ON Thursday October 11, Wilsons of Rathkenny took 11 customers, along with two members of staff, to Colebrooke Park, Brookeborough in Co Fermanagh, for a full day’s entertainment in association with Isuzu, writes Peter McMullan.
It was an early start, as the bus departed at 7am from Wilsons of Rathkenny Cushendall Road premises, but spirits were high, as everyone had a small idea of what to expect during the day.
After one quick stop in Moira for refreshments, it was onwards to the south west of the province to the stately home of Viscount and Viscountess Brookeborough. Colebrooke Park is one of the region’s most important and historic stately homes set in a lush 1,000 acre working estate.
On arrival, the guests were treated to a hot breakfast with either a cup of tea or coffee and had the opportunity to take in the views around the estate.
After breakfast everyone was invited to take part in archery. Specialist archery trainers had assembled to show first timers how to hold, aim and fire the arrows towards the target. A special prize was offered to the first person to hit the bullseye first time, so one lucky guest, Wesley Caldwell, from Glarryford edged forward to be the first to prove his manly skills. As luck would have it he did succeed in hitting the bullseye with his first shot.
Before lunch it was time for the falconry display. An experienced falcon handler was ‘on hand’ to explain the roles of his trade. Many farmers have nuisance bird infestations in their sheds etc. It was explained that the falcon can be used to deter such birds away and this is seen as a much more beneficial way of removing the ‘pests’ than other older methods. Some guests and staff got to hold the falcon on their arms and this brought a nervous smile to their faces, as most people would never imagine being this close to a bird of prey.
Once the falconry was over, it was time for lunch. Everyone was invited into the manor house where a three course meal was available for the guests. This gave time for the guests to share a ‘bit of banter’ with one another.
Next on the agenda was clay pigeon shooting. Quite a few of the guests had used a gun before, but not many had actually tried clay pigeon shooting. Again specialist trainers were on hand to demonstrate how to properly aim etc. Packie Donnelly, local to the Rathkenny area had never tried this before, but managed a whopping 11 strikes from 14.
Armoy man James McMullan was a crack shot hitting all 14 targets – word has it he may get a call up for the Brazilian Olympics in four years time! Wilson’s staff members also tried their luck – Laurence McMullan managed to hit 11 of his 14 targets, whilst Martin Ramsey only managed to hit six targets. This was the lowest score of the day and quite far off the rest.
As the day was coming close to the end, it was time for Wilsons group to test drive the Isuzu D-Max pick-up.
They were split into pairs and everybody got their chance to experience driving the pick-up off road. Skills tests were laid on for the different groups, for instance reversing with a trailer attached etc. Being a very wet day, the conditions were perfect to showcase the performance of the vehicle. A specialized track had been set up through muddy fields (which had got very muddy from the other groups who had been testing the pick-up throughout the day) and over different terrain around the estate. The D-Max proved well worth it’s butter by being able to cope brilliantly with everything that was thrown at it.
Out of the four Northern Ireland groups who went to the D-Maxsperience day, the Wilsons group came out tops and finished the day with the highest number of points scored on all the different activities. To celebrate their triumph, Wilsons treated the group to a delicious three course meal at the Ramble Inn, Lisnevanagh Road, Ballymena on their way home. Everyone said they had a really enjoyable day and were very pleased with the activities that had been put together for them during the day.
For more information or to test drive the new Isuzu D-Max contact Peter McMullan on 028 2175 8261 or check out our dedicated Isuzu website – www.isuzuni.co.uk or go to the main website – www.wilsonsofrathkenny.co.uk