BLESSINGBOURNE

Blessingbourne  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Blessingbourne Photo: © Michael Fisher

Blessingbourne near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone and close to the boundary with Fermanagh is a house with an interesting history that is being restored gradually by Colleen and Nick Lowry. One of the initiatives they have taken in order to attract business is to develop in the grounds trails for mountain bikes and for leisure cycling. Last year my daughter living in London came back for a short break and one of the trips she made was to the cycle trail, which she enjoyed. The layout was expanded recently with an investment of £500,000 and I now reproduce this blog from Mountain Bike NI, written by one of The Belles:

“Skinny Latte” At Blessingbourne Anyone?

We were delighted to see The Belles down at the official launch of Blessingbourne Phase II a few weeks ago and even more delighted when Andrea offered to write an open and honest review of the new trails for our MountainBikeNI.com Blog.

The Belles at Blessingbourne

Blessingbourne’s new makeover now offers a family-friendly blue trail (4km), pump track and a fast, bermy red trail (8km) full of skinnies, rollers and rock drops which will take many by surprise!  Read on to hear how Andrea and the rest of The Belles faired on this gem of a trail centre in Fivemiletown…

Now, since Blessingbourne opened its debut trails in June 2011, you have always been guaranteed a fantastically friendly pre / post ride coffee and chat, but now you can have a “Skinny Latte” of different sorts – given that is the name of one of the new trails on the extended network of routes.

The new trails now mean that this wonderful estate boasts a pump track, 4km of blue trail and 8km of red trail – and the fabulous variety with the extended trail network certainly satisfies all levels of rider.

The technical new additions include log rides, rock drops, table tops and berms – quite a few of which are not for the faint hearted, and certainly for the young at heart. Kids really do have no fear!

Perhaps the new trails should come with a noise-ometer? The whoops of kids as they hit the new berms for the first time are a joy to be heard! Not to mention the whoops of the “big” kids as they over and over again bomb down “Berming Rubber”. Now who wouldn’t want a “Skinny Latte” shortly after “Berming Rubber”??!!

One of the many remarkable things about Blessingbourne is that even without notable gradients, the extended trails certainly provide a real work out. Moreover, without being aware of gaining much height, there are a couple of extremely fast descending sections that give a real buzz!

The Belles at Blessingbourne

Blessingbourne’s most noteworthy feature is its ambience, at the heart of which is owners Colleen and Nick.

Whether you’re there for a half-day, full day or an overnight break, the superb trail centre they have created provides a “getaway from it all” feel. The spins and downtime live long in the memory, perhaps every so often also having a visible reminder from one or two spills along the trails!

What’s that saying? If you don’t fall off, you’re not trying hard enough? Either that, or you lost your balance on a log ride!

Next up for Andrea and her Belles is hopefully the Race Across America! One the most respected and longest running endurance sports events in the world, the RAAM inlcudes 3000 miles of cycling across 12 states, 88 counties and 350 communities ascending over 170,000 vertical feet.

The Belles

The Belles are seeking financial and commercial support to actually have a chance of making the start line in June 2014. They have key leads with media contacts with a view to TV publicity and would love to hear from local companies interested in getting on board. Check out the Belles Facebook Page or on Twitter @BellesOutdoor

Andrea Harrower:  The Belles

Eternal adventure seeker…. A sports enthusiast, who competes at a high level but who has as much passion for encouraging other females and kids into the great outdoors. Along with 3 other like-minded girls she founded The Belles in 2009!

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