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gerrym: Track 2251 in area near Knocklayd, Antrim Hills (Ireland)
Knocklayd from Ballycastle
Length: 11.7km, Creator time taken: 5h 6m, Ascent: 622m,
Descent: 618m

Places: Start at D11505 40602, Knocklayd, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1

A walk starting in the lovely seaside town of Ballycastle on the North Antrim coast - a stones throw from Scotland (if you are Finn McCool). This is well worth exploring before or after for a walk on the beach or around the marina and pretty good ice cream.

In the centre of the town follow a sign for Ballycastle Forest. There is a free carpark from which it is a short walk past the cattle market to the beginning of the way marked Moyle and Ulster Ways. This initially follows the path of a dismantled railway before starting to climb up through Ballycastle Forest. This is through mixed woodland where red squirrels have been encouraged to strengthen their foothold.

It is quite a walk up through the forest tracks and for most of the time the views are quite limited. Higher up there are opportunities to catch glimpses of the widening vista - it was quite cool that these come from nowhere as trees clear and then disappear. It was a day with a biting easterly wind that had very clear air, giving the Scottish coast a clarity that I cannot remember seeing before.

A forest track heads up to the right to bring a gate onto open hillside. A stonewall and fence can be followed pretty straight uphill and there is easy walking on the grazed ground at this level. Views came into the fore now to the north over Ballycastle to Rathlin Island backed by the Scottish Isles of Islay and Jura and east beyond the prow of Fairhead to the Mull of Kintyre backed by snow capped hills.

The ground soon changes to more usual rougher mountain fare but that which was usually wet was well frozen today. The increase in wind speed did make up for this concession though and showers of hail were visible from afar over Scotland as they rapidly approached.

Head left and the fenceline has a stile to aid crossing to the sizeable grassed over cairn adorned with trig pillar at the summit. This is the trig pillar which has been written on as a memorial to someone who has passed away - acceptable or not? A bit of careful positioning allowed lunch to be eaten with some calmness.

The views on this clear day were stunning as I have already stated to the north and east but now also to the south to snow scoured tops of the 500m Antrim Hills and west across to barely discernible Sperrins due to the showers.

Return was more directly off the hill, dropping with the fence straight downhill to another gate and track. This can be the means of a quicker ascent and descent to a carpark in Glenshesk if time is of the essence. This rejoined the man forest track back the way of coming. I saw two deer here as they crossed the track into the forest.

A leisurely stroll back down through the forest ensued. Did not meet another person on the hill though there were a few in the forest which has been my experience on past occasions.

Knocklayd is a hill best kept for a day with crystal clear air to enjoy the huge views over the North Antrim coast into Donegal, the Islands of Rathlin and Scotland, Scottish mainland and the other hills of Antrim.

Uploaded on: Wed, 24 Jul 2013 (18:48:10)
Trackback: http://mountainviews.ie/track/2251/  
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Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 3h 23m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

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British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence)
"ASTER+": Hillshade and Contours
Courtesy of Tiles GIScience Research Group @ Heidelberg University More detail here