustration for the National Trust Team is the removal of stones from the wall surrounding the Bothy. Stones (which have required some effort to move) are regularly removed from the wall.

An excellent way to assist is to join the ‘Friends of the Bothy’ group to help keep the bothy and the island in good order.  The National Trust also organise regular volunteer projects at other sites all around the Strangford Lough area.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Tomasz Ciesielski (National Trust Ranger) on 07483335473

Alternatively, during your stay, there are many other ways you can help look after the island and its wildlife.  Why not collect litter washed up on the shore or help to repair some of the old walls?  You could help by recording any interesting wildlife observations in the bothy’s visitor book.  


Fun on the Water as Enniskillen Blueway Water Activity Zone Opens

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Waterways Ireland with the support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism and Enniskillen BID have announced the opening of the Enniskillen Blueway Water Activity Zone beside the footbridge at Erneside. 

The Water Activity Zone is the ideal location to try out canoeing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding and offers a new adventure experience for family fun days out or for individuals and groups who want to explore Enniskillen, or further afield, from the water.  If you would prefer to captain your own boat and enjoy a short trip around Ireland's only island town, why not hire one of the 'wee red boats' from Erne Boat Hire.  For a more exhilarating blast around Lough Erne, why not hop on the Erne Water Taxi.  Also on offer will be the new heritage boat, a boat tour taking in the monastic and heritage sites around Enniskillen including Devenish Island.  

Waterways Ireland's Director of Business Development John Boyle welcomed the opening of the Water Activity Zone and said, "Lough Erne is one of the most spectacular waterways on the island of Ireland, it is hoped that this new Water Activity Zone will play a role in encouraging young people to access the water, engage in water sports and fall in love with Lough Erne.  We welcome Erne Boat Hire, Erne Water Taxi and the provision of canoe, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding to the Water Activity Zone and wish the activity providers well in this new venture."

The creation of this water activity zone will form part of the ongoing Blueway developments on Lough Erne.  Blueways are a series of multi activity recreational trails based on or closely linked with the water.  The first Blueway paddling trail to be developed will be from Bellanaleck to Trory taking in Enniskillen town and the Water Activity Zone.  The Blueway will allow easier access to Lough Erne and encourage people to engage with and enjoy a large variety of water activities.

For more information on the Water Activity Zone, please visit www.waterwaysireland.org

Click here to find out more

The Get Wet NI Events by County

Friday, 18 May 2018

This weekend is the beginning of Get Wet NI! Events are taking place all across Northern Ireland, providing people with the chance to try water sports for perhaps the first time.

With so many taking place, it can be difficult to decide which to try out so we've made a list of the events by county to make it that bit easier.

County Antrim - Rowing is popular in Antrim, as both the Lagan Currachs and Lagan Scullers guide newbies down the river for the first time. There are also a number of sailing events, including ones by County Antrim Yacht Club and the East Antrim Boat Club.

County Armagh - Try Sailing with Push the Boat Out at Kinnego Marina in Armagh, with the Lough Neagh Sailing Club.

County Down - The people of Down have no shortage of events to chose from over Get Wet NI Weekend. The ladies could opt for a girls only beginner wakeboarding lesson with Cable and Wake. Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club will be taking people out for some paddling, as will the Black Neb Rowing Club in Kircubbin. There's also Dinghy and Cruiser Sailing at Carlingford Lough, Skiff Rowing from Killyleagh Coastal Rowing Club and a "Try Sailing Day" from the Killyleagh Yacht Club. 

County Fermanagh - The folks from Row the Erne are providing people the opportunity to see Enniskillen from the river. Better still, it's in a traditional currach that fits a crew of 10.

County Derry / Londonderry - Guaranteed to be a smash hit for all the family, visitors to Creggan Country Park will be greeted by a plethora of water sport activities, including an inflatable obstacle course, canoeing and more!

For information on all the Get Wet NI events taking place this summer, visit GetWetNI.com

Get into Watersports with Get Wet NI

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Always wanted to have a go at watersports but didn’t know how to get involved? Get Wet NI is the perfect way to try something for the first time and see if it’s for you. 

Watersports clubs throughout Northern Ireland will be opening their doors to members of the public to have a go and try out a whole range of watersports including canoeing, sailing, wake boarding, rowing and diving. With no prior experience or specialist equipment required there really is no excuse not to give it a try! 

