When I opened my inbox to these two words I knew an invitation awaited that was right up my street.
In a couple of weeks I will be participating in a Slow Adventure courtesy of Derry and Strabane District Council in conjunction with the transnational Slow Adventure in the Northern Territories (SAINT) programme. Attending the launch of this new tourism concept at the Walled City Brewery I took the opportunity to meet a few of the business owners involved and find out what will be on offer.
Slow adventure fosters an engagement with nature and provides an opportunity to not only partake in an activity but also to learn aspects of the local area such as the produce, wildlife and environment.
Over ten new visitor packages in Derry and the surrounding rural areas are now available to experience and have been carefully crafted to make your introduction with slow adventure as memorable as possible. You can now walk through the Sperrin Mountains foraging for food along the way, bake your own bread the traditional way in a farmhouse kitchen, see how artisan cheese is produced or have a go at traditional fishing and cook your catch on a wild camp fire. Other packages include interactive cooking demonstrations with local hand-picked ingredients, Irish walking tours, horse riding in the wilderness as well as deer stalking, bird shooting and salmon fishing. Visitors to the area can experience these new slow adventure packages over the weekend of Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September as Derry City and Strabane District Council host the first ever ‘Slow Adventure Weekend’.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said “The council are delighted to bring this new adventure concept to Northern Ireland and more specifically to Derry, Strabane and the surrounding rural areas. We are the first and only area in Northern Ireland to offer slow adventure experiences and believe it is an amazing way to journey through the breath-taking landscapes and engage with the wilderness and nature”. At the launch, James Huey from the Walled City Brewery, one of the local tourism businesses offering a slow adventure package commented, “There is something very special about participating in a slow adventure. It’s not just about taking part in an activity, the crux of a slow adventure is to give people the chance to really get away from it all and create memorable experiences”.
I talked with Mabel from Bradkeel Social Farm who offers mindfulness and food tours, her farm trails will allow participants to connect with nature in a creative way providing a chance to observe, listen and reflect. Sounds blissful! Rosemary of Inish Adventures told me of the canoeing trips on the River Foyle and I also chatted with Pauline from Derry Equestrian and Martin from Landscape & Countryside Tours who will be taking me for my slow adventure tour. Both Pauline and Martin talked about how bespoke their respective tours are, horse riding is catered to ability and how involved you wish to be in attending to the horses, and the walks will focus on aspects of archaeology, folklore, heritage and ecology according to your interests.
We had a super cookery demonstration from William of Wild Strands, a wild food and maritime adventure tourism company providing authentic food experiences. William uniquely incorporates local history into his menus and uses my favourite ingredient – seaweed! We sample a beautiful and super healthy carrageen moss desert with rhubarb and fresh crab with seaweed infused mayonnaise – made by William and assisted by yours truly. Using local Broighter Gold rapeseed oils the mayo was delicious!
Visit www.slowadventureni.com to see what’s on offer during this year’s Slow Adventure Weekend and throughout the year to start planning your next adventure!
Check back in coming weeks for my Slow Adventure review in the Island Life section.