Farm and holiday camp are combined

50 July 29 1969 holiday centre SM Farm

The return journey of a trans-world tour – a trip that originally was intended to include only a short visit to his ancestral home – has never been completed by Mr Denis Archdale, Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh.

Five years ago he decided to stay and run the family estate farm and explore the possibility of making a sideline profit from the tourist industry.

Now, although a herd of suckling cows still graze over the estate, the needs of holidaymakers are the first consideration.

Mr Archdale came to Castle Archdale in 1964 on a trip from New Zealand where he had been sheep and crop farming for eight years. Up to that time the County Fermanagh estate had been used first by the Royal Air Force as a seaplane base and later by the army.

Mr Archdale decided to start farming in Northern Ireland with cattle, sheep and a 7,000 caged poultry unit, while at the same time examining the potential of the tourist industry.

Perhaps the biggest asset on the estate is the 40 acres of concrete roads, aprons and buildings left by the armed services. Ten acres of concrete run alongside the lake shore where the Sunderland and Catalina flying boats used to be launched,.

And it was from here that a Catalina flew to spot the German battleship Bismark in the Atlantic.

This concrete area has proved to be an ideal sheltered caravan site a few yards from the old slipway which provides a safe and convenient bathing and boating access to the water.

This year during a weekend in July more than 100 caravans were parked on the Lough Erne Holidays Limited site. During last season some 8,000 people enjoyed a holiday at Castle Archdale.

On the farming side Castle Archdale – only 100 acres from a total of 245 acres are suitable for egrazing – carries 20 breeding cows, the calves being finished for beef.

With the rapid tourist development the farming enterprises have had to be curtailed and made self-running. The poultry unit has been leased out while the sheep were sold off as their management and marketing periods coincided with the holiday season.

Mr Archdale uses a bulldozer and a mechanical digger during the winter months to clear scrub and tree stumps, improving the farming land and caravan site.

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