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Newcastle to Cranfield

1day from Newcastle to Cranfield with the Mourne Mountains as a back drop

13 nautical miles
Nearest Town
Route Shape
OS Map
Access Point
Newcastle Harbour - J380296
Egress Point
Cranfield - J264106


Points of Interest

Newcastle, Maggie's Leap, Annalong, Selk Rock


Offshore from Dundrum Bay is the meeting point of the tides that sweep around Ireland from north to south, and a heavy swell can build up in the Bay in strong onshore winds. This makes for good surf, with best access from Newcastle harbour or the beach nearby.

The Mourne Mountains dominate the scenery from Newcastle to Cranfield Point. The mountains rise steeply inland whilst the shoreline is made up of rocky beaches and small cliffs. The latter provide enjoyable rock dodging, particularly at high water, when many of the caves and channels become accessible by kayak. Maggie’s Leap, a narrow chasm stretching inland, is famed in
local folklore as the place where a local woman made a dramatic leap to get away from her pursuing lover. Just to the south, two larger caves are well worth exploring. One of
these involves a 50 metre squeeze, where hands are needed in the place of paddles!

At Dunmore the mountains begin to recede inland and the shoreline flows smoothly south, etched in soft boulder clay deposited by ice sheets some 16,000 years ago. There are few offshore reefs and few sandy beaches, but the coast is breached by two rivers, at Annalong and Kilkeel. The former
was once a bustling fishing port but today is used mainly by small craft engaged in creeling (lobster pot laying). The historic harbour at Annalong and the adjacent operational cornmill are worth a closer look. Further south, a small island called Selk Rock is home to a small colony of common seals.

The fishing port of Kilkeel has a large harbour which accommodates the largest fishing fleet in this sector of the Irish Sea. For this reason the harbour is not suitable for canoe access and paddlers should stay clear of fishing vessels operating in the vicinity.

Tidal streams are generally weak along this section of coastline.

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