Choose to Challenge is a non-stop 24hr guided Hike around the stunning mountain ranges/ forests & beaches to showcase what the Roe Valley Area of outstanding beauty has to offer.

Starting on top of Benbradagh Mountain at 7am ( hopefully we will watch the sunrise at the summit).

We will cover Benbradagh, Donald’s Hill, The Cam Forest, Drumrammar Forest, Springwell Forest, The Grange Park Forest, onto Bishops Road, across Gortmore, to Downhill Beach, to Benone, then up into private land at Woodtown, across to Gortmore and into Ballycarton Forest, we will then make our way across the Nature Reserve on Binevenagh Mountain to the top to complete our epic Adventure. A distance of approx 40miles with over 6,500ft of climbing.

Each person must carry their own kit and have enough food, clothing etc for 24hours.

  • Essential Kit
  • Hiking Boots
  • Waterproofs (jacket & trousers)
  • Full change of extra clothing
  • Food for 24hours
  • Water
  • Foil Blanket

The starting point will be Pulse Fitness Adventures Studio on Saturday 2nd October at 6am & we will be collected at the top of Binevenagh at the end to return to the studio.

Local accommodation is available if you want to stay – let me know when booking & I can advise you.

There will be one hot food stop during the Hike at Downhill plus a chance for you to refill your water.

This hike is suitable only for those with a good level of fitness & will be limited to 12 people.

Price:  £85.00per person

Book Here https://pulsefitnessadventures.clubright.co.uk/Class/Edit/60d6555f3e4fa1a6cffd3347   

 

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.

Arriving at the Luxury Waterfall Caves at 6am, in the dark on Saturday 5th September, the rain beating off the car window – it wasn’t the weather I had hoped for, but today was the day for my Mind Over Matter Challenge.

As they say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad choice of clothing as I stood there with my waterproof jacket, seal-skin socks, hiking boots, shorts and I had my sunglasses attached to my backpack in the hope that the sunshine would make an appearance at some point during the day.

The excitement, the nerves – so many emotions going through my head – Today was my big day!

One by one the cars arrived, the car park filling up quickly. Everyone was a little anxious as they signed in – but thankfully the rain had finally stopped.

A short safety briefing before we set off, making our way up a gentle slope before heading in the direction of Ballycarton Forest.  I could still sense the nerves within the group & I could still hear my own heart beating loudly, but soon everyone had settled and the sound of laughter filled the morning forest – We were off!

It wasn’t long until we had reached our first incline, a long, steep drag that took us from the bottom to the top.  On reaching the top the views were absolutely stunning, the landscape below was so clear, we could see for miles. We hiked our way along a well trodden path, along the cliff edge which eventually brought us to the tip top of Binevenagh Mountain / Lake.

We had completed the first stage of our challenge, it was only 8.30am and much to our delight we were greeted by a fella rocking a pink onesie (very well i must say lol), dancing to Abba music from the boombox on his head while sipping on a bottle of beer – free entertainment to get the group going, an extra added bonus lol.

Off we set, downhill for a while. Everyone was in good spirits, the pace lifted slightly as we all plodded along pathways and country roads, chatting away, getting to know one another – so far so good.

Our next stop was a food stop but first we had to complete a climb up the dreaded Tircreven Road which later became known as ‘Heart Break Hill’ – heads down & off we climbed, perhaps knowing we were getting food made us push on that little harder – we had just arrived and the heavens opened – Typical Northern Irish weather.

Fed and watered at our 8mile stop, we set off again as the rain stopped.  Straight into a hard climb, probably wasn’t the best idea to eat so much. As silence fell upon the group I knew everyone was feeling the same, but upwards we trekked, reaching the top, regrouping and continuing on towards Gortmore Viewing Point.

Arriving at Gortmore Viewing Point, now was the perfect opportunity for a group photo, standing beside Manannan Mac Lir (a god of the sea) as we overlooked Magilligan, Donegal and beyond – we were on top of the world.

Our next point, Downhill Beach as we trekked along the Bishops Road.  Downhill Castle and the Musseden Temple stood clearly in the distance – what a location, it was breathtaking. It was a perfect day to see our stunning coastline in all it’s glory and we had the extra element of walking along our golden sand beach to look forward to.

