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Winter sports fun for Camping Club Youth

Enjoying the Viper Run

Enjoying the Viper Run

The Club’s Youth members love a bit of winter camping. Read Youth Public Relations Officer Sam Canfield's report on three recent winter meets packed with fun, games and friendship.

At the end of January Central Counties Youth gathered for their annual Winter Youth Meet at Copt Oak Village Hall, Leicestershire.

Some 39 Camping Club Youth and Senior Youth members enjoyed an activity-packed weekend under the guidance of ten Youth Leaders, four helpers and Central Counties Region Vice Chair Gordon Barlow who dropped in for a visit on Saturday.

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This is a guest blog entry. All views are that of the author and not necessarily shared by the Club. Mention of any product or service on the blog does not constitute endorsement by the Club. All blog posts are moderated before going live.

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Northern Ireland awaits

I’m not sure what surprised people the most when I told them our plans for February half-term, the fact we were camping or the fact we were going to Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is pretty much the only visitor destination that comes to most people’s minds. There’s no denying the World Heritage Site is a breathtaking experience but to assume this is the only reason for paying a visit is to miss out on so much more.

BunkA week of touring this beautiful and friendly land has given us a family holiday rich in experiences, landscapes, history, culture and exceptional food. My overriding impression is one of the people. From petrol station attendants to tour guides, taxi drivers and shopkeepers, every single person we encountered made us feel welcome. Maybe it’s the Irish lilt that charmed me, but I felt a real and genuine warmth from the people we met here. There is a sense that people have time for you.

There is so much more to define Northern Irelands than its Troubles. Our days spent in the cities of Belfast and Londonderry/Derry gave a sense of rejuvenation. There are vibrant food cultures, contemporary restaurants and bars as well as new cultural ‘quarter’ - areas built to attract visitors.

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Ali Ray

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Ali Ray is as passionate about camping as she is about eating and cooking with locally produced food. You can read more from Ali in Camping & Caravanning and online.

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Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway

Ever since seeing the Giant’s Causeway featured on Blue Peter when I was child, I’ve wanted to go. You might think the story of the giant who built his path across the water to Scotland in order to have a fight with his enemy was the part that captured my imagination. In fact it was the sight of this otherworldly landscape, of black hexagonal-shaped columns rising up out of the sea that sparked my curiosity. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t man-made. For years, I’ve had a burning desire to see it, and touch it, for myself, just to be sure.

Ali Giant's CausewayA couple of days spent touring the Causeway Coast should definitely be on every holiday itinerary when visiting Northern Ireland. There is plenty to take in beyond the legendary causeway itself. Hugging the coastline on the A2, we made the most of the bright blue skies and stopped to explore beaches, temples, castle ruins and market towns. The beaches are so long and wide here that many people drive along them. And the surf is brilliant here too if that’s your thing.

The scenery on this coastal road may be full of drama and beauty but nothing, in my humble opinion, comes close to the magic of the Giant’s Causeway itself. The walk from the visitor centre towards the causeway takes a good 20 minutes downhill on a coastal pathway that obscures the main attraction from view until the final bend. We chose to go with a guide to make the most of the experience. He regaled us with stories of legends and giants and also explained the natural history that created these famous basalt columns formed more than 60 million years ago when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water. We had a fair amount of contact with water ourselves as by the time we reached the bend, known as windy gap, we were treated to freezing, horizontal rain driving through a gap in the rocks.

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Ali Ray

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Ali Ray is as passionate about camping as she is about eating and cooking with locally produced food. You can read more from Ali in Camping & Caravanning and online.

Read other posts by Ali Ray