This is a relatively easy day’s walk connecting the seaside towns of Portstewart and Portrush. From here the Coastal Way continues along the sweeping beach of Curran Strand then up onto the cliffs to Portballintrae and finishing in Bushmills.
Leaving Portstewart along the promenade the Coastal Way skirts around the golf course to the famous seaside town of Portrush. Continuing past the harbour and around Ramore Head the path leads onto the sandy beach of Curran Strand towards the striking limestone cliffs at White Rocks. Passing the spectacular site of Dunluce Castle the route continues on to Portballintrae and finishing in Bushmills with its world renowned whiskey distillery.
Look out for the Ulster Way & Causeway Coastal Way markers with their distinctive yellow fern logo on today’s walk. Follow these and you really can’t go wrong. Today’s walk has something for everyone. Sea birds are abundant with Gannets, Oystercatchers and Cormorants common. There are sandy beaches, cliffs with features such as stacks and arches as well as castle ruins and viewpoints. Great views of Rathlin Island, Islay, Jura and the Scottish mainland can be seen on a good day.
You might encounter traffic on the road sections from Portrush to Bushmills but the pavements are continuous and there is no need to be on the road. The few climbs and descents on the path are not steep and most of the route is on the level. When walking the beach section on Curran Strand be mindful of the tide. If the tide is high and the weather bad take the alternative higher path through the sand dunes. Be mindful of the golfers on the courses from Portstewart and Portrush. Keep to the path and watch out for stray balls!
The pleasant seaside town of Portstewart has a number of shops, cafes restaurants and bars where you can stock up with food and drink. There are also banks, cash machines, a post office and pharmacy in the town. Further facilities are available on the route at Portrush and Bushmills.
Points of Interest
Royal Portrush Golf Club.
Regarded as one of the best and most challenging links golf courses anywhere in the world it was host to the 148 th Open Championship in 2019. Founded in 1888 it occupies a triangular site of large sand hills and is overlooked by the ruins of Dunluce Castle.
The castle dates from the 1550’s and was the centre for the Scottish Clan McDonald in Antrim. It is surrounded by steep drops on each side which makes it particularly impressive site. It featured as a location in The Game of Thrones as Castle Pyke, the seat of House Greyjoy.
The Old Bushmills Distillery.
This is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery granted the license to distil in 1608. The Bushmills Company itself was not established until 1784 and is now considered to be one of the premier brands.
Good boots or walking shoes are recommended as the terrain is variable on this walk. Walking poles can be carried if you prefer, although they will hardly be needed on this section.
Irish weather can be unpredictable and also wet so it is important to be prepared at all times. Waterproofs should be carried as well as a hat and gloves and maybe an extra layer just in case. In the summer sunscreen is also recommended.