We’re Edwin Gray and Tojo Lazzari. Welcome to Lough Allen Adventure Centre.
We want people to enjoy the outdoors. It’s energising, relaxing and just pure fun!
For lots of people, life is complicated and stressful. Spending time here with us in Drumshanbo gives them time to step back from a frantic world where everything competes for our attention and our time.
The world is trying to pull us in one direction but we often want a simpler, more holistic life – even if it’s only for a few hours!
I think what makes us different is the fact that we’ve walked a slightly unusual path to get here. If you had asked us a decade ago if we’d be back in Leitrim where we started, we’d probably have laughed at you. Not that we were thinking 10 years ahead at the time.
Here’s a little of our story.
For me, a tough childhood meant that I reached adulthood fractured, directionless and unsettled. When I lost two of my friends while they were still young, I knew that my life had to change.
At that time, Kevin Currid ran an outdoor pursuits course at Lough Allen Adventure and somehow I found myself on the course. I knew nothing when I started. But I learned to kayak, canoe, windsurf, power boat and orienteer and a lot more. I loved it. I had never experienced the calm I felt outdoors at any other point in my life.
Kevin believed in people even when they didn’t believe in themselves. The more I focused and learned, the more responsibility I took on and I found myself in the role of course instructor by the time Tojo arrived a few years later.
I was given the opportunity to spend time transporting a yacht in the Mediterranean and that just elevated what I had experienced in Leitrim. I’d always felt the freedom of the water but this took it to a different level. I worked on yachts for a few years and got my Yacht Masters Licence. Life was amazing. It was only when I met my wife did I return to the North West. She’s the love of my life. Marriage and two babies later, I’ve put down permanent roots here again.
Being outdoors, on the water and being close to nature is the best life in the world. I recently qualified as a Wim Hof instructor which is the pinnacle of my experiences to date.
My early experiences were less intense than Ed’s but I hated school. I spent most of my junior cert year dodging school! I had no interest in a conventional job. I had no interest in anything except hanging out with my mates. After managing to finish my leaving cert, I ended up choosing the course that Kevin Currid ran. At the time, I liked the idea of being outdoors and I loved the water.
The outdoor adventure course with Kevin opened up doors for me that I didn’t know existed. It wasn’t just the skills, it was the mentorship. It was the first time I could focus on something I loved. It was the ultimate freedom.
When I finished up, I transferred to Galway Mayo Institiute of Technology to do a degree course. It was hard work. It’s now a signature course and they really put us through our paces! Then disaster hit.
I loved two things. I loved being on the water (I kayaked every day). And I loved my motorbike. I came off my bike at high speed one day when a tractor pulled out in front of me. I remember a guy sitting over me and telling me the ambulance was on its way. I didn’t know that I’d lost my arm at that point. I was more concerned about my bike! This happened at the end of my first year at College. Looking back now, it was a really rough summer. It’s unbelievable but I made it back to college in September.
I just kept going. The things I loved were no longer possible in my life and I needed to find a replacement for those passions. I kept studying and upskilling but my passion transferred into snorkelling and other sports. I became a world-champion duathlete in 2019 and I’m a 7-time champion in triathlon and duathlon.
A few years ago, Kevin decided to step back from Lough Allen Adventure Centre and it gave us the chance to step forward.
Ultimately we want to give people the opportunity to discover the outdoors, whether that’s kayaking, paddle boarding, bushcraft, Wim Hof Method or orienteering (or whatever takes their fancy). Because of the depth and breadth of our combined training and skills, we’re ideally placed to do that.
Nature is not just a place of escape. It’s a place of imagining and reimagining who we are and what is truly valuable in our lives. For each person, that’s different but we’re here to give people the time and space to explore that. It allows us to reconnect with who we are at our core and just have some fun and be physically and mentally healthy at the same time.