Ireland, photography, walking

Delightful Donegal

Saturday 1st September 2018

Inishowen Head Loop Walk – 6.2 miles

Our September walk fell on the first day of autumn (from a meteorological viewpoint!) but it still felt very much like summer as we drove towards Magilligan Point, at the entrance to Lough Foyle.  We were taking the short ferry crossing over to Greencastle, on the Donegal side of Lough Foyle, and then on towards the Inishowen Peninsula.  Our ferry crossing was in demand and was packed to capacity with cars & cyclists!  Thankfully it was only a short crossing as we felt a bit claustrophobic in our car surrounded on both sides by club cyclists heading over to complete a “Tour of Lough Foyle” charity cycle.

Parking up shortly after 11 am we left the car park & started walking along a quiet road towards the Inishowen cliffs. Inishowen is derived from the Irish Inis Eoghain meaning “island of Eoghan”, and the peninsula is the largest in Ireland.  As we ascended it wasn’t long before we were taking in some breath taking views of Stroove lighthouse below us, and across Lough Foyle to Magilligan Point and the headland of Binevenagh.  About half an hour later we reached a second parking area with a fantastic panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Lough Foyle and the North Antrim Coast stretching away into the distance.

Inishowen Cliffs
Inishowen Cliffs

From here we continued walking for a short time along a minor road until we reached a picnic area at Portkill – it was a bit early for lunch so we decided to keep going! However, at a stretch, you can look down at the bay below where St Columba supposedly rested before sailing across to Iona.

Portkill Bay
Portkill Bay

From here on the road turned into a rough track and continued uphill with fantastic views of Glengad Head in the distance and fantastic views of the Northern Ireland behind us.

Sheep & Glengad Head in distance
Sheep & Glengad Head in distance
Looking back towards Northern Ireland coastline
Looking back towards Northern Ireland coastline

Onwards & upwards!  The rough track seemed endless but between the views & the company we eventually reached the half way point & LUNCH!

Rough Track
Rough Track
Irish Waymarker
Irish Waymarker

After lunch there was a change in the air and, as we continued climbing with Crocknasnug in sight, the mist rolled in from the Atlantic and before long we were engulfed as we passed its base.

The mist rolled in after lunch
The mist rolled in after lunch

Thankfully we were on a good track & as we started to descend the mist lifted & we were blessed with amazing views again!

Looking across to Binevenagh
Looking across to Binevenagh
Binevenagh & Magilligan Point
Binevenagh & Magilligan Point

Almost down, we enjoyed the wildflowers & the warm sunshine as we made our way back to the carpark.

Almost down
Almost down
Hedgerows of Fuschia
Hedgerows of Fuschia

At the carpark we were pleased to spot a mobile coffee shop, “The Horsebox Coffee”.  We had a well earned chai latte & reflected on another enjoyable walk before making our way back to Greencastle to wait for our ferry journey home.  In contrast to the morning’s crossing the ferry was almost empty & we were able to enjoy the fresh air and the views as we left Greencastle behind and headed towards the sunlit Martello Tower at Magilligan Point.

20180901_155325
Martello Tower, Magilligan Point

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