On Saturday last, 18th September 2021, Donegal County Council’s TrailGazers Project presented a fun filled 8km cycle around the beautiful Inch Levels Wildfowl Reserve as part of National Bike Week 2021.
Everyone enjoyed a laugh and smile in glorious sunshine and after the cycle, over an informal lunch, listened as adventurer, Jason Black, shared his personal journey to better mental health and the incredible benefits both physically and mentally of being engaged in mother nature in Donegal.
Cycling is a sport enjoyed all over our planet with people hopping on two wheels to get about be it for a fun Sunday ride, a commute to work or an adventure packed bike ride and Jason gave some simple to follow cycling safely tips to help make your cycling experience fun for you to enjoy with friends and family.
The event on Saturday last also heard from John Meehan, Assistant National Director HSE/Head of the National Office for Suicide Prevention, who explained all the recent and relevant research data on how important it is to make time for exercise and the difference it makes to our bodies and minds. Bill Vaughan, Mental Health Ireland, took attendees through his own life experience dealing with Mental Health and explained some of the resources available at grass roots level in Donegal.
Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Donegal County Council was also present and said that events such as this are so relevant and that the local authority had an important role in promoting physical activity and engaging with our citizens to make use of our many trails across the county such as this beautiful trail at Inch Levels Wildfowl Reserve.
Mary Daly, Research and Communications Officer with TrailGazers, Donegal County Council gave an overview of the TrailGazers Project and what it is doing at Inch. The rationale for hosting this event is that one of the key promotional messages of TrailGazers is the health benefits of walking and cycling. Physical activity is important for people of all ages and abilities. Being active helps to prevent many diseases and in addition physical activity improves energy levels, reduces stress levels and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Nature-based recreation, such as walking and cycling, has the strong potential to improve mental health outcomes.
In conclusion, Mary Daly acknowledged the support of Donegal Sports Partnership and National Bike Week in hosting the event and looked forward to being able to run other informative events in the future.
For more information on Trail Gazers visit www.trailgazers.eu Trail Gazers project is co-financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.