A glorious weekend spent in the Mournes doing our Mountain Skills Assessment – the weather was incredible with clear blue skies & sunshine both days. The views breathtaking all around us.

Fantastic weekend with a great group, lots of climbing & navigating our way around

Thanks to Ciaran and Stephen, our assessors from @tollymore_noc

A celebration for ALL WOMEN 💕

When I began Ella Mor in 2020 – my aim was to share my love and passion for the Binevenagh Area – I wanted to showcase this absolute gem of a land we lived in. I wanted to inspire other women to get outdoors into nature. I wanted to give them the opportunity to try new adventures, to step outside their comfort zone, and to grow in confidence – even dance like no one is watching – I wanted them to experience nature in all its glory.

This was my dream.

A quote I read over so many times, which relates to what I want to achieve with Ella Mor. ‘I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn’t give up’

Today, on International Women’s Day, I have shared an action shoot photo of a young lady who has inspired me. I suppose I was just a girl chasing my dreams when I began Ella Mor, but my values of what I wanted to achieve have always stayed the same & I hoped someday others would recognise these.

So when @hayley_mcginnis ask if she could use Ella Mor for her final major project at college I felt really proud- when she sent me through her proposal of what her project was I was completely speechless & a little emotional if I’m honest.

Part of her proposal read….

‘ I have been greatly inspired by the business that Heather has built for herself and the values that she promotes of women’s empowerment & dreaming big! I will capture the spirit of Binevenagh, the hard work & love that has been put into this business’

She has completely captured it and in doing so has inspired me to keep going & follow my dreams.

To be involved in Hayleys project is an absolute honour. She will be joining me on my adventures over the next few weeks & I hope I can inspire her to follow her dreams with her project & every success she has going forward on the future.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY TO YOU ALL 💕

A little change of scenery over the past few days as I attended the Ireland Association of Adventure Tourism Conference held the Slieve Donard Hotel Co Down.

A great two day event with activities provided by Life Adventure Centre in Castlewellen Forest Park. I enjoyed a bit of mountain biking followed by SUP. I also tasted the most delicious seafood chowder by Mourne Larder.

I spoke to some amazing businesses, listened to lots of inspirational speakers and I even got to meet Damian Browne @auld_stock.

What a fantastic few days at the Adventure Tourism Conference. Thanks to all involved for bringing it altogether – Newry & Mourne District Council, Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, Failte Ireland.

 

Out of the training gear & into something a little more classy for the Local Women’s Business Awards at the Europa Hotel Belfast.

I was honoured to be nominated as a finalist for Business of the Year in the Health & Wellbeing Category – although I didn’t win I was so proud to get this far.

Since beginning Ella Mor in 2020 I have thoroughly enjoyed each stage of this wonderful journey & I look forward to what lays ahead.

BusinessAwards

By Endurance We Conquer 

 

From Larne to Limavady

Our challenge was set.

Four wonderful women

Would make it, you bet!

 

Jonny’s super red van

With Arnie at the wheel

Got us to the starting line

After he’d cooked us the best meal!

 

The winding coast road

Was a joy to begin.

No better way to see our wee country

Than to cycle and take it all in!

 

A bun at Cushendun

Was the energy we needed

To take on the terrifying Torr

But of course, we succeeded!

 

The coast road was high

And our spirits were lifted

But first a fish supper at Morton’s

Then we’d get the bums shifted!

 

Our personal chef and our driver

Would meet us at Carrick-a-Rede

For a kit change and collection

Our transitions needed more speed!

 

The sun had now set

And the long hike began.

Over rocks, stiles and pathways

We talked, joked and sang.

 

Upon reaching Dunsevrick

The folks back at home

Thought the strava was broken

But it was a food stop – they might have known!

 

The lights of Portstewart

We thought we never would reach.

We saw cats, we saw bats

We even took a stroll on the beach!

 

Though the muscles were tired

We got on the bikes once again.

More hills ahead and the weather had shifted

But it helped when we saw some good friends!

 

Bishop’s Road was a breeze

As we were soon homeward bound.

The last hike to the Trig point

More energy we somehow found.

 

The kayaks were waiting

With Damien, Peter and Ray.

The experts would guide us

And show us the way.

 

We were home!  We had done it!

A strong female team!

Larne to Limavady

Was no longer a dream!

 

“By endurance we conquer”

All you need is a plan,

Food, friendship and laughter

And perhaps a man with a van!

