DISTANCE

83.7 miles

East Coast

Antrim, Down

The drama of chalk and basalt cliffs of the east County Antrim coast gives way to a low-lying rocky shore broken by numerous sandy beaches in County Down. The tidal range increases southwards to Strangford Lough. There are optional excursions out to islands such as he Maidens (County Antrim) and the Copelands (County Down) as well as the sheltered waters of Larne Lough, and the trail also takes you into and across Belfast Lough.

The starting point is at Waterfoot beach south of Cushendall and the route mirrors coastal roads most of the way to end at the turbulent narrows and the attractive village of Portaferry at the mouth of Strangford Lough. There is the choice to paddle the four sections in either direction, southwards as described here, or north.

Thus the East Coast Trail offers stretches of relatively easy paddling for the less experienced canoeist and, for the more adventurous, challenging tide races, overfalls and windswept island circuits. Seals, seabirds, an almost 500 million geological time span and a varied human history linked to nearby Scotland add interest to this side of the North Channel and Irish Sea. There is a good range of slipway access points, beach haul-outs and picturesque resting spots.

DISTANCE

83.7 miles

ROUTE TYPE

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OS MAP

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GRID REFERENCE

D24922 24736

COUNTY

Antrim, Down

NEAREST TOWN

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LANDSCAPE

Coastal

TERRAIN

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ON/OFF PUBLIC ROAD

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DIFFICULTY

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  • Access Egress Points
    Full details can be found at www.canoeni.com
  • Suitable For
    The East Coast Canoe Trail, approximately 70 nautical miles long, offers more adventure than the mainly low-lying shores and sheltered sea loughs might suggest. Negotiating choppy tide races to visit lighthouse islands and skirting hundreds of small reefs known as pladdies add spice to this journey. The drama of chalk and basalt cliffs of the east County Antrim coast gives way to a low-lying rocky shore broken by numerous sandy beaches in County Down. The tidal range increases southwards to Strangford Lough. There are optional excursions (for the experienced paddler) out to islands such as the Maidens (County Antrim) and the Copelands (County Down) as well as the sheltered waters of Larne Lough, and the trail also takes you into and across Belfast Lough. The starting point is at Waterfoot beach south of Cushendall and the route mirrors coastal roads most of the way to end at the turbulent narrows and the attractive village of Portaferry at the mouth of Strangford Lough. There is the choice to paddle the four sections in either direction, southwards as described here, or north. Thus the East Coast Trail offers stretches of relatively easy paddling for the less experienced canoeist and, for the more adventurous, challenging tide races, overfalls and windswept island circuits. Seals, seabirds, an almost 500 million geological time span and a varied human history linked to nearby Scotland add interest to this side of the North Channel and Irish Sea. There is a good range of slipway access points, beach haul-outs and picturesque resting spots. For inexperienced paddlers wishing to explore this scenic coastline there are several local operators offering guided trips allowing you to enjoy the surroundings whilst the experts look after the rest.
  • Safety
    Canoeing is an adventure sport and as such should be treated with respect. If you are new to the sport, it is advisable to join an organized club or take some lessons with a canoeing provider, both options will offer expert coaching. Full details can be found at www.canoeni.com

GALLERY

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