LGBTQ+ walking group Out & About Hikers turns 20 with beautiful exhibition

Out & About Hikers are celebrating their 20th birthday with a stunning new exhibition this July.

The photograph shows Luke and Dean, two of the members of Out & About Hikers. The two men are wearing black tshirts and backpacks. They are standing in front of the peak of the Slieve Binnian mountain.
Image: Courtesy of Neal Walker

Out & About Hikers is a Belfast-based hiking and walking group for the LGBTQ+ community and their friends. This year is a big year for all involved as it marks the 20th anniversary of the walking group!

Founder member, Neil Lester, set the group up in 2002 with the assistance of Queerspace Belfast, and the members have been exploring the beautiful Irish hills and countryside continuously since then. Many of the original members are still walking with the group and new members are joining all the time.

This year, Belfast Library are helping Out & About Hikers to celebrate their 20th anniversary by hosting a photographic exhibition during Belfast‘s 2022 Pride celebrations. The exhibition will highlight some of the stunning scenery that Ireland has to offer and will also celebrate the group’s wonderful, diverse membership. It will be free to visit from Saturday, July 23 until Friday, August 26, 2022.

The group is inviting people to join them for the launch event on Saturday, July 23 at 11am for a chance to meet some of the wonderful members of Out & About Hikers. They are also open to new members and the exhibition launch will be a great opportunity to get involved.

The photograph shows Neal Lester, the founder of Out & About Hikers. Neal is looking straight into the camera wearing a padded hiking jacket. The photograph is taken in a mountain setting.

Speaking to GCN, the group said: “We hold several hikes a month – at least one a fortnight, usually more! These hikes cater to all ages and abilities. There are regular, gentler hikes that can be easily accessed by public transport, ideal for those who like a dander and a chat.

“Then there are the hikes where we really stretch our legs and explore the wonderful scenery of the Mourne Mountains, the Sperrins and the Antrim Hills. We also regularly meet up with our Dublin sister group – Out & About Hiking – for joint walks, hikes and social events.

The photograph shows two hikers looking and pointing towards a lake. They are standing on a hill above the lake facing other mountains on the other side of the lake.

“Whatever level of fitness you feel you are at, you can be sure of great craic and great company and a chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world!”

To find out more about upcoming walks, follow the group on Meet Up.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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