WalkNI.com Your definitive guide to walking in Northern Ireland

CAAN celebrates a decade...


Hannah Shields, the first Northern Irish woman to summit Mount Everest and Sammy Wilson, Minister of the Environment joined the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) to celebrate their 10th anniversary and to launch their new Operational Plan for 2009 to - 2012. The celebration took place on Thursday 23 April 2009 at Castle Ward, near Strangford, Downpatrick, one of the many National Trust properties popular for outdoor recreational activities.

The Minister officially launched CAAN's Operational Plan and the celebrations continued with Hannah Shields giving a slide show of her recent adventures in the outdoors and in order to earn lunch along side the other delegates she participated in a range of exciting adventure activities, facilitated by the Clearsky Adventure Centre, NI orienteering and the National Trust this included climbing, orienteering, archery, a nature walk and a Leave No Trace Awareness Session.

The event was hosted by Dawson Stelfox MBE, Chair of CAAN and the first Irish man to summit Mount Everest, Dawson highlighted "that for the next three years CAAN would be focusing on creating more access into the outdoors, some of the new exciting projects we are working on at the moment will help to achieve this, we also want to continue to improve what we have already developed and produced. We will continue to build the foundation for CAAN's new vision - Inspiring Outdoor Recreation".

A number of high profile speakers highlighted the importance of CAAN's projects over the last ten years. These included the award winning canoe trails, Ecotrails, Waymarked Way Walking Trails, Family Mountain Bike Trails, Horse Riding Trails, activity websites and brochures.

Hannah Shields, the first Northern Irish woman to climb Mount Everest commented that: "The work carried out by CAAN has had a tremendous impact on opening up the countryside in Northern Ireland and also in informing people of how they can access this countryside, hopefully this had a significant contribution to the health and well being of the nation, and activity tourism.

CAAN is a network organisation responsible for developing, managing and promoting outdoor activities including walking, cycling, canoeing and adventure activities throughout Northern Ireland by working in partnership with a wide range of organisations. CAAN was established in 1999 in response to the publication of Northern Ireland's first Countryside Recreation Strategy in November 1998. For more information on CAAN please visit www.countrysiderecreation.com.

CAAN has developed a range of ‘one stop shop' websites for each activity area to help and encourage people to take part in outdoor activities. For information on adventure activities please visit - www.outdoorni.com, on walking - www.walkni.com, on cycling - www.cycleni.com, and canoeing - www.canoeni.com.

The CAAN is supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), Sport NI and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) Inland Waterways and Inland Fisheries Branch.


For more information, click here.