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Centre open again after storm damage.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Centre open again after storm damage. thumbnailNoel Gallagher, proprietor of Mount Pleasant Trekking Centre, says the loss to the business from the storm could run to a “few thousand”.

LAST month ex-hurricane Ophelia tore its way through the country leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

A number of homes and businesses were affected, with many businesses, including shops and public facilities closing, sending staff home early on Monday, 16 October, as well as every school in Northern Ireland being closed for two days.

One of those local businesses was Mount Pleasant Trekking Centre, near Castlewellan which had to close when the scale of the damage was realised.

Noel Gallagher, who owns the business, said he "couldn't put a figure on the number of trees which came down".

Speaking to The Outlook last week, he said he was able to reopen just before Halloween.

"We were closed for two weeks in total and there are still some trails which we can't use," he said.

"We had to cancel the two-hour rides, but we're getting back onto them. We are very relieved." Mr Gallagher said "hundreds of trees" had come down in the storm and said it had been a "real shame" as many of them had been there for hundreds of years.

He said Newry, Mourne and Down District Council had responsibility for the clear up and tasked Mourne Heritage to do the work.

"The guys did a tremendous job," he said.

"They are still working away and there are still trails that are not open, but it is not holding us back.

"There was some breaking down done. They did really great to get it all done as far as they have.

"They took in heavy machinery to get it cleared. Some of those trees are massive and special equipment was need.

They are still working on the smaller trails which were damaged." Mr Gallagher has been left counting the cost of damage done and the loss of business for the two weeks he had to remain closed.

"This time of year it's not too bad, but you still miss out on your weekends.

Thankfully we got open for Halloween and it suited for all the children being off school.

"You would definitely be talking a few thousand pounds lost because we were closed for that length of time.

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