 

By Amanda Thompson 

Business Award Finalist

Absolutely delighted & honoured to be a finalist in Local Women Magazine / Firmus Energy Business Awards 2022 for Health & Wellbeing.

My heart is filled with so much joy to get this far.

Each little stage of my dreams for Ella Mor is coming together & it’s all thanks to everyone who has believed in me, giving me support especially through the hard times & encouraged me to keep going to follow my dream!

Thank you,

Heather x

Have you ever driven the Causeway Coastal Route, known as ‘One of the World’s Great Road Journeys?’

On Sunday 30th October we will be taking on this incredible journey on bike, by foot and even kayaking.  You might think to yourself why? Well, let me explain in 2020 I decided to promote the Causeway Coastal, in particular the Binevenagh Area situated on the North Coast of Northern Ireland which is part of the Causeway Coastal Route.  My business Ella Mor is now part of the Northern Ireland Embrace A Giant Spirit Brand for the Binevenagh Area with outdoor activities, local walking tours and experiences. So what better way to promote an area even more is to explore it all yourself so you can share your own personal experiences with any visitors coming to Northern Ireland 🙂

I believe you should constantly challenge yourself and I wanted to offer others the chance to join me.  I asked the question to all my gym members and three incredible ladies – Cherry Love, Amanada Thompson and Judith Smith all stepped up to the ‘unknown’ challenge.

We began our training every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6am during July and August combined with gym sessions.  Biking was new to Judith and Amanada but it wasn’t long until they were cycling up Ballycarton Forest and believe me it’s a tough training route.

Next mission was to overcome the fear of kayaking. None of the girls had kayaked before so this was going to be fun lol.  With lots of laughter, achy arms, slightly wet and sore core muscles we had mastered it under the watchful eye of Peter Cole – although at times our steering could be questioned lol.

Our training over the past few months has been fun. We have laughed, we have almost cried, we have grown as a team.  We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses but together we are ‘stronger’.

Let me explain each stage of our challenge:

Our aim is to cycle from Larne along the Coastal Route passing through Ballygally, Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall, Cushendun, up over Torr Head into Ballycastle stopping for the famous Morton’s Fish and Chips before making our way to Carrick a Rede – Stage 1 complete.

The next stage of our journey is by foot.  We begin from Carrick a Rede and make our way along the Coastal Path to Ballintoy, crossing White Park Bay to Portbradden, Dunservick, passing through the Giant’s Causeway and onwards towards Portballintrae into Bushmills and Portrush completing Stage 2 in Portstewart.

It’s back on the bikes again as we begin Stage 3.  This stage will take us from Portstewart to Coleraine passing Castlerock, Downhill back on home turf now as we cycle up Bishops Road to Gortmore View Point before descending downhill towards Magilligan Point.

The next stage of our challenge depends on the weather and what time we hit Magilligan Point as the tide is going to play a big part in what we can do.  All being well our aim is to enter the water at Magilligan Point and kayak to Swan’s Bridge – if this fails we do have an alternative which will see us paddle 6 miles along the River Roe.

After our kayaking section the final Stage of our challenge is to hike the Binevenagh Loop hitting the trig point for the final climb.  This stage will test us all mentally as we have to cross the finish line at Swan’s Bridge to continue on the final leg to complete the challenge.

This is going to be one heck of an adventure and to share it with Cherry, Amanada and Judith is pretty amazing. This is going to be a journey like no other – it’s going to be truly Epic and the memories are going to last a lifetime (after the pain fades away lol)

To finish the final stage on Binevenagh is completing the final piece of my Ella Mor journey so far.  For me Binevenagh has a spirit that ignited my soul in 2020 which has taken me on an incredible journey so far and I can’t wait to see where it leads me from here.

Heather_Hiking Cherry_Mountain Judith_Biking Amanda_Biking

 

 

 

Want to know what Pulse Fitness Adventures is all about – check out my video! We had so much fun making this video, it truly captures everything about Pulse Fitness!

 

International Women’s Day 2021 #ChoosetoChallenge – really got me thinking.

How could I choose to Challenge myself in a way that could possibly inspire other ladies but follow the government guidelines at the same time.

I had talked about hiking from Benbradagh to Binevenagh passing our stunning coastline along the way on a number of occasions with Cherry since the first lockdown & when I suggested doing it for International Women’s Day I was delighted she was up for the Challenge too.

