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Welcome to our walking blog. The aim of this blog is to give readers a further insight into walking in Northern Ireland. The blog will cover everything from seasonal walking suggestions and events to information on how to best practice ‘Leave No Trace’ techniques and walk responsibly in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will also be inviting local accomplished mountaineers and industry experts to give their thoughts and opinions into Northern Ireland top walking spots and other trails more off the beaten track.

For your definitive guide to walking in Northern Ireland visit www.walkni.com

#WalkNI Instagram Favourites (Causeway Coast & Glens)

Posted on October 16, 2018 @ 5:47 PM in Walking

From picture perfect sunsets to cliff top views, we take a look back on our favourite #CausewayCoast #WalkNI moments shared on Instagram.

Glenariff
Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk, 1.5 miles circular, Glenariff, Co. Antrim

Runkerry Beach
Portballintrae Causeway Loop, 5.5 miles circular, Portballintrae, Co. Antrim

Mussenden Temple
Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne, 2 miles Circular, Coleraine, Co. Antrim

Fairhead Northern Ireland
Fairhead, Various walks between 1.5 & 3.3 miles circular, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim

White Park Bay Beach
White Park Bay, 1.4 miles linear (one way), Ballintoy, Co. Antrim

Giant's Causeway

Causeway Coast Way (part of the Ulster Way), Co. Antrim

Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle which can be found along the Causeway Coast Way (part of the Ulster Way), Ballycastle, Co. Antrim

Carrick-A-Rede
Carrick-a-Rede, 0.7 miles linear (one way), Ballintoy, Co. Antrim

Gleno Waterfall
Gleno Waterfall, 1 mile circular, Gleno, Co. Antrim

Whiterocks
White Rocks- Portrush to Bushmills walk, 6.6 miles linear (one way), Portrush, Co. Antrim

Ballintoy Harbour
Giant sea caves at Ballintoy Harbour along the Causeway Coast Way (part of the Ulster Way), Ballintoy, Co. Antrim

Don't forget to share your Mournes Adventures with us using #WalkNI on social media.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

#WalkNI Instagram Favourites (Mourne Mountains)

Posted on September 17, 2018 @ 2:26 PM in Walking

From summit selfies to picture perfect views, we take a look back on our favourite #MourneMountains #WalkNI moments shared on Instagram this summer.


Slieve Donard via Bloody Bridge, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Bloody Bridge
Find this Bridge: Bloody Bridge River Walk, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Reservoir Views
Discover these views for yourself: Reservoir Views, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Devils Coach Road
Take in this epic view from the top of the Devil's Coach Road Slieve Beg
, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Hare's Gap
Walk here: Hare's Gap
, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down


Discover these views for yourself: Reservoir Views, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Slieve Binnian
Take a summit selfie here: Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down


Find this Bridge: Spelga Dam, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Annalong Valley

Walk here: Annalong Valley (Central Mournes), Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Slieve Binnian
Find this walk: Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Summit Cairn
Take in these views from the summit cairn of Slieve Lough shannagh, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Don't forget to share your Mournes Adventures with us using #WalkNI on social media.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Shining A Light On Northern Ireland's Great Lighthouses

Posted on August 1, 2018 @ 11:08 AM in Walking

Down through the centuries Lighthouses have helped guide ships and sailors safely along the coastline avoiding perilous rocks. Dotted along the stunning coastline on various walking routes, Northern Ireland boasts 5 Great Lighthouses waiting to be explored! 

The Bumblebee Lighthouse

St John's Point Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Image: St. John's Point Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Overlooking Dundrum Bay in the coastal town of Killough, you can't miss St John's Lighthouse. Located on section 4 of the Lecale Way between Ardglass and Tyrella, St John's is the tallest onshore lighthouse in Ireland, designed by acclaimed designer George Halpin Senior. It's striking tall tower is marked with vibrant bumblebee bands of yellow and black. These vivid colours, which distinguish it from other lighthouses, are known as its daymark. 