Time to remove those hiking boots, to feel the sand between the toes as we made our way towards Benone, our second food stop of the day – we had reached 16miles.  A well deserved cuppa was awaiting everyone thanks to Dan and Rebecca at the SeaShed in Benone.

Now for our homeward journey, we set off, on time with everyone in check (well almost everyone lol).  The next part of the Challenge was on untouched land, thanks to the local land owners. Up, up up we climbed, what beauty was all around us, the original stone wall connecting the fields as far as the eyes could see, the purple heather on the mountain and the livestock – it was absolutely stunning as we hiked, climbing over lots of stiles, around little obstacles as we went and still the laughter continued.  The group’s spirit was unbelievable, such support and encouragement from everyone as we worked together as a team to make this a day one to remember.

With only 7 miles to go we approached ‘Heart Break Hill’ again, heads down, the climbing began & before we knew it we had reached the top, onwards we trekked, the pace lifting as everyone could sense the finish line was near.  Back into Binevenagh we went,  through the Nature Reserve along the well trodden trails leading to the last Challenge on my Mind Over Matter – this was to climb the steep incline to the Devil’s Thumb – cruel i know but this Challenge was designed that if you put your mind to someone you can do it.

Off we set, the legs burning, the heart racing but we did it, we reached the top, caught our breath, admired the views, now it was time for home.  Only two miles to go, we could smell the burgers, we were on the home straight.

Arriving at the Luxury Waterfall Cave, a well deserved burger from Higgins Butchers, Castlerock was ready and a chilled Beer from Rough Brothers Brewery was waiting for everyone.

41 people started my Mind Over Matter Challenge and 41 people finished.  What an incredible day, an amazing achievement for all,  what an incredible group – lots of laughter, memories and new friendships made.

A day to connect people from near and far through the love of the outdoors.

Until Next Year – Well Done!!

Ladies Only Programmes Starting this July

I’ve got lots of new exciting Ladies Only Programmes coming your way – they are designed to first & foremost have fun but to also give you a chance to experience new challenges, to step outside your comfort zone & face those fears, build your own confidence & believe in your own ability.

The programmes are designed to reconnect ladies of all ages & abilities.
A fantastic opportunity to grow your self love, form strong friendships all within a safe & welcoming environment in the outdoors surrounded by nature

So Ladies who’s up for an Adventure? I’ve got two days coming up – join me for an afternoon of fun on Friday 31st July or a full day on Saturday 1st August.

Click to read more on the links below

How motivated have you been to ‘Workout’ during lockdown?

I’ve watched so many fitness instructors coming online with their workouts which is great to see but for those who know me know this is way out of my comfort zone so I have tried to adapt differently while still keeping everyone motivated & keeping myself sane lol.

So at PulseFitnessAdventures I have lots going on, it has made it easier having loyal & dedicated friends supporting me all the way. This morning they surprised me with an incredible surprise which I wasn’t expecting, they all brought me to tears in an overwhelming way. Thank you x

Here is what’s happening at PulseFitnessAdventures during lockdown if you fancy joining in your very welcome (just send me a pm)

  • Daily Workouts – these workouts are max 35min, require no equipment suitable for everyone, mix of cardio, strength, core, endurance – you can do the workout in our own time.
  • 30 Day May Fitness Challenge – I’ve over 60 taking part in this Challenge from London, Dublin, Letrim and limavady which started on the 1st May – I’ve sent out a monthly plan with Workouts for each day – WhatsApp group support available for everyone.
  • Sunday Team Pulse Workout – a workout competing for a time for fun, good team spirit, bit of banter on a Sunday morning & the faithful selfie photo which I join together to create a group photo.
  • Daily motivational updates on my Facebook & Instagram, which hopefully will inspire you all x

MESSAGE ME ON FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM TO GET ADDED TO MY WHATS APP LIST 

Stay safe, take care x

What better way to enjoy the half term break than to take the kids hiking and that’s just what I did.

On Wednesday 30th October I set off with a group on a Family Hike with kids and parents from Duncrun Fishing Lakes and hiked deep into Ballycarton Forest.

