The Ballyconaghan, Kebble Cliff Walk, Kinramer North Walk and Kinramer Trail join the already existing Rathlin Trail and Roonivoolin Walk to provide walkers with just under 32km of walking on the island. All routes are fully way marked making them easy to navigate allowing walkers to easily explore and enjoy the views of this unique island.
Situated 10km off the North East coast, Rathlin’s wonder lies in the variety of birdlife that grace the shores of this remote and tranquil island. Just 8km east-west and 5.5km north-south it is home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including common guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills as well as a world renowned RSPB centre making it a birdwatchers paradise. However as well as enjoying the comical antics of puffins and seals in spring and early summer from the cliffs, walkers can expect to be treated to some magnificent views of Donegal, the North Antrim coastline, the island of Islay and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland.
The 2.9km circular Ballyconaghan Trail will take walkers through National Trust Land in the North of the island providing stunning views out to the Atlantic and Scotland.
Taking in the south of the island with stunning views of dramatic sea cliffs and of Ballycastle beyond, the 3km circular Kebble Cliff Walk passes Bull Point, near to where Richard Branson crash landed his hot air balloon in 1987, on his record breaking transatlantic flight.
For the more intrepid rambler, the 3.4km circular Kinramer North Walk also through Kebble Nature Reserve features sections through rough terrain, with steep slopes providing walkers with amazing views of dramatic sea cliffs before returning along the edge of Kinramer Wood.
Finally the 3km circular Kinramer Trail crosses open field, boardwalk and cliff top walkers will be rewarded with views of basalt columns same in structure to those found at the Giant’s Causeway.
With nearly 32 km of walks on Rathlin and a whole host more on the North Coast this is a great opportunity for a short walking break. There are a number of exclusive discounts and offers available at walker friendly accommodation in Ballycastle and the North Coast and Antrim on WalkNI.com so walkers can make the most of the walking opportunities in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The new quality walks have come as a result of a recent Access and Interpretation Audit for Rathlin Island undertaken by Outdoor Recreation NI. Following consultations with a range of stakeholders including private landowners, RSPB, NIEA, National Trust, NITB, Moyle District Council and Rathlin Development and Community Association the audit proposed a pilot project for improving the Island’s signage making visitors more aware of the walking opportunities available on Rathlin.
Andrew Braton from the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust enthused, “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Outdoor Recreation NI to help further develop the walking product on Rathlin Island. It is fantastic to see these walks enhancing access within the Antrim Coast and Glens AONB and on one of Northern Ireland’s hidden gems which will hopefully encourage an increase in tourists to the island who may not have considered visiting before.”
Michael Cecil, Chair of the Rathlin Development & Community Association is also delighted with the outcome of the project and is looking forward to welcoming walkers to enjoy the new trails which highlight the beauty of Rathlin, “We, as a community, are very proud of our island and are excited for others to now be able to explore it more easily while, at the same time, protecting and respecting those who manage the land carefully, especially through farming. However it’s not just about attracting new faces to the island; the new trails also remind the resident community of the opportunities for safe enjoyment of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, internationally recognised for its high quality environment.”
Rathlin Island and the official walking trails are accessible by ferry throughout the year from Ballycastle. Contact Rathlin Island Ferries for travel times on 028 2076 9299 or visit www.rathlinballycastleferry.com
For detailed route descriptions and downloadable maps for these new walks on Rathlin and hundreds of other quality walks across Northern Ireland, visit www.WalkNI.com