A Three Property Challenge - taking in the National Trust estates of Castle Coole, Florence Court and Crom in Co. Fermanagh - is being taken up as a solo effort by well-known Enniskillen man Alan Houston.

Alan, who is looking forward to his fundraising triathlon, recalls that he ran his first road race 35 years ago and has been hooked on running ever since. “I feel great when I run,” said Alan, who believes: “It’s the best medicine for body and mind.”

A National Trust Head Ranger, Alan enthuses: “I work in the perfect place for running; after work I have a run with my dog around the beautiful Castle Coole, I look forward to it every day no matter what the weather. 

“I work for the National Trust across the three Fermanagh Properties, Castle Coole, Florence Court and Crom and a few years ago I had an idea to incorporate these stunning estates with a triathlon challenge and raise some money for a few charities. With the enjoyment I have had running around these fabulous places and my gratitude for my health and fitness, I felt it was time to give something back.”

He explains that his Three Property Challenge starts at 8.30am on Saturday, September 23 when he runs from Castle Coole to Florence Court. 

Alan adds: “I then cycle to Derryvore Church of Ireland, this is Crom church and is on the Derrylin side of the lough. I then swim across to Inisherk on the Crom estate side, hop on my bicycle and cycle back to Castle Coole gates and run up the avenue finishing at the mansion in the late afternoon.”

He goes on to say: “Two causes close to my heart are Rossorry Church repair fund, the church I’ve attended all my life and which celebrated 175 years on its present site last year and Fermanagh Hospice Care, having known some friends who were compassionately cared for by this wonderful organisation.” 

All monies raised will be divided equally. “My challenge costs nothing only a bit of sweat and hopefully not too many tears,” said Alan. Donations can be made by contacting Alan directly on 07812381221. 

Alan would like to express his gratitude to the National Trust for their permission and Western Cars Toyota Enniskillen for being the main sponsor. 

“I’m 59 at my next birthday and you need to do these things while you’re still young,” said Alan with a smile.