The Little Lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Image: Blackhead Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Belfast Lough, Blackhead Lighthouse is located only half an hour from Belfast. Built in 1902, the lighthouse has guided many famous vessels to safety during Belfast's golden age of shipping, including RMS Titanic. As well as exploring the inside of the lighthouse, visitors can follow the dramatic coastline by walking the 2.4 mile linear (one way) Blackhead Path which takes you past a series of sea caves and coves towards the Victorian seaside resort of Whitehead.

The Upside Down Lighthouse

Rathlin Island

Image: Rathlin Island West Lighthouse courtesy of Tourism NI

Whether you love wildlife, are a bit of a history buff or simply want to experience life on an island and feel the wind in your face, Rathlin West Lighthouse is the place for you. At just six miles long, one mile wide, the west lighthouse is one of two lights which can be found on the Island. Known as being Ireland's only 'upside down' lighthouse, it can be accessed via the 4 mile linear (one way) Rathlin Trail. Be sure to take a tour of the lighthouse and embrace the views from its cliff-face vantage point to get a real insight into lightkeeping life. The Island is not only home to this unique lighthouse, but also one of the largest seabird colonies in the UK which can be admired from the RSPB Seabird Centre. 

Lighthouse On The Pier

Donaghadee Lighthouse

The character of Donaghadee is intimately joined to its most well known landmark Donaghadee Lighthouse. Since its construction in 1836 this limestone lighthouse has been a symbol of pride to the town's inhabitants. From it's lofty parapet, there's a seagulls eye view of the harbour and town which you can discover by following the 1.5 mile, Donaghadee Town Trail.

The Great Light 

Titanic Light

Image: Titanic Light courtesy of Titanic Foundation

The Great Light in Belfast's Titanic Quarter is one of the largest optics of its kind ever built in the world, and is around 130 years old. Weighing 10 tonnes and measuring 7 metres tall, the optic is a unique maritime heritage object with significance to Belfast's economic, maritime and industrial past. It is totally irreplaceable and is an exceptionally rare maritime artefact. It produced one of the strongest lighthouse beams ever to shine - a truly GREAT LIGHT. You can discover this light for yourself by following the 500 metre Titanic Walkway on Victoria Wharf, which connects the Titanic Slipways to HMS Caroline and the Thompson Dock.

For more coastal walks in Northern Ireland check out WalkNI.com for details.

Latest comment posted by Denis Campbell on October 6, 2018 @ 10:46 AM

Mary, I guess they have included only the visitable ones. The photo of Blackhead shows a small building with a radar scanner (for Belfast Harbour Traffic Control) on top. It was the fog signal ... Read more >

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Top 4 Mountain Climbs For Beginners

Posted on July 23, 2018 @ 12:43 PM in Walking

Sometimes the prospect of climbing to the top of a mountain can be a little intimidating to beginner hikers. The good news is it doesn't have to be - discover some of Northern Ireland's best summits with our guide to the top 4 beginner climbs.

1. Divis & The Black Mountain, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Divis

Located just a stones throw from Belfast City Centre, the trails on Divis are ideal for those looking to experience mountain views without the mountain climb. The highest point in the Belfast Hills, Divis stands at 478 metres (1,562ft) and boasts views across Northern Ireland as well as stunning panoramic views over Belfast.

The Divis Summit Trail, 3 miles circular will take on average between 50 mins & 1 hour 30 mins to complete. We recommend taking a detour from this trail and following the Divis Ridge Trail to experience more of the amazing cityscape views before re-joining the summit trail.

2. Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

Slieve Donard

At 850m (2,789 ft) Slieve Donard is the highest of the Mourne Mountains. Boasting spectacular views on a clear day it is no surprise this mountain is a popular challenge for visitors and beginner hikers. We recommend those who take on this summit have a good level of fitness and wear suitable clothing and footwear for a mountain climb. Check out WalkNI: Slieve Donard Summit via the Glen River, 2.9 miles (one way) for a full route description of this trail. 

3. Cuilcagh Boardwalk (Legnabrocky Trail), Co. Fermanagh

Cuilcagh Boardwalk

One of the most popular walks in Northern Ireland, the Cuilcagh Boardwalk (Legnabrocky Trail), 4.6 miles linear (one way) provides a unique journey to the top of Cuilcagh Mountain. Situated in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark the extensive boardwalk is most suited to those with a good level of fitness and some experience of walking in the hills. Installed to help protect the rare blanket bog from erosion this linear route is quite isolated and showcases the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain.

