Should your dearly beloved suggest you ‘go take a hike’ for Valentine’s this weekend, don’t jump to the wrong conclusion just yet!

Cross-border outdoorsy types who prefer looking at the stars as opposed to across a crowded restaurant, are set to experience romance with a difference on Saturday night.

‘Far and Wild’, a Derry-based social enterprise established in 2011 to help people develop themselves through exposure to the remote outdoors, has organised a special night hike which is open to both couples and singletons.

The hike will take place in Moville on a countryside path under a star-lit sky and end in a cosy local pub to get warmed up afterwards!

‘Far and Wild’ is one of more than 50 tourism providers engaged in Derry City Council’s Rural Tourism Development Programme which is part funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI.

Lawrence McBride, of ‘Far and Wild’, explained that the ‘luv walk’ would follow a route that lovers have taken for decades and, a guide would relate the folklore attached to it on the night.

The walk along Inishowen Head is intended to be “fun, a bit different and a night to remember”. It will be along similar lines to the ‘Star Trek’ night hikes which ‘Far and Wild’ started last August to encourage people to come out and view the meteor showers.

It will start at Shroove beach and go over the headland to a distinctive landmark known as Portadoras, one of three established coastal walk routes mapped by Failte Ireland, Ireland’s tourism authority.

Lawrence said graffiti visible on rocks in the area is believed to have been messages scrawled by young sweethearts who frequented the beauty spot in the early 20th Century.

He said: “There is a lot of graffiti on rocks dating back from 1900 to the 1930s and ‘40s; I have been told that apparently during that time period, people used to go down and have dances there because they were not allowed to celebrate and do their dancing in other local venues. We often take people past that spot in the summer.”

Lawrence said the Valentine’s night hike would start at 8pm and last for two to three hours. He encouraged hikers who were romantically unattached to come along as well as couples. High heels are definitely not advisable!

Lawrence said: “You would need sturdy shoes or good trainers at least.” And, he doesn’t believe he or his colleagues will be missing out by working on what many people regard as the most romantic night of the year.

“I am lucky enough to be going away the next day so I am happy to make that sacrifice,” he joked. “We are not going to attract party-goers, this will be a certain type of audience as it’s that bit unique.”

Lawrence said the starry-eyed hikers would be looking at the night time ecology, flora and fauna and watching out for any wild animals that might appear such as foxes, badgers and otters as well as any unusual birds – of the feathered kind of course!

The Luv Walk is one of a number of events and initiatives run by Far and Wild including coasteering, kayaking in the beautiful rural setting of Faughan Valley. 

For further details and bookings, contact ‘Far and Wild’ on +44 7775911198 or email: [email protected]

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