Free to go wild at the Beech Hill this weekend

Enjoying the trails at the Beech Hill Hotel Amy Hutcheon, Henry Hutcheon, Peter Hutcheon, Shane Brunker (Far and Wild) Erin Hutcheon, Isla McBride and Lucy Healy.

Enjoying the trails at the Beech Hill Hotel Amy Hutcheon, Henry Hutcheon, Peter Hutcheon, Shane Brunker (Far and Wild) Erin Hutcheon, Isla McBride and Lucy Healy.

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The last time I was at the Beech Hill Hotel I was wearing a long white wedding dress and drinking a glass of champagne on my wedding day.

On Saturday morning as I stood in the same spot, the glamour was left behind as I wore my husband’s rather unfashionable waterproof trousers, teamed with unmatching bicycle helmet ready for a day of action.

The family had been asked to try out some of the activities which will be offer at the Beech Hill this Sunday as part of the Get Outdoors weekend and World War II Family Fun Day.

Local people are being encouraged to get outdoors and take part in one of over 70 free outdoor activity events on offer.

In Derry you can choose from ‘Greening the Foyle’, a series of 6 eco-tours by kayak on the Foyle catchment funded by the Loughs Agency on Saturday or attend the family fun day at the Beech Hill complete with cycling event, 1k fun run, and wild cookery demonstration on Sunday.

I’m not exactly what you would describe as an “outdoors type of person”.

I only got my first bike when I was 31, so I’m no expert on two wheels. But the guys on hand from Far and Wild who’ll be looking after the activities this weekend took us all under their wing.

Firstly there was a trailer for baby Henry, which was attached to the back of my husband’s bike.

Then our guide Shane Brunker took time explaining how all the gears worked.

He even set up an obstacle course in the car park so we could get used to our bikes. This proved invaluable to me (I normally get into one gear and stay there).

Believe me, these guys have the patience of saints - I was a pretty difficult student. But it doesn’t matter how much or little you know about cycling, you’re in safe hands.

Then it was off for a cycle on the beautiful trails along the grounds of the hotel.

If you haven’t been to see the trails at Ardmore then you have a treat in store. I even managed to cycle down a few hills without falling on my backside.

Some of the steeper slopes did prove a little challenging, though, and I’ll admit that a few times I got off my bike and pushed it. The two nine year-olds with me proved to be a lot fitter and a lot better at cycling.

However with Shane’s help I managed to do better than I thought I would.

But rest assured Bradley Wiggan needn’t fear for his gold medal at the next Olympics.

After the cycling, it was off to do a bit of forest detective work climbing trees and taking a scramble through the river.

The kids just loved it .

Afterwards there was just enough time to take part in a bush craft cookery session cooking some delicious Bannock bread.

Local people can try out the events on Sunday from 11am – 5pm at the Beech Hill Hotel.