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.
Free range goose & ducks eggs at a farm along the Coast Trail
Motorcycle Teardrops! Camped at Ballantoy Harbor
Sea Arch at Ballantoy Harbor
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. Beautiful sugar-sand beach.
Fin & Algae in Whitepark Bay
Coastal village of Portbraden
Ireland’s smallest church, in Portbraden
Inside St. Gobban’s Church, Portbraden
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. 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?
Trail markers along the way
One of many styles between pastures on the trail. I saw more cattle and sheep on this hike than people!
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! And I was only halfway done…
Wool on Fence
Raw Wool. Have I mentioned there are a lot of sheep in Ireland?
Remains of Dunseverick Castle, destroyed in 1642
Old Wall near Half Moon Bay
Columnar Basalt cliffs, nearing the Giants Causeway
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.
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 based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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
Gorgeous scenery. So many views to photograph.
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 😉
Reblogged this on The Tale of A Fleur-Di-Lis Cowgirl and commented:
I really want to do this, how amazing!
Thanks for taking us along on this fabulous hike.
Beautiful scenery. Definitely added to the list of places to go. The skull is not a fox, possibly a domestic dog.
How can you tell? Thanks! M
A fox has a longer, flatter skull, and bigger teeth. The roundness of the cranium usually indicates one of the dogs bred for a more “baby-like” appearance. But I’m also not totally familiar with Ireland’s wildlife, so it could be something different.
Interesting. Thanks for the explanation! M
Ireland looks so lovely. I’ll have to revisit these pictures in the dead of winter for a shot of green.
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.
Such rugged, beautiful coastline. Gorgeous photos! Wow.
Beautiful scenery, lovely photo’s!
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Spectacular scenery! Ireland is rising on my bucket list! Can’t wait til you get to Scotland to hear what you think of it.
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