Meet the man behind bringing competitive fun to Fermanagh with the county’s latest airsoft site.
Originally from Teemore, Nick Everton wanted to bring his passion to his hometown and after five years of preparation, Battlegrounds Airsoft was born.
Located in Derrylin, Nick’s site is a one-of-a-kind airsofting experience which is a competitive team shooting sport in which participants eliminate opposing players by tagging them out of play.
Speaking to MyFermanagh, Nick said: “I got into airsoft about ten years ago when I was living in London – a friend of mine got me into it and I was addicted right away.
(Image: Nick Everton fell in love with airsofting over ten years ago)
“When I came back home about five years ago, I was living in Armagh where there was a site nearby but when I moved back to Fermanagh nobody seemed to know what airsoft is.
“There is quite a following in Fermanagh for airsoft. It’s more realistic than paintball and I would say it doesn’t hurt as much too.”
With dreams of making the activity a household name in Fermanagh, Nick got to work on his family farm which runs right along the neighbouring lake.
“There’s probably not a more beautiful place to play airsoft,” he said.
“I’ve been working on the site for five years because when I first got the field, it had been rough grazing ground for cattle and it wouldn’t have been safe to run on – I ploughed, reseeded and drained it so in the winter time it could be dry too.”
He spent over five years preparing the site on his family’s farm
Nick made the decision not to open during the pandemic despite being prepared to get started last year as he wanted to ensure he was launching his new venture at the best time.
He added: “I put it on hold. I could have opened last year but I decided to stay in my job because it was so uncertain and risky.
“I decided to wait until things opened up a bit and it’s been very busy since we opened six weeks ago.”
Battlefields offers taster sessions and half-day events for those wanting to dip their toe in the action but also have space for seasoned pros who enjoy the militant style activities.
“A lot of people bring all their own gear but I do have rentals and all the supplies if people want to come along and try it,” he said.
“It’s played like a game of football so you have two teams who are battling against each other.
“It’s a lot like Xbox or other gaming when you are playing to shoot the enemy.”
Nick added: “Airsoft is based on honesty and that’s what would attract a lot of people to it – the community are attracted to that style of gameplay so when you are hit, you put up your hand and shout ‘hit’ and head to the respawn area.”
Discussing the increased staycation tourism in Co Fermanagh, Nick encouraged travellers to try their hand at airsofting and try a different adventure this summer.
He excited to continue to expand the site and make airsofting a more popular activity in the area
“It’s great to get out and get some exercise in the countryside and as I said, we’re right beside the lake in an open field and it’s a great activity for young people to try.
“A lot of young people seem to be into gaming and this is a way to get them off that and it’s great to get them out here and enjoying that same sort of experience but for real – get off the couch and into the game.
“It’s really good to see people get excited to have a go at it and when their parents come back to pick them up, they tell them about having such a great day. Really good to get that feedback,” Nick said.
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Looking to the future, he hopes to continue to grow Battlefields and welcome more people into the community.
“I’ve got plans to expand and make it bigger.
“I hope to get more numbers in and grow the sport in Fermanagh – before this, anyone who was into the hobby was travelling an hour and a half.
“I want to get it more into the mainstream so that when people ask about airsofting they will know what it is and want to get involved.”
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