For the most part our Antrim itineraries follow parts of the ‘Ulster Way’, a 1,000km/625 mile long circular official long distance walking route around Northern Ireland, but they also include some additional non-waymarked sections that offer great views or easier walking.
From Cushendall to Ballycastle the trail follows the ‘Moyle Way’ section of the Ulster Way. The trail goes through the scenic woodlands and rivers of Glenariff Forest Park before heading north through the Glens of Antrim over remote upland and then through forestry towards the town of Ballycastle.
Next, you take the stunning cliff walk from Torr Head/Murlough Bay around Fair Head, with views towards Scotland, back to Ballycastle along an unofficial trail. On a day-trip to Rathlin Island, we suggest some unofficial walks to explore the island and its varied history and wildlife.
From Ballycastle, farm and forestry tracks and minor roads lead to the small village of Ballintoy and the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Continuing west from Ballintoy, the trail follows the ‘Causeway Coast Way’ section of the Ulster Way along the most celebrated stretch of coastline in Northern Ireland.
The route leads to Dunseverick Castle and then on to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. The world’s oldest Whiskey distillery, located at Bushmills, is just a short detour from the trail at this point. From here, the trail follows the coastline, passing through the coastal villages of Portballintrae and Portrush, past the impressive ruins of Dunluce Castle, to the Victorian seaside town of Portstewart.
There is a wide range of terrain to experience along this trail. There are forest trails, upland moorland paths, cliff sections, beach walks, promenade strolls and on some days sections of regular asphalt hiking.
Only the Moderate tour itineraries cover the more challenging Moyle Way mountain sections in the Antrim Glens, i.e. the hikes from Waterfoot/Orra Beg to Glenariff Forest Park and from Orra Beg to Ballycastle. Those sections cover more remote countryside and reach the highest elevation of the walk (500m) at Sleaveanorra (Orra More). Those sections can be wet and rough underfoot, and navigation can become a little more challenging in bad weather.
Our Gentle itineraries focus on the Antrim Coast and can be enjoyed by the novice walker as well as the more accomplished hiker. The highest point on the coastal section of the trail is approximately 180m above sea-level and none of the off-road sections are very remote.
The total aggregate ascent is approximately 1,200m for the Antrim Glens section and 740m for the Antrim Coast section and it includes only a few short but steep climbs, specifically on the moderate tours.
ELEVATION PROFILES (not including Rathlin Island)
Antrim Glens (Waterfoot to Ballycastle – 42km)
Causeway Coast (Torr Head to Portstewart – 62km)