The seven inhabited islands on West Cork’s coastline are buzzing with activity as the islands get set for a summer packed with runs, regattas, and adventure races.
An island run series will take in 5k events on Cape Clear, Bere, Long, Heir, and Whiddy, and Bere Island’s Midsummer Run (8 July) and Sherkin’s Do Run Run (12 August) are already firmly established as favourites with Cork runners. The weekly Bere Island parkrun – named as one of the best parkruns in the world – regularly attracts visitors from across the world who want to find out what it is like to join an island event.
‘The active islands events are a great way of bringing islanders and visitors together’, says Sherkin Island’s Aisling Moran. ‘Whether people are running, jogging, sailing, or hiking on the islands’ trails, they have the chance to mix with islanders as well as take in the spectacular views.’
The ‘active islands’ programme has been put together to cater for people who see the islands as ideal venues for adventure tourism. ‘The Wild Atlantic Way is really capturing people’s imaginations,’ explains John Moore of Heir Island Sailing School. ‘More and more people are looking to take on the challenge of exploring the islands in active ways, whether that involves learning to sail on Roaringwater Bay, practising yoga at an island retreat, or taking in the sights at an island regatta.’
‘Each island has its own distinct character and terrain and people really enjoy discovering that for themselves’, adds Whiddy Island’s Tim O’Leary. ‘When we held the inaugural Bantry Bay Adventure Race last year, people were absolutely in awe of the fantastic views and the peace they found on Whiddy. The island setting added a whole new dimension to the experience, and we’ve been able to add more spaces for that event this year. There’s definitely growing interest in events that give people the chance to explore our bays and islands.’
The ‘active islands’ concept captures the work done to date by the West Cork Islands Community Sports Hub, a Sport Ireland initiative coordinated by Cork Sports Partnership and supported locally by the island communities.
To register for events or find out more about the programme on offer, see http://westcorkislands.com/active-islands