The staycation BOOM: the north west of Ireland

SUPM has taken a look at several UK destinations following huge amount of interest in so called staycations.

International travel is now back on the menu for 2022, however, for some, the stress and worry just isn’t worth it. Following on from the boom of 2021, there is a huge amount of interest in so called staycations. SUPM has taken a look at several UK destinations that may tickle the palette of SUPers, maybe something here could give you inspiration for a day out or longer, so here we go from north to south with the first of a dozen spots…

Northern Ireland
Far and Wild

The north west of Ireland, a recognisable geographic region spanning the jurisdictional border and comprising counties Derry, Donegal, Tyrone and Fermanagh, is one of the lesser-explored areas of the island of Ireland by visitors. 

It lends itself well to all forms of water sports – with a plethora of estuaries and coastline harbouring dramatic scenery and protected wildlife. This includes parts of the Giant’s Causeway coastline in Antrim and the Inishowen (Co. Donegal) coastline and the largest rivers in the north – the River Bann, Foyle, Swilly (one of Ireland’s only three fjords) – and the Fermanagh Lakelands.

Far and Wild is based in the centre of this inspiring landscape. It runs bespoke, destination-focused tours by kayak and SUP and emphasises the living heritage – both human and environmental – of land with a complex natural history.

The company is ramping up its SUP services for 2021, having cut its teeth delivering a city-based SUP experience over three years through the heart of Derry City. Legend-Derry has become a catch-phrase since the city was UK City of Culture in 2013- and the story of the place indeed sells itself. A modern centre-piece is the Peace Bridge – a walkers, cyclists and skaters’ friend allowing access along an increasingly popular greenway linking people easily with the marine environment of the River Foyle. Night-time creates an additional buzz – and moonlight or twilight trips by double sea kayak or on a SUP are among the companies specialities.

Inspired by the potential, Far and Wild is supported by Discover Northern Ireland’s capital development programme to provide three new SUP experiences this coming year.

  • Dragon SUP – a racing board, produced by Red Paddle – is taking to our local waterways for the first time, featuring four-person races on a 3k course using the Peace Bridge as a dramatic turning point.
  • For those who wish to focus more on attunement to place, SUP Yoga is another new service being rolled out for local people and domestic visitors, using a Hatha Board yoga dock as its centrepiece. 
  • And for the independent traveller, we have a new fleet of self-hire Shark SUPs we can’t wait to get out into the myriad of waterways we know and love well.

So if you are looking for the wild and wonderful, 2021 is an excellent time to dig that little bit deeper and explore the mysteries that the north west of Ireland can offer.
Lawrence McBride

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