The Trail meaders along a quiet farmland track before traversing a wooden boardwalk that consists of a steady climb to the mountain face. Here a stepped boardwalk climbs through steep terrain and boulder fields before reaching the summit plateau.

Please note:

  • No dogs are allowed on this walk.
  • There is no access to the summit Cairn beyond the end of the boardwalk (You will still experience the same amazing views from viewpoint).
  • There is a £5 charge for those wishing to avail of the private car park at the beginning of this walk. Alternatively, walkers can park at Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre nearby.

4. Slemish, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Slemish

Follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick to the summit of Slemish (1.2 miles circular). Aside from its natural beauty, in local tradition the mountain was the site of the Saint's slavery, where he spent 6 years herding livestock fro Mulchi, the local chieftain.

This route follows grassy track from the Slemish Car Park to the base of the mountain before following rocky terrain to the summit (some 1437ft above sea level!). This short ascent is reasonably strenuous, however your efforts are more than rewarded with fabulous views that are sure to re-energise any tired legs. For a gentler descent, walk across the grassy summit and hike down the south face of Slemish. You can then traverse back across the south western side of the mountain picking up the route back to the car park.

Despite being only 1.2 miles in length this rocky ramble should take around an hour to complete, leaving plenty of time to take in the jaw-dropping views. 

For more walk ideas check out WalkNI.com

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Take Me To That View

Posted on June 26, 2018 @ 1:06 PM in Walking

Northern Ireland has an abundance of great views, whether you're in search of an epic Instagram photo or looking to explore somewhere new. Here are some of the amazing views we recommend experiencing this year.

Dunluce Castle

View from the Causeway Coast Way over Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Grid reference to start: C904414
Picture by Chris Ibbotson Photography

Big Dog Forest

View From Big Dog Forest Walk

Big Dog Forest: Big Dog WalkCo. Fermanagh
Grid reference to start: 
H041494
Image courtesy of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

Rathlin Island

View from Rathlin Island to Fairhead

Rathlin Island Roonivoolin WalkCo. Antrim
Grid reference to start: D147510 
Picture by Hibernia Landscapes

Cloughmore Stone

Sunset views from the Cloughmore Stone across Carlingford Lough

Rostrevor - Cloughmore Stone, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J195174
Picture by Jaime Collins Photography

Slemish

A view of Slemish from Saint Patrick's perspective

Slemish, Co. Antrim
Grid reference to start: D217056
Image courtesy of Tourism NI

Mourne Mountains

Sunset Views from Hare's Gap

Hare's GapMourne Mountains, Co. Down
Grid reference for the start: J311314
Picture by Ryan Simpson Photography

Mussenden Temple

View from Mussenden Temple onto Downhill Beach

Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne, Co. Derry~Londonderry
Grid reference to start: C760354
Picture by Derek Heeps Photography

Please note National Trust entrance fees apply to this walk. For details see National Trust: Downhill.

Slans Graveyard

View of Strangford Lough from Slans Graveyard

Slans Graveyard, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J639550
Image courtesy of Outdoor Recreation NI

Davagh Forest

The enchanting 50 shades of green view of Davagh Forest

Davagh ForestCo. Tyrone
Grid reference to start: H694862
Picture by Simon Nieborak Photography

C.S Lewis Square

View inside the wardrobe of Aslan in C.S Lewis Square

Connswater Community Greenway: C.S Lewis Square, Co. Antrim
Grid Reference to start: J366750
Image courtesy of Bradley Quinn

Doan

Mountain Top Views of Lough Shannagh from Carn Mountain

Lough Shannagh, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down
Grid reference to start: J284214
Picture by Brian McCready Landscapes

Sunset views along the Newry Canal

Newry Canal Way, Co. Armagh
Grid reference to start: J014539
Picture by Mickey Shields Photography

For more incredible walks with spectacular views check out WalkNI.com. Don't forget to share pictures of amazing views you discover with us on social media, using #WalkNI on Instagram or @walkNI on Facebook & Twitter.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

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