As I write this article, the sun is splitting the sky but no doubt when you are reading it the rain won’t be too far away and that’s what makes our country great.
When the weather is good it’s one of the nicest places to live, and when it’s bad well you just have to appreciate it is the rain that is making our landscape green and beautiful.
Even though our climate is so unpredictable you can still get out and enjoy everything that the area has to offer.
In this week’s article I’m going to look at some of the places on our doorsteps where you can explore and carry out different activities.
Ever since I can remember I have always loved a trip to the Gortin Glens, and I enjoy it even more now that I can take my son along with me. The forest park is set up perfectly for families. There are lovely walks, ducks to feed, deer to see and now they have sculpted a beautiful play park in the shape of some of the animals in the forest.
Hours can be spent exploring through the trees, throwing sticks over one side of the bridge and seeing whose comes out first on the other side, riding your bikes along some of the trails and finishing with a picnic, and that’s just the forest park. You also have the Gortin lakes which I remember kayaking in when I was younger, and going down the zip line – which back then felt like you were going about 100 miles an hour.
A brisk walk up Mullaghcarn Mountain is always a breathtaking sight at the top on a clear day and there are loads of other walks around the area you can try out.
On the other side of town near Clanabogan you have Pigeon Top Mountain and all the surrounding walks and trails. Again right on your doorstep it too is a sight to behold once you reach the summit.
The next time the sun is out take a walk or run to the Grange Park. The council have changed the layout of the band stand and have added exercise equipment for you to get that extra bit of training in. Even a walk around the path will help you get those few extra steps up on your Fitbit. When Autumn hits you can always try and find the ultimate conker from the mighty Chestnut trees.
Walks, runs and cycle paths
If you’re like me and don’t fancy running, walking or cycling through the town, why don’t you meet your friends somewhere for a quiet walk where you can see plenty of green and less cars. One of my favourite runs is out the Gortin road and I cut in at Coronation Cottages. I follow the road until it takes me out by Strathroy Dairy, a beautiful route which takes you past a lovely church and along part of the river Strule.
Another area which is great for a walk/cycle is around the Cranny and Lover’s Retreat. There is a great playpark for the kids and along the river path there are a few stations in which you can carry out exercises.
I was delighted to hear Parkrun had started up in Omagh as I ran the event a few times in Belfast and there was always a great buzz about the place. One of the best things for me was that it takes you through Arleston Park. This is a place that not many people doing the Parkrun would have set foot in previously.
It’s another area where I would cycle with my son and somewhere you can get in those hill sprints.
Davagh Forest and Blessingbourne Estate
If you’re a keen cyclist or even if you want to test yourself on a mountain bike trail then these two places are less than a 30 minute drive from Omagh. Blessingbourne Estate just outside Fivemiletown is a great day out for all the family and you also have the option to hire bikes on site. I also went around the mountain trails in Davagh Forest, near Broughberg and was surprised by the facilities they had on offer. If you get a chance I would highly recommended visiting any of these two places.
Only 15-20 minutes from Omagh, this is a great place to visit. Perfect if you want to go for a run, walk, cycle or on the adventure trail with the kids. I was on a walk with my mum and son recently and instead of taking the shorter route we ended up walking the long way round, a very nice trail all the same. The coffee shop is also a great way to finish your activity; you can even reward yourself with a little treat.
There are a range of outdoor sports available such as kayaking with numerous companies offering day excursions of team building sessions.
If you’re not into your extreme sports you could always try golf and at the minute Omagh Golf Club are running a special rate for beginner golfers.
Cuilcagh Mountain is about 12 miles the other side of Enniskillen towards the Marble Arch Caves and is definitely worth the drive. It’s a very nice, and challenging enough, walk. The boarded walkway guides you right to the summit and is a spectacular sight from the bottom and top of the mountain. Fermanagh also has a lot of other activities on offer, especially water based sports.
Just get up and move
It doesn’t matter if it’s a walk, kick about in the park or climbing a mountain, there is so much on offer right at your door step. Make a list of some of the places you would like to visit and see how many you can complete over the summer.