The campaign kicks off with a weekend of water based outdoor activity taster events all over Northern Ireland during the weekend of Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May. Even if you can’t attend this weekend there will be a series of events throughout the summer right up until the end of August offering you the chance to have a go.

SportNI is one of the leading organisations behind the initiative and their Outdoor Recreation Development Officer, Mike McClure commented “Get Wet NI is a wonderful way for people to experience the fantastic watersports opportunities here in Northern Ireland and hopefully by taking part in this campaign it will help develop favourite past-times that participants will take part in for many years to come”.

Waterways Ireland, who are part funding the project are looking forward to welcoming new users onto their waterways to try out new experiences. John Boyle, the Director of Business Development for Waterways Ireland said, "One of the key objectives for Waterways Ireland is to encourage sustained participation on our beautiful waterways and it's for this reason we are delighted to support 'Get Wet NI'. The Erne System and Lower Bann waterways, which will be used for some of the 'Get Wet NI' events, are simply stunning and an opportunity to explore these particularly scenic areas from the water should not be missed."

Visit www.GetWetNI.com to see a full list of taster events that are being offered as part of the campaign to find your next adventure!


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Join the ORNI Team!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Our parent company Outdoor Recreation NI is hiring. Join us to improve the nation's health and well-being and drive activity tourism.

Outdoor Recreation NI are seeking driven and enthusiastic team players to join our dynamic team leading the strategic direction of outdoor recreation development across Northern Ireland.

A passion for the outdoors will help, but first and foremost ORNI is seeking candidates who reflect the ambition, drive and dedication to producing a first-rate service for our clients and external stakeholders.

Increased demand for our services means we are seeking candidates for the following positions:

Project Officer (2 posts available)
Bringing a commitment to helping more people enjoy the outdoors through the scoping, planning, design and delivery of a range of outdoor recreation projects.  Candidates should have 3 to 5 years paid practical experience in successfully managing and delivering complex projects.

Assistant Project Officer (2 posts available)
Seeking to challenge themselves and keen to learn through delivery of practical projects. Previous paid work experience is not a requirement, therefore ideal for graduates.

Assistant Marketing Officer (1 post available)
A fast learner and who can learn from and collaborate with the team. You need to be eager to grow and progress your career within the organisation. Previous paid work experience is not a requirement, therefore ideal for graduates.

Application deadline for all posts is Wednesday 11th April at 3pm.

Apply Now via NIJobs.com

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Waterways Ireland Research Survey

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

'Does your club hold activities on the following navigable waterways; Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Lough Erne, Lower Bann, Shannon, Barrow or Shannon-Erne? 

Waterways Ireland would like to hear from you.. Please share your club's use of these waterways via a short online survey 

Tourism along the inland waterways has been changing at an ever increasing rate. By keeping up with the tourism trends and understanding the users of the inland waterways, Waterways Ireland can make better decisions about future developments and attracting more visitors to the inland waterways. 

Please note all data is kept confidential and is combined in such a way that it is anonymous before it is shared publicly. 


Slow Adventure Weekend Set for Derry and Strabane

Friday, 15 September 2017

If you want to get away from it all, slow things down and reconnect with nature Derry and Strabane is the place to be on 23rd & 24th September. Escape to the stunningly beautiful rural setting where local food will be combined with outdoor activities for a truly authentic and natural experience.

With 8 unique experience packages being offered over the weekend you will have the opportunity to walk through the Sperrin Mountains foraging for food, see how artisan cheese is produced or have a go at traditional fishing.  You can also step out on an Irish walking tour, horse ride through the wilderness or go canoeing through scenic waters.

Knowledgeable guides will ensure your experience is like no other, go horse riding through the stunning grounds of Beech Hill Country House Hotel before enjoying cream tea in the elegant settings or paddle along the idyllic River Foyle by canoe before sampling some delicious beer from the Walled City Brewery.  If you’d prefer to keep your feet on dry ground then a guided walking tour through the rolling hills of the Sperrins followed by a delicious artisan meal or tour of a local organic farm may be more up your street.

These fantastic one of a kind experiences are being offered as part of a European funded transnational programme to promote slow adventures in Scotland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.  With added extras available for those that book during the weekend, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be one of the first to try these experiences on the 23rd or 24th September.  Many of the packages are also available to book all year round so you can get planning your next adventure.

Whether you want to escape for an entire weekend or have a day out with a difference there are lots of fantastic experiences to choose from.  For more information and to book your adventure visit www.SlowAdventureNI.com  

Click here to find out more

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