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Hardy souls take the Rail Trail

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Hooked in: fisherman Bryan Harvey, who offered to take visitors fishing off the rocks (Photograph by Glenn Jones)

Fitness enthusiasts braved the coldest day of the year so far to take part in the Rediscover the Rail Trail experience yesterday.

Although the bad weather led to a lower turnout than hoped for, those who put up with wind and rain proved Bermuda is a year-round destination, according to Glenn Jones.

“The event went very well — the weather did have a dampening effect but I think we were still able to meet our objectives of showing people a new way to imagine how the Railway Trail can be utilised going forward,” the director of public and stakeholder relations at the Bermuda Tourism Authority told The Royal Gazette.

“The goal was to have people realise that the Railway Trail is underutilised as a tourism asset. And I think we accomplished that.”

But he said the turnout “was not great”, adding “I think some people were scared away by the weather”.

According to the Bermuda Weather Service, temperatures of 48.7F (9.3C) were recorded during a rain shower at about 4pm yesterday — the coldest of 2017 so far. Graupel hail — hail smaller than 5 millimetres in diameter — was also reported in the afternoon from across the island as temperatures plummeted lower than in Chicago in the United States.

Mr Jones added: “The people who braved those conditions today really helped us prove that we can be a year-round destination.

“If on the coldest day of the year you can be out mountain biking, or walking the trail, or exercising in the park that probably means we fit the description of a year-round destination.”

While the kayak and paddle board events were called off because of choppy waters, “everything else we had planned did go ahead, from fishing off the rocks, to mountain biking, to walking the trail, to Gombeys at one end, to fitness instructors, health check-ups — that was all in place. Which is really good considering the conditions.”

Mr Jones explained that signs were placed along the trail between Shelly Bay and Bailey’s Bay “where we thought people could have a great experience, whether it was catching a fish, rolling out a yoga mat, watch a sunset or take a plunge”.

“One of the things we had happen today is that there were four adventure travel planners visiting Bermuda and they got out to experience the Railway Trail and they said they had a fantastic time despite the weather — they could see the true potential of the asset, so we were very, very pleased to hear that from them.”

Mr Jones added that the BTA had slated November for a similar event.

“Again, the reason for November is we want to make sure that people realise that the Railway Trail can be used during the shoulder season as a way to attract visitors here.”

The BTA's Rediscovering the Rail Trail experience went ahead this weekend despite the bad weather, which saw the kayak and paddle board events cancelled because of choppy waters (Photograph by Glenn Jones)
Reimagining Bermuda: The BTA's Rediscovering the Rail Trail event highlighted some of the best spots to watch a sunset, go fishing off the rocks or take a plunge (Photograph by Glenn Jones)