The plan was to start on Benbradagh Mountain on Sunday 7th March to be at the top to watch the sunrise and finish on top of Binevenagh Mountain on Monday 8th March for International Women’s Day.

Benbradagh heather nicholl sunbeamsAs we made our way to the peak of Benbradagh the golden rays of sunbeams filled the morning sky, awaking the mountains and valleys as far as the eyes could see. The sun continued to rise and in all its glory in the blink of an eye as we reached the top it made its appearance shining brightly on the land around us. Standing in awe of such beauty, not a word spoken between us we watched an extraordinary performance unfold in front of our eyes – a new day was beginning.

With pack-backs filled with all essentials – food, first aid kit, extra clothing, lights etc off we set on what was going to be an epic journey which would lead us across mountains, through forests and on the occasional road – we had no time scale, no pressure just a fun-filled adventure, just the two of us.

We were unstoppable as we set off laughing our way across Benbradagh. On reaching the bottom I was ready for food, probably the excitement of what lay ahead more than hunger – nothing beats a chicken bap and a coffee at 8.30am to get you going though.

Refuelled we set off again making our way towards Donald’s Hill, the mountain terrain working our legs with each step as we plodded along to the top. From here the views were incredible, we could see Binevenagh, The Sperrin, Donegal and beyond. We took time to capture the beauty, a few selfies of course and then off we set again following the North Sperrin Way markers to Terrmain Road with one final climb to the Windmill on the Cam.

Reaching the path our pace lifted as we trekked to the bottom – I was ready for food again – this time a ham bap with Taylor Cheese and onion hit the spot – My favourite!

Fed and watered off we set towards Drumrammar, through Springwell and into Grange Park, all on forest paths – we listened to the birds singing softly, the wind whistling through the trees, it was so peaceful until I started singing a little tune and Cherry joined in too lol.

Coming out of the Grange we knew our next part was mainly on roads, a long stretch pounding the tarmac which was sore on the ‘ole’ hips. Each step hurt but we plodded on, spirits high even through the weather had changed. The rain was starting to beat down on us and a cold water began to blow – time to add those extra layers and get off the road onto softer ground. Thankfully it was short lived.

We were on a mission and nothing would stop us apart from an unexpected surprise – A delivery of Tim Hortons Donuts – OMG DELICIOUS!!heather nicholl and friend celebrating IWD 2021

Next stop Downhill Beach. On arrival we were greeted by family members who brought us hot coffee and pizza – it was 8.30pm. We had been hiking for 13hours so we were ready for some hot food before our final trek.

Our bellies filled, off we set on the homeward straight along the beach from Downhill to Benone – boots off, airing the feet and the feeling of sand between our toes. The sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline, the stillness in the air and the clear night sky as the star shone extra bright – it was spectacular.

Our final part of our journey led us up Leighery Road, into Ballycarton Forest and across the mountain face – we entered the ‘Nature Reserve’ of Binevenagh at 12.30am.

There was stillness in the air, our head torches lighting our path as we climbed over the stiles, watching our footing on the rock below then suddenly think fog rolled in. There was something very mysterious about it, not scary but magical everything around us was calm, silent and unimaginable.

Here we were two women alone on Binevenagh – you probably think we were completely mad but it was pretty amazing, in fact I would say it was a mind blowing experience.

Our final push to the top, took us up past the Devil;s Thumb, around the edge of Binevenagh and right to the lake through the heavy fog. We had stayed on track, arriving at a perfect time – 1.03am. We had achieved our goal, approx 40miles in 18 hours and feeling very proud of ourselves. It was International Women’s Day & we had completed our #choosetochallenge.

2020 Oh what a year.
A year of emotions and lots of fears
A year I stopped, to finally look all around.
For once in my lifetime, life seemed to slow down

The sunrises, the sunsets, the birds & the trees.
I learnt how to appreciate each one of these.
I captured the seasons all at their best
For once in my lifetime I learned how to rest.

Although I did rest, my emotions where high & memories of my past life seemed to come alive – a mixture of feelings I had to set free & for once in my lifetime it really got to me.

A moment in time, in the blink of an eye, someone so strong broke down & cried.
With a positive mindset, a heart filled with love, with good friends & family I have rose up above.

2020 Oh what a year.
A year of emotions and lots of fears
A year I stopped, to finally look all around.
For once in my lifetime I enjoyed slowing down.


By Heather Nicholl
Pulse Fitness Adventures Jan 2021