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Portrush to Dunseverick

10 nautical mile paddle taking in the highlights of the Causeway Coast including the Giant's Causeway.

County
Antrim
Distance
10 nautical miles
Days
1
Nearest Town
Portrush
Route Shape
Linear
Grade
-
OS Map
OSNI Discoverer Map Series 1:50,000 Sheet 4
Access Point
Portrush Harbour - C854407
Egress Point
Dunserverick Harbour - C000445

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Points of Interest

Portrush, White Rocks, Dunluce Castle, Porballintrae, The Giant's Causeway, Runkerry Cave, Port-na-Spaniagh, Port Moon, Dunserverick Harbour. 

Itinerary

The low cliffs of Ramore Head separate the West and East Strands of Portrush. Strong tide races occur at this headland, through the Skerries, and in the sound. The islands
which are privately owned have seal and seabird colonies which add interest as you paddle by.


The White Rocks eroded limestone cliffs feature The Giant’s Head, The Wishing Arch and a variety of stacks, caves and wave-cut platforms. In springtime, these cliffs are home to Black Guillemot colonies and salt-tolerant wild flowers.



Ahead are the romantic ruins of Dunluce Castle. Its 700 year history and the views alone make it well worth a visit – landing is possible in the narrow channel just east of the spectacular cave that penetrates the sea stack on which the castle is perched. The salt and pepper effect of white limestone or chalk and black basalt is a regular feature of the
coastline from here to Rathlin, a geological mix unique in Ireland. Binbane Cave, one of the longest on the coast, with its entrance facing north east, is worth exploring.


The former fishing settlement of Portballintrae is now a mix of apartments and holiday homes but offers a welcome break before the rugged cliffs of the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site are encountered. The Blind Rock or ‘Blinn’ guards the east side of the entrance to the bay and should be given a wide berth.


The route to the Causeway takes you past the mouth of the River Bush. The tongue of freshwater is a good indicator of tidal movement in the bay. 3km upstream is the famous whiskey distillery, and at the far end of the strand is the distinctive landmark of Runkerry House. The former Blackrock
salmon fishery bothy perches on the rocks below.  Watch out for the Mile Stone and a tide race rounding Runkerry Point. There are three caves in these cliffs, the first one - Runkerry Cave - being quite extensive.


Some of the finest cliff scenery awaits you from the Giant’s Causeway to Dunseverick Harbour, with layers of dark basalt interspersed with red layers of iron-rich laterite, but beware of reflected waves and downdraughts close to the shore in strong offshore winds. The amazing regular basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway and cliffs, the Chimneys standing above the Amphitheatre and the long talon of Lacada Point in Port-na-Spaniagh are highlights. The latter claimed the Spanish Armada treasure ship Girona in a storm in 1588 with few survivors from the hundreds of souls on board. Jewellery and other artefacts were salvaged by divers in 1967- 1969 and can be viewed in the Ulster Museum. Continue
past column-clad headlands and bays to the restored fishermans bothy at Portmoon (open in March 2012), where it is possible to stay by prior arrangement with the Causeway Coast Kayak Association.


From here, it’s a short journey to Dunseverick
Harbour, once a busy fishing port, whose history is displayed in the small private museum above the pier.

Getting to the Start

Eglinton Street runs parallel to the West Strand in Portrush. From here turn left onto Kerr Street and keep left at the fork onto Harbour Road.

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