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A Mix of Adventures in the MalinWaters

13 Sep 2016

Have you ever wanted to try something new, something a bit daring, perhaps a little bold? Are you feeling the need to get out into nature and be inspired? Start your adventures in the MalinWaters. With a rich mix of activities including surfing, kayaking, diving, angling, sailing and rock climbing – the hardest thing to decide is which to try first.

Donegal, Sligo and Northern Ireland form the surfing capital of Europe. Spring and autumn are considered the best times to don the wetsuits and grab a board to try your skills. But if that’s a bit too boisterous, why not try stand up paddle boarding, better known as SUP? It’s all the rage in Northern Ireland with one of the top destinations being Portrush on the Causeway Coast. Rossnowlagh in Donegal and Strandhill in Sligo are close behind in SUP popularity.

Scotland is known as one of the world’s top destinations for sea kayaking among its islands. The conditions can vary from beautiful sheltered bays and sandy beaches to awe-inspiring rugged coastlines battered by storms and some of the most powerful tidal races in the world.

Donegal offers fantastic coastline to explore by kayak, with the Inishowen Sea Kayaking Trail blazing the way. The new Foyle Canoe Trail stretches for 33 miles along the River Foyle and by Lough Foyle’s varied coastline. Starting at Lifford in Donegal, the trail passes through the historic walled city of Derry/Londonderry and finishes just beyond the bustling seaside town of Moville on the scenic Inishowen peninsula. The trail is suitable for open boating or touring kayak with both wild and official campsites available along the route.

If you want to stretch your season a bit, the dive season extends from March into October. Donegal and Sligo offer exceptional diving sites, including many wrecks along their rocky shores. Numerous diving clubs and charter outfits can supply you with the gear and adventure you seek.

While you’re at it in Donegal and Sligo, you might like to try your hands at rock climbing. Whether you’d like to climb sea cliffs or sea stacks, islands or inland mountains, you can find something for every level of experience and ability in climbing and mountaineering. Malin Head is well known for its spectacular beauty, and Gola Island is the epicentre of the Donegal climbing scene – with more than 200 single pitch routes from Diff to E5 on the granite sea cliffs and outcrops scattered around the island.

If something a bit more relaxing is your cup of tea, why not try angling or sailing these unspoiled waters teaming with ocean life? The North Atlantic Drift, a continuation of the Gulf Stream, bathes our rocky coastline with warmer waters that provide a milder climate than might be expected at these latitudes. The northern coast of Ireland provides plenty of opportunity for deep sea fishing as well as lough angling, and charters are readily available. Scotland provides varied sea fishing from both shore and boat, including fly fishing for salmon on its rivers.

The sailing along the coast of Northern Ireland transitions from beautiful sheltered lochs to wild stretches of battered cliffs along the northwest coast. With only 12 miles of water separating Ballycastle in Northern Ireland and Argyll in Scotland, a grand adventure can be had in three completely different sailing regions.

There is also plenty of opportunity to view marine mammals in these pristine waters, with whales, dolphins and porpoises in increasing numbers and basking sharks making regular appearances as well. Quaint fishing villages, warm pubs, and majestic scenery complete the picture.

So what are you waiting for? Head over this way, and try something new…