The former Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, has officially opened Ireland’s first zip trekking course of its kind at Oakfire Adventures Ltd at Glenshane Road in Faughan Valley.
The building of the course was financially assisted by £50,000 in funding from the Rural Business Investment Scheme as part of the Rural Development Programme.
The scheme provides grants to micro and small rural businesses to support job creation and stimulate the local economy.
The new course consists of three single zip line crossings between 230m and 250m in length and a double crossing of 500m which cross over the dramatic Faughan Valley landscape of woodland, water and cliffs.
The initial ground works of the project were washed away during last summer’s floods forcing Oakfire to restart the construction from scratch.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor McHugh congratulated everyone involved in the successful completion of the project.
“This is a significant day for the local adventure sector as Oakfire Adventures open this unique Zip Trekking course – the first of its kind in Ireland,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate Richard Allen and the team at Oakfire who have had the foresight and vision to pursue this project which was not without its difficulties after last summer’s heavy flooding.
“The new course is good news for our local economy, creating 2.5 new full time equivalent jobs and I am sure it will attract visitors from all over Ireland and beyond.”
William Lamrock, Chair of Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, expressed his pleasure that the funding was yet again making a real difference to rural businesses in the area.
“The Rural Business Investment Scheme plays a key role in giving rural businesses a helping hand in growing sustainably and realising their potential,” he said.
“The funding for this project has allowed Oakfire to realise its undoubted potential, grow the business and crucially, create new jobs.
“The development will also add to the existing visitor experience in Derry and Strabane and can open up new tourism markets.”