Through mucky trails, much to the kids delight we hiked our way upwards stopping to gather different styles /colours of fallen leaves and let the kids have fun wandering around.

Finally reaching the main forest path, the views of Magilligan and beyond where spectacular.

We made of way towards Binevenagh Nature Reserve, the forest paths a blanket of Autumn beauty with the fallen leaves. We stop to admire Binevenagh Mountain and the kids where amazed how close they where to it

A little more climbing over the sheep trails as we search for the wild horses but to no avail today.

Homeward bound and our journey back consisted of downhill (much to the parents delight lol) – the kids ran, laughed and had lots of fun exploring.

Today was a playground of hidden trails surrounded by natural beauty in the heart of a forest & its right on our doorsteps.

“A study conducted by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley & David L Stayer found that creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology & reconnecting with nature”

Tonight I read a very interesting article, why do so many people focus on weight lost rather than focusing on being healthy!! Let me share my own personal experience of Healthy v’s Weight Lost with you…… I am a mother of two, working two jobs, life can be so busy!

Finding the time to sit down to eat a nutritious meal was a luxury or so I thought! I always had breakfast whether it was grabbing a piece of toast while running out the door or eating a banana in the car on the way to work. My lunch consisted of a sandwich usually on brown bread with a cup of tea & probably a wee treat after. Dinner in the evening was always a rush scrambled eggs on toast, bean on toast, maybe a salad & as for super the poor biscuit cupboard got attacked – no water, no proper nutrition I wasn’t fuelling my body, I was training, I biked 2 nights a week, I ran, I did workouts but I was exhausted!

At the start of this year i approached a good friend Ricky @ Ultimate Strength Gym and ask if he fancied a challenge to help me with my nutrition. I’ve been a fitness instructor for well over 10 years but I knew myself i need someone to help me get back on track. I’ve known Ricky for years, he’s always been very approachable and I was delighted when he agreed to help. I had a goal in mind – The Donegal Ultra 555 in June but I knew myself i had a long way to go to get myself mentally & physically ready for the biggest challenge i was going to take. This was the starting point.

My first meeting with Ricky was a chat about how i was feeling in myself and for me this was probably the first time i had realised when i said it out loud that I needed to change – my iron levels were low, very low, so was my vitamin D, I was always feeling tired, lethargic & emotional. I wasn’t sleeping properly, eating properly and I wasn’t performing to the best of my ability with my training, I believed I was putting in the training but my body was physically tired. My biggest worry was i had out on weight! Ricky first words to me where ‘forget about weight lost, let’s focus on getting you healthy, build yourself up & increase your energy levels – everything else will fall into place’ He was completely right!

Ricky started me on a 7 Day natural detox, the aim to cleanse my body, so that I could absorb more nutrients from the next phrase, he explained this was important as it would affect how I feel & perform. My energy levels dropped but increased to new levels as the process entered the next phrase. Already I was eating more that I had eaten in the past – all healthy nutritious foods & my fluid intake was up too. It was a start & I began to feel motivated again. With each phrase Ricky always ask how’s the energy levels, how are you feeling – I felt good, but I always ask ‘what about my weight lost?’

Our aim is to get your energy levels up & fuel your body for training leading to your goal – Race Day, he would always reply. As my training increased so did my fuel intake, I was eating good meals, my energy levels where good, my iron was up, my sleep was alot better, my skin alot clearer – for the first time in a long time I felt good in myself but my clothes where tighter. I kept reminding myself i was training alot, following a strict training plan set by Blaine Cole, designed to prepare me for race day – an endurance race. This had been my focus all along, I wanted to be healthy & prepared.

All the training & nutrition had me prepared, yes I had put on a wee bit of weight , my thighs where bigger but in myself i finally left healthier & happier. I achieved my goal. I did complete the Donegal Ultra 555 Solo, fully fuelled, full of energy, mentally & physically prepared & recovery after was good too. My body had all the right nutritious food leading up to & during race day thanks to Ricky. Since working with Ricky my whole focus on eating has changed. I eat a healthy nutritious breakfast, lunch & dinner. I snack on healthy snacks and I drink 2litres of water each day (more on training days). I do have a cheat meal once a week and I sometimes eat bread, but I fuel my body with lots of good nutritious foods on a daily basis.

