Life

Plunge into 2017 with a New Year's icy swim

The annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough Harbour in Co Antrim is taking place tomorrow and on Monday at noon

LIKE me, you've seen it every year, laughed at the photos and rolled your eyes at how crazy it is. If 2017 is your year to take the plunge into Ireland's icy waters, you can access new year swims tomorrow and even Monday.

Carnlough Harbour, Co Antrim, is the venue for an annual New Year's Day swim. It's all happening there from noon on January 1 and 2 and it's all in aid of The Association for spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Find more information at the Facebook page of Carnlough New Year Day Swimmers.

Plant some trees this year

A NEW Year's resolution finishing in March is as good as they come, courtesy of the Belfast Hills Partnership which is on the hunt for an army of volunteers to plant 13,500 trees and hedges.

Tree planting is vital, as trees not only generate oxygen and store carbon, but provide homes and food to a huge range of wildlife. The trees going into the ground in early 2017 are part of an industrial renovation project.

Planting will be done in disused quarry and landfill sites throughout the Belfast Hills. The trees will help restore these industrial sites to a natural state and improved the appearance of the landscape.

Hedges provide safe wildlife corridors for bugs and beasties to travel through from one habitat area to another. They are also an essential food source for birds and small mammals as well as pollinators and other insects.

"Tree and hedge planting is one of the most enjoyable volunteer tasks. You can see the impact you have made and will be able to say ‘I planted that'. Generations of people and wildlife will enjoy your hard work for years to come. The visual effect in the hills will be extensive," volunteer officer Lisa Critchley said.

The planting will take place on weekday mornings from 10:30am-1pm, on private land and quarry sites across the Belfast Hills, from Slievenacloy to Carnmoney.

Contact Lisa on 028 9060 3466 or email lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org.

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