Start in the seaside town of Ballycastle, following the sign for Ballycastle Forest where there is a large carpark (B (D114 405)
). The waymarked Moyle Way is followed from here, travelling along a quiet track beside the Tow river before entering Ballycastle Forest.
A significant part of the walk takes place in the forest, with only occasional glimpses of anything beyond, as the forest track rises steadily. There were groups of quads/sramblers using the forest tracks for the entirety of the time we were walking on a Sunday. This was not really a problem apart from the noise as they did act responsibly and slow when passing.
At around 200m views begin to stretch N & E, with the views over the North coast and Rathlin Island being of particular attraction. This section of the forest track is tarmac and has old carparking spaces and at a time must have been quite a place to drive and savour the views. Continue straight (nearly due S) to reach a turn off (C (D123 378)
) which brings the forest edge and a steep climb ahead on the open slopes of Knocklayd.
A fenceline aids navagation and can be followed to the summit area. The ground is not too bad, though can be quite wet in places. A stile allows a fence to be crossed and access to the large summit cairn adorned with trig pillar - this has been well graffittied! Views are stunning out to Rathlin and Scottish mainland and islands and along North Antrim coast and Hills, particularly over Fair Head.
Return had an initial steep descent to the forest track at D (D122 370)
, and return on pretty much the same way. Walk took 3.5 hours and was fairly quiet (apart from bikes!) only meeting a few others mainly through the forest. A post walk ice cream from Morellis on the seafront and a walk around the harbour or beach is a good way to finish off. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/428/comment/837/