Debate has arisen over whether Council’s official Slemish climb event should be held this Saturday – as is the case – or on St Patrick’s Day on Sunday March 17

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DEBATE has arisen about whether the Slemish Mountain climb event supported by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council should be held on Saturday March 16 as is the case this year or on Sunday March 17.

A spokesperson from Council told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “The annual St Patrick’s Day event is taking place on Saturday (16th) because Council is working in partnership with Broughshane and District Community Association.

“It was agreed that facilitating the climb and delivering a quality entertainment programme on the Saturday would bring most benefit to village.”

The spokesperson said the Council would not be implementing any traffic management controls on Sunday or Monday around Slemish.

In a recent press release, the Council said thousands were expected to take part in the Slemish climb on Saturday March 16.

The first thousand who make the trek on the Saturday will receive a certificate, the council said.

The Council said they had teamed up with Broughshane and District Community Association to deliver a busy programme entertainment to suit all ages.

The press release said: “As well as enjoying the spectacular views from the mountain, visitors can enjoy the Bonkers Bazaar in Broughshane where you will be able to pick up something uniquely handmade and sample new treats as well checking out the local traders.

“Broughshane Pipe Band and The County Antrim and Derry Fiddlers will take to the music stage in the church yard car park in the village from 12 noon to 4pm.

“A number of stilt walkers and children’s characters will bring the streets to life. Also little ones can get creative and make a sheep brooch, a rainbow mobile or a snake to take home on the day as well as having their face painted.

“You might even get the opportunity to get a selfie with St Patrick himself.

“As well as the “flesh and blood” version the entertainment hub will be host to a beautiful hand carved wooden statue of the one-time Slemish shepherd.

“It was carved by Miguel Frederico Neves and stands over 8ft tall.

“There will be no parking at Slemish, Carnstroan Road or Carnstroan Lane, so a free park and ride service will operate from the former Michelin plant, Broughshane, just off the M2.

“The shuttle bus to Slemish Mountain will run continually from 9am – 3:30pm stopping in Broughshane village so nobody will miss out on the free entertainment and shopping offers.

“The one and a half kilometre walk at Slemish takes approximately one hour up and down and it is strongly advised that suitable clothing and strong footwear is worn.

“Sections of the short climb can be steep and slippery and might not be suitable for all.

“For those who would enjoy an easier trek than Slemish, a gentle riverside walk from Raceview Mill takes visitors past the Raceview hedgehog habitat and along the beautiful river Braid as it meanders around the village.

“A short walk from the dropping off point for the buses will bring visitors to the stunning Broughshane wildfowl pond and nature habitat, a real treat for both young and not so you.

“Come rain or shine, Broughshane and District Community Association will be providing the hub of entertainment on Saturday 16 March with fun for all the family to enjoy.

“Why not come along and enjoy the craic?

“This event has been supported by The Executive Office through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Good Relations Programme,” the council press release said.

It is expected that although many people will attend the Saturday event others will prefer to climb Slemish on Sunday.

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