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5 Things You Didn't Know About the Causeway Coast

Posted on October 26, 2016 @ 4:12 PM in Walking

Away a Wee Walk share with us some secrets about the epic Causeway Coast and why everyone should walk it!   

1. There are Hidden Views as Good as the Cliffs of Moher

The Victorians were onto something.  Long before the modern visitor facilities at the Causeway, much of the site was more challenging to access.  It wasn't uncommon to visit the stones by boat on a tour and many people walked much more of the coastline along a magnificent lower path (now closed due to erosion) and back along the cliff tops.  With easier access the cliff top walking route has become somewhat of a secret and is underused.  Imagine if more of the 850,000 visitors who go to the Causeway each year were aware that just one hour away on foot, along the cliffs, is a view that rivals the Cliffs of Moher.  The site with the best view is known as Hamilton’s' Seat.  

Causeway Coast Cliff Path

Image: Alistair Hamill Photography

2. It Was Once a River 

We think that the Causeway is all about the honeycombed shaped 'stones', (which are technically rocks) however the stones are not the exclusive reason the location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Another reason is the geological story, of when America effectively, went to America - the beginning of the separating of Europe and North America and the creation of the North Atlantic Ocean. It all happened around 60 million years ago when the rocks cooled very slowly (not very rapidly, as many mistakenly believe).  The area was a huge river valley which acted like a thermos flask causing the lava to cool very slowly.  As the lava cooled and contracted it caused the hexagonal columns to form at the main site and along the coast. 

3. It Features Secluded Bays with Bothys

 Bothy's can be found around the Scottish and Irish coast and in remote mountain locations.  They range in size and shape but traditionally were very simple shelter for fishermen and mountain users.  There is a renovated bothy at Port Moon, near Dunseverick, which can now be booked by sea kayakers paddling the North Coast Sea Kayak Trail

Portmoon Bothy

4. You can swim in ‘Private' rock pools 

Just keep swimming. Dunseverick must be one of the smallest places in Ireland that neither has a pub nor a post office yet it has two lay-bys, a small castle ruin, a harbour and rock pools!  The pools are viewable from the road down to the harbour and are regularly used by locals in the know for swimming in ocean water without having to deal with tides and waves.  If you clamour over a few more rocks, you'll discover smaller but deeper pools, out of view from the harbour road.  

Dunseverick

5. It Has an Ancient Royal Past  

The castle ruin at Dunseverick might be a disappointment to anyone showing up to see an actual castle.  We know very little about Dunseverick today, yet archaeologists are able to inform us that one of the five roads that left Tara, site of the ancient Seat of Ireland's High Kings, ended at this location on the Causeway Coast and proves that the location was once highly strategic in Ireland's past.  

causeway coast way

The Causeway Coast Way, especially the section from Portballintrae to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is among the most scenic coastal walks you can find anywhere.  Check out tide times if you want to access White Park Bay the easy way.  You roughly have three hours either side of low tide if you want to keep your feet dry!

causeway coast way portbradden

Away A Wee Walk regularly offer guided 6 mile walking tours along one of the most scenic sections of the Causeway Coast Way from Dunseverick to the Giant’s Causeway.  Take in amazing cliff top views whilst hearing plenty of interesting facts from a passionate guide. Cost: £35pp for a half day guided tour.

Eimear Flanagan
Eimear Flanagan  Owner of Away A Wee Walk

A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Eimear set up 'Away A Wee Walk' (Northern Ireland's only dedicated scenic hiking tours and holiday company) after a 500 mile trek in Spain. She now provides hikes and holidays that are the 'quintessence of Ireland', creating experiences that are cherished forever. Eimear often finds herself pointing out breath taking landscapes to her visitors, while they take photographs of the sheep!

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