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Rathlin Island: Church Bay Loop Walk

Wanderung · Moyle
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Macs Adventure Verifizierter Partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Church Bay, Rathlin Island.
    / Church Bay, Rathlin Island.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Abandoned crofts, Church Bay.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Bird call information board, Church Bay.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Craigmacagan Lough.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Ushet Lough.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Rue Lighthouse.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Cliffs near Rue Point.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Rue Point from the cliff path.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Cliff top path, Roonivoolin.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Mill Bay, Rathlin Island.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Coastal walk route markers.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Return path to the road.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Returning to Church Bay.
    Foto: Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 8 6 4 2 km

A loop walk from the harbour at Church Bay leads to Rue Point and the lighthouse, the southern tip of the island. Returning on the Roonivoolin Trail around Ushet Lough the route rejoins the road to return back to the harbour.


9,5 km
3:00 h
150 hm
135 hm

Leaving the main harbour at Church Bay the route follows a small tarmac road south, past a number of small lakes and eventually down to Rue Point with its lighthouse. From here the path climbs up along the cliff to join the Roonivoolin Trail before heading inland past Ushet Lough to rejoin the road leading back to the harbour.



It is advisable to book the ferry to Rathlin Island in advance as they can be busy especially at peak times. The crossing takes approx 40 mins.

The highlight of today’s walk has to be the feeling of isolation at Rue Lighthouse and the return along the spectacular cliff path section on the Roonivoolin Trail. There are panoramic views towards the mainland and over to the Mull of Kintyre. The varied habitat offers opportunities to see a wide range of birds such as Peregrine, Little Grebe, Lapwings, Skylark and the rare Chough, as well as seals on the coast. User
Macs Adventure
Aktualisierung: 29.10.2019

Höchster Punkt
82 m
Tiefster Punkt
0 m
Beste Jahreszeit


You will encounter little or no traffic on the road sections on Rathlin Island. There are a few steep climbs and descents on the cliff path at Roonivoolin but most of the route is on the level. Take care on the cliff path, especially in strong winds or poor visibility as the drop is high. If in doubt take one of the signposted wooden stiles over the fence and follow the path a short distance inland to reach the road.


Weitere Infos und Links

The small town of Ballycastle has a number of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars where you can stock up with food and drink. There are also supermarkets, banks and cash machines, pharmacies and a tourist information centre at the harbour. Most of the amenities are actually in the town centre although there are a few in the harbour area.

There are no facilities on today’s walk once you leave the harbour at Church Bay on Rathlin Island. There is a café, shop and pub, but opening times are variable.


Points of Interest

Rathlin Island.

Situated in the Moyle Sea 6 miles from Ballycastle, Rathlin Island is the only inhabited island in Northern Ireland. It is 6 miles long and one mile wide. With stunning views of the North Coast, Scotland and beyond Rathlin is home to numerous species of wildlife, notably the Arctic Puffin and Golden Hare.

Rue Point & Lighthouse

This rocky point is the most southerly place on the island. It is marked for shipping by an 11 metre high black and white lighthouse built in 1921.




Stone arch & post box, Church Bay Harbour. (0 m)
55.292995, -6.193496
29U 678192 6130985


Stone arch & post box, Church Bay Harbour.


0.00 km – Standing with your back to the stone archway by the red post box and facing the sea TURN LEFT along the tarmac road around the bay.

0.20 km – At the road junction just before the pub TURN LEFT following the sign for the walking trails . GO STRAIGHT ON uphill and in 100 m TURN RIGHT at the crossroads following the sign for Rue Lighthouse 2.5 miles. GO STRAIGHT ON along the tarmac road past the buildings and hostel for approx 2.5 kms.

2.90 km – At a metal gate across the road GO STRAIGHT ON along the tarmac road past the small picnic area and around the lake (Ushet Lough), for approx 0.5 km.

3.50 km – At the end of the tarmac road GO STRAIGHT ON along the gravel track towards a small bay and some ruined buildings.

3.80 km – At the ruins, GO STRAIGHT ON, along the grassy track, towards the lighthouse.

4.30 km – Reaching the lighthouse at Rue Point, retrace your steps back along the concrete causeway to the stone hut.

4.40 km – Just past the hut BEAR LEFT on a faint path up the grassy bank to the left of the telegraph posts to reach a fence.

4.70 km – Cross the fence using the rock stepping stones and GO STRAIGHT ON along the cliff path. Keep close to the fence as the cliffs are steep. Ascend a steep grassy bank and small rock outcrop to reach a wooden stile.

5.00 km –At the stile GO STRAIGHT ON along the cliff path (RSPB Coastal Trail – Roonivoolin Trail), for approx 1km following the yellow arrows on a green disc.

6.10 km – At a wooden stile and a fence blocking off the cliff path, TURN RIGHT following the yellow marker. GO STRAIGHT ON diagonally down across the field following the marker posts. Go under the telegraph posts, past a small lake to reach a wooden gate.

6.80 km – Go through the gate and BEAR LEFT along the broad grassy track towards a small lake and back to the tarmac road.

7.10 km – At the end of the Roonivoolin Trail TURN LEFT onto the tarmac Road and GO STRAIGHT ON for approx 2 kms back towards Church Bay.

9.10 km – At the crossroads TURN LEFT then in 100 m TURN RIGHT and GO STRAIGHT ON towards the harbour.

9.50 km – Returning to the stone arch and red post box by the shop, you have reached the end of your walk.





alle Hinweise zu Schutzgebieten

Anreise mit der Bahn, dem Auto, zu Fuß oder mit dem Rad


Good boots or walking shoes are recommended as the terrain is variable on this walk. Walking poles can be carried if you prefer, as there are a few steep climbs and descents on the cliff path 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.


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9,5 km
150 hm
135 hm
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