Best Hikes on Earth: The Causeway Coast Trail

Blackberry Breakfast on the Causeway Coast Trail

Blackberry Breakfast on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast Trail

After visiting the Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge by car, I ditched my wheels and connected the two sites on foot with a 13-mile trek along the Causeway Coast Trail. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. Ireland gifted me with a warm, breezy, bluebird sunny day!

The Causeway Coast Trail runs through farmland, fishing harbors, seaside villages, across the stunning white sand expanse of Whitepark Bay (check tidecharts for this section- only accessible at low tide), to Ireland’s smallest chapel, past castle ruins and along cliff tops to the Giants Causeway and on to Bushmills, home of the world’s oldest distillery. I’ve hiked a lot of miles on a lot of trails in my life, and this trek definitely deserves to be called one of the best hikes on Earth!

The Trail started at the Carrick-a_Rede Rope Bridge and ran between farm fields for the first mile, before passing this old white church and turning towards the coast.

The trail started at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and ran between farm fields for the first mile, before passing this old white church and turning towards the coast.

Free Range Goose & Ducks eggs along the Coast Trail

Free range goose & ducks eggs at a farm along the Coast Trail

Motorcycle Teardrops!

Motorcycle Teardrops! Camped at Ballantoy Harbor

Sea Arch at Ballantoy

Sea Arch at Ballantoy Harbor

LIvestock Warning on the fence to Whitepark Bay

Livestock Warning on the fence to Whitepark Bay. I met a lot of cows and sheep on my hike, but they were all friendly and non-threatening (as if sheep could ever be scary…)

Whitepark Bay

Whitepark Bay. Beautiful sugar-sand beach.

Fin & Algae in Whitepark Bay

Fin & Algae in Whitepark Bay

Coastal village of Portbraden

Coastal village of Portbraden

Ireland's smallest church, in Portbraden

Ireland’s smallest church, in Portbraden

Inside St. Gobban's Church, Portbraden

Inside St. Gobban’s Church, Portbraden

Path Closed?! I was all ready to turn around when I met an 87 year old man who assured me he hikes this section everyday. He said, "If I can do it, anybody can do it!"

Path Closed?! I was all ready to detour when I met an 80 year old local man on the trail who assured me he hikes this section all the time. He said, “If I can do it, anybody can do it!”

This is the "landslide". I might not have even noticed it. No big deal. Hike on!

This is the “landslide”. I might not have even noticed it. There’s a narrow, but stable path across. No big deal. Hike on!

Treasure! Some kind of little carnivore. See the pointy teeth? Maybe a fox?

Treasure! Some kind of little carnivore. See the pointy teeth? Maybe a fox?

Trail markers along the way

Trail markers along the way

One of many styles you have to cross between pastures on the trail.

One of many styles between pastures on the trail. I saw more cattle and sheep on this hike than people!

The Coast Trail

Most of the trail ran between a fence and the cliffs.

View back east. I started in the distance, past the barely visible crescent of beach of Whitepark Bay. Not bad for a morning's walk!

View back east. I started in the distance, past the barely visible crescent of beach of Whitepark Bay. Not bad for a morning’s walk! And I was only halfway done…

Wool on Fence

Wool on Fence

Wool in hand. Lots of sheep in Ireland!

Raw Wool. Have I mentioned there are a lot of sheep in Ireland?

Remains of Dunseverick Castle

Remains of Dunseverick Castle, destroyed in 1642

Old Wall near Halfmoon Bay

Old Wall near Half Moon Bay

Columnar Basalt nearing the Giants Causeway

Columnar Basalt cliffs, nearing the Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway down below, crawling with ants!

The Giants Causeway down below, crawling with ants!

Stay tuned for more from the Emerald Isle and then I’m on to Scotland! For more info on hiking all 33 miles of the Causeway Coast Trail, click here.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently traveling the backroads from New Mexico to Alaska, writing and living out of a tiny Teardrop camper. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
This entry was posted in Beyond the USA, Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Best Hikes on Earth: The Causeway Coast Trail

  1. neilirving says:

    Looks like a lovely day for a stroll, love blackberries me and the horses have a handful every morning walking down to the field at this time of year, lol you have not be chased by angry sheep, my wife got chased right across a field fastest I’ve ever seen her move she jumped right over the gate with out touching it

  2. Gorgeous scenery. So many views to photograph.

  3. bonsai eejit says:

    Reblogged this on Bonsai Eejit and commented:
    Great blog I started following over a year ago, well worth a look especially this post from my own wee country ;-)

  4. shedgepeth says:

    Reblogged this on The Tale of A Fleur-Di-Lis Cowgirl and commented:
    I really want to do this, how amazing!

  5. mountainmae says:

    Thanks for taking us along on this fabulous hike.

  6. chris339 says:

    Beautiful scenery. Definitely added to the list of places to go. The skull is not a fox, possibly a domestic dog.

  7. Caitlin says:

    Ireland looks so lovely. I’ll have to revisit these pictures in the dead of winter for a shot of green.

  8. So interesting to see the terrain and vistas of Ireland. Surprising to see the lack of trees. I wonder what they burn for warmth and/or cooking in their fireplaces or wood stoves. With so many sheep, I’m surprised not to see some idyllic landscape photography with sheep grazing. Had to go look up styles (stiles) to see what they actually are, since they aren’t as common here in New Mexico. I like that they are for providing access to the public on private farms and ranches. What a great idea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stile

    ~Lisa
    Tijeras, NM

  9. Dom says:

    Such rugged, beautiful coastline. Gorgeous photos! Wow.

  10. Simon Toussifar says:

    Beautiful scenery, lovely photo’s!

  11. Pingback: I Couldn’t Wait! | Toward an Authentic Me

  12. furrygnome says:

    Spectacular scenery! Ireland is rising on my bucket list! Can’t wait til you get to Scotland to hear what you think of it.

  13. Hi Mary – What great photos of the coast of Ireland and a wonderful hike! I’ll have to get Clifford to take a look here – he fantasizes about going to Ireland and Scotland. Best to you, Carol

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