It’s a lifestyle change, I’m glad I have taken I’m enjoying the journey each day. I follow various PT’s on Instagram where I experimenting with lots of new exciting recipes, my favourite is AliceLiveing. She describes the body as a pyramid – you cannot change one aspect of your body without stepping back & working in the bigger picture. You have got to Move – become a little more active, Focus your Mind – you have to get your head in the right place, Experiment with Foods – eating healthier will slowly become second nature.

The world of Healthy Eating has so many exciting tastes out there – You should give it a go!

I set up the Challenge ‘Mind Over Matter’ to give people a chance to push themselves outside their comfort zones, to let them see that the body will give up before the mind does if you let it – its about pushing through those ‘low’ moments to achieve a goal.

We set off from the stunning Duncrun Fishing Lakes and made our way up the side of Binevenagh – a challenging start to say the least but as always the groups spirits were high.

Across the top of Binevenagh before making our way onto Leighry Road, down to Duncrun Road and up the dreaded Tircreven Road – stopping here for a quick snack before the climbing continued up over ‘Hell Hole’ following the Ulster Way arriving at Gortmore Viewing Point. We continued down Bishop Road with Downhill Castle, Mussenden Temple in the distance. We also could see Scotland too as it was such a clear day. We stopped in amazement as we watched a brave man taking a run & jumping over the edge – Hand Gliding (perhaps this could be Pulse’s next Adventure lol).

Making our way to Downhill Beach I had arranged with the Causeway Coast & Glen Council for the group to do a litter pick as they walked along the beach towards Benone – a great way to do our part for the environment to keep our stunning beaches clean & it also a little distraction for the group. Arriving at Benone the lovely Rebekah from the Seashed had tea, coffee & hot chocolate ready for us – A well deserved treat was enjoyed by us all. We had reach 15miles!

A quick refuel before the legs seized up, we got on our way again, beginning our journey back through private land but we had an unexpected adventure ahead – ‘the fields had moved lol’ & it was time for some ‘hardcore climbing’. Up, up, up through the trees, with lots of motivational words of encouragement, testing everyone mentally we eventually arrived at our destination – what an incredible achievement for everyone.

Back onto the Bishops Road, down Leighry Road, into Ballycarton Forest we followed the trails above the nature reserve across Binevenagh Mountain and back down into Ballycarton again. Homeward bound towards Duncrun Fishing Lakes finishing with a well deserved Burger and a wee beer. 24/25miles with approx 4000ft of climbing!

As group leader I am very proud of how everyone stepped up to my Mind Over Matter Challenge – with high spirits, great determination and supporting each other. This Challenge wasn’t easy in fact it was an incredibly tough day with the focused being ‘Mind Over Matter’. This group have all achieved something a lot of people would never dream of doing, overcame lots of personal obstacles & they all should be extremely proud of themselves.

What an amazing fun filled day!

Coasteering – Saturday 5th October 2019

We set off on our journey towards Dunservick Castle just passed the famous Giants Causeway on the North Coast to begin our Adventure – here we met Barry and the team from Causeway Coasteering who instantly made us feel at ease

We suited up – wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy aids, a quick safety chat and we where good to go. We began our trek towards the sea – everyone feeling a little apprehensive but excited at the same time!

On entering the sea that first initial shock as the cold hit us, but thankfully it didn’t take long for the body to adapt as we made our way towards the rocks. From here we scrambled over the rocks until we arrived at the first ‘rock pool’ – let the fun begin!!

Our first task was to belly-flop into the water, so you can imagine we had a good wee giggle at each others expense – this helped the group to settle and feel a little more relaxed around each other, Barry and his team.

As our session continued the challenges become a little more challenging, the jumps became a little higher and the bond within the group became stronger. Throughout the session there was no pressure, everyone did what they felt comfortable doing and each person challenged themselves in their own personal ways.

Our Coasteering Adventure has provided lasting memories of a fantastic day on the beautiful North Coast with the amazing team from @CausewayCoasteering – I would highly recommend giving it a go – we definitely will be back soon!

image of pulse fitness with causeway coasteering