Tyrone and Sperrins Visit: Campsie Karting

Before two days ago, I’d never been go-karting! And I can honestly say, I’ll be back! On Saturday morning, as part of our visit to Tyrone and Sperrins, we headed to Campsie Karting which is situated in Campsie, not far from Derry.

On arrival we were greeted by Eamonn who talked us through the 400m indoor racing circuit, including the technical corners, and got us set up in our racing gear, such as suits, helmets and gloves.

Then it was straight into the go-karts, myself in position to go first out of the pits, with Barry coming after me just a few seconds later. With only 2 pedals- accelerator and brake, it was time to get racing!

The first few laps we were just getting used to the track (57 seconds and 48 seconds, for example) but by lap 8 I was down in the 30s and raring to go. Soon, I was learning how to go round the corners much quicker, without having to slow right down and adding seconds to my time.

15 minutes later we stopped for a short break and were given the all-important  results. While I had managed one lap more than Barry in the 15 minutes (21 compared to 20), he had managed to get a faster lap than me and so won that section! I was raging!

His fastest was 36.064 seconds, while mine was 36.093 seconds. So, we’re talking a fraction of a second here- it takes longer to blink, Eamonn said! (maybe I’m a sore loser, but I kept reminding Barry of that fact!)

So, that was me- determined to beat him in the second half. The red mist came over me and I zoomed round the track as fast as I could! Concentrating so hard, I was calm, I was focused and I was “in the zone.” Surely I’d won?…..

The second results were in…both of us managed 25 laps in the 15 minutes but he beat me again! His fastest was 31.788 seconds on Lap 23, while my fastest was 32.331 on Lap 10! About half a second faster! Gutted, once again!

I think I did myself proud though, taking four seconds of my time in the second half and not too far behind the fastest of the week- (The Top 12 ranging from 28.980 to 30.134 seconds).

We had such a laugh (even if I was defeated!) as the go-karting is great craic. There are different packages for corporate groups or hen and stag parties, for example, as well as specially designed junior karts for the younger ones. (Just as a side note, it’s not just go-karting at Campsie Karting but paintballing, crazy golf and a shooting range.)

I’ve got the go-karting bug so I’ll beat Barry yet!

 Campsie Karting, Eglinton

 Geared up and ready to go

 400m circuit

 Barry racing 

VIDEO – Me racing at Campsie Karting

 Top racers 

Action packed weekend in Tyrone and Sperrins

As I sit and write this, I’m nursing some sore leg muscles! It’s all because I’m just back from an action-packed weekend in Tyrone and Sperrins which, amongst so much more, included mountain biking. I reckon it’s the first time I’d been on a bike in about 20 years so no doubt, there were some muscles used that hadn’t been used in a long, long time!

It was all part of my trip west to check out what the Tyrone and Sperrins region has to offer in terms of a “staycation”; that is, seeing what’s available when it comes to hotels, attractions, adrenaline-fuelled activities, for example, right on our own doorstep.

Honestly I had such a class time that there’s just too much to say, so I’m going to do a blog on each place we went, because I couldn’t do them all justice in just this one!

But as a quick overview; the itinerary was drawn up and off we headed early on Easter Saturday morning straight to Campsie (Egliton, Derry~Londonderry) for our first stop at Campsie Karting for some fast-paced go-karting. There, my inner Lewis Hamilton came out and I was determined to beat Barry! Check out whether I managed to in my next blog.

Barry and I at Campsie Karting, Eglinton

After the go-karting we made our way down to Omagh where we spent almost three hours discovering the Ulster American Folk Park and the tales of the Irish men, women and children who emigrated to America. It was great to see a typical 19th Century “Ulster Street”, before boarding the ship and exiting on to the “American Street”, reminiscent of old ports such as New York or Boston.

Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh 

At closing time, we made the short trip to Cookstown for a lovely dinner and overnight stay at the Greenvale Hotel situated on Drum Road. I must highlight the Super King Size bed in particular- a perfect night’s sleep! And Barry’s “Mixed Grill”, which was so big, it might be the first time he’s ever left food on his plate!

 Our hotel room at Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown

On Easter Sunday it was up early to go mountain biking in Davagh Forest, with the official trailhead provider, Outdoor Concepts. Davagh is right in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains so a stunning untouched landscape, but we decided on the more gentle “green” trail rather than the “red trail” with narrower tracks and rock slab drops!

 Look at me go! Mountain biking in Davagh Forest

Finally, it was back on four wheels to make our way to the last part of the Tyrone and Sperrins experience- The Jungle NI in Moneymore. There, we took the “Tarzan Tree Top Adventure Course” which saw us cross rope bridges and tackle various obstacles high up in the trees! A few wibbles and wobbles along the way but I made it! We ended the afternoon being strapped inside a giant ball and rolled down a hill- otherwise known as zorbing! I screamed the whole way down but it was absolutely hilarious.

Upside down in the zorbing ball! The Jungle NI

We got back on Sunday evening absolutely buzzing after the whole weekend- from the adrenaline rush of the go karting and hearing the history of our forefathers, right through to seeing the lovely landscape of the Sperrin Mountains by bike and the rush of being thrown down a big hill!

Visiting Tyrone and Sperrins was a great way to spend our Easter weekend and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for that sense of adventure “staycation”.