National Trails Day 3rd October 2010

National Trails Day Sunday 3rd October

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY is a celebration of Ireland’s wonderful variety of trails and a chance for everyone to enjoy some of our most beautiful countryside, forests, mountains, rivers and lakes.
On Sunday, October 3rd, over 20,000 people took part in Ireland’s 3rd National Trails Day! There were 186 events available across the whole island guided by experts in the outdoors.
CANI along with Clubs and Outdoor providers held 6 of these events. CANI, C3, Lisburn City Paddlers, and Mid Ulster Canoe and Kayak Club had a great trip on the Blackwater.
Here’s what Graeme Larmour from Lisburn City Paddlers had to say about the day…..
Sunday 3rd October saw a large group of people (46 in total) meet up at the Moy for a wee jaunt down to Bond’s Bridge on the River Blackwater as part of the National Trails Day in association with CANI. Once the open boats were off loaded and rafted together it was almost time to set off. Blue Barrels were duly issued to the new people and they were told it was to keep their packed lunches dry, there was a look of bewilderment on a few faces and gasps “No one said anything about rapids” .
The weather was fantastic and it was great to see a joint effort from C3, The Newry Guys and Gals, MUCK and LCP in getting everyone down the river, past the Argory to Bond’s Bridge where the blue barrels were cracked open along with a few flasks. Everyone had a great day out and I am already looking forward to next year’s event as part of the National Trails Day. It was great to see Debbie and Maureen travelling light. I don’t think the gunwales on their open boat have been as far above the surface EVER.
Share Holiday Village along with CANI had another excellent trip on Lough Erne. The paddle was held at Crom Estate and 8 people participated on this paddle. Here are some comments from Jacqui McVicker at Share…….
On Sunday 3rd October 2010 two Share Centre instructors welcomed eight enthusiastic adults and children new to canoeing for the National Trails day. After an induction in the basics they set off from Crom estate and ventured around the neighbouring islands. Enjoying the scenery, picnic lunch and even a race or two an excellent day was had by all. Good feedback was received and we are looking forward to the next trails day in the area, with even more keen participants.
CANI and Peak Discovery organised an event at Castleward which ended up being postponed on Friday due to the weather forecast, the forecast was giving very high winds. What a day it actually turned out to be, the weather was excellent, boy did we get wrong “thanks met office”. If we would have only known the weather was going to turn out the way it did the event could have gone ahead. This paddle had 26 people booked on to have a go at Sea Kayaking or Open Canoeing.
Mobile Team Adventure put a paddle on at Lock Keepers Cottage Belfast River Lagan and had 40 people participate. John Hubbocks from Mobile Team Adventure had this to say about the day…….
Mobile Team Adventure ran free “Come and Try It” canoeing sessions for groups, individuals and families on National Trails Day which was a resounding success.
On the morning of the event we realised that due to fast and high water conditions we would either have to cancel or relocate to a different venue. We decided to go ahead with the event as we had over 40 people booked into the two sessions and did not want to let them down.
With the event now running from Shaw’s Bridge, we had people turn up, get their safety equipment on and get on the water within minutes. The event itself was really geared towards listening to the customer, and finding out what the hoped to achieve from their canoeing session. With this dynamic attitude, we found that the two sessions that ran where a world apart. The first session was a relaxed expedition from the canoe steps up to the Gilchrist Bridge and back. The second session turned into a ‘Splash-n-Dash’ session with everyone including the instructors returning like drowned rats, but with a huge smile and sense of accomplishment to boot.All in all, National Trails Day was a huge success all round with great marketing and support from CAAN, SportNI and CANI.
We are looking forward to a bigger and better National Trails Day in 2011!
Action Outdoors had a paddle on Strangford Lough at Delamont Country Park, 23 people participated on the paddle. Chis Armstrong from Action Outdoors explained that……
It was a perfect day for a paddle on Strangford Lough. The tide was in, the sun was shining and the water was mirror flat. A total of 23 paddlers took to the water at Delamont Country Park with Action Outdoors, which is now based in the park. With families, individuals and couples, many of whom had never paddled before, the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail was an ideal location to explore the beauty of the islands in this tranquil part of the Lough. With an experienced instructor, learning a few of the basic strokes was easy, and enough for every to get the canoeing bug.
Lisburn City Paddlers also held an event at the Lagan. Gillian Barclay recalled that….
On the bright afternoon on Sunday the 3rd October, a small gathering of people met for a trip around a small and history filled area of the lagan river at Lisburn. This event was one of many being carried out across the country as part of the national trails day. This one in particular had been organised by Cathy Burns from Lagan Canal Restoration Trust & Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. The small band of people partaking, were comprised not only of kayakers from Lisburn City Paddlers, but also of walkers and a few motor boats as well. The trip was not only fun but interesting and informative with Cathy giving talks about the history of various lock gates throughout. Of course the only way to end a pleasant afternoons outing was with tea, coffee and tray bakes graciously provided by Cathy and co. However it was sometime around then that the LCP members somehow got lost… Big Col decided it was time to follow his stomach and made the decision that we try to find a get out and proceed on foot, this was more easily said than done and resulted in more than one nettle sting on Big Col’s face! Tea and buns went down a treat and we then continued our trip back down river….
Without CAAN’S tremendous effort in organising Northern Ireland’s part in National Trails Day Ireland we would not have had such a positive results.
CANI would like to say a big thanks to the following for working in partnership with CANI or organising their own recreational paddle for National Trails Day: Sport Northern Ireland, CAAN Countryside Access and Activities Network, Share Holiday Village, Peak Discovery, Action Outdoors, Mobile Team Adventure, C3 Craigavon Canoe Club, Lisburn City Paddlers and Mid Ulster Canoe and Kayak Club.

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