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Knocklayd 514m,
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Antrim Hills Area   N: North Antrim Hills Subarea
Place count in area: 27, OSI/LPS Maps: 14, 15, 4, 5, 8, 9 
Highest place:
Trostan, 550m
Maximum height for area: 550 metres,     Maximum prominence for area: 515 metres,

Note: this list of places includes island features such as summits, but not islands as such.
Rating graphic.
Knocklayd Mountain Cnoc Leithid A name in Irish (Ir. Cnoc Leithid [DUPN], 'hill of the slope/expanse') Antrim County in NI and in Ulster Province, in Arderin List, Columnar tholeiitic basalt lava Bedrock

Height: 514m OS 1:50k Mapsheet: 5 Grid Reference: D11519 36393
Place visited by 133 members. Recently by: headspace, Paddym99, Sperrinwalker, garybuz, Cecil1976, Leonas_Escapades, Claybird007, srr45, No1Grumbler, annem, TommyMc, paddyhillsbagger, eoghancarton, pmeldrum, dregish
I have visited this place: NO (You need to be a logged-in member to change this.)

Longitude: -6.251067, Latitude: 55.162107 , Easting: 311519, Northing: 436393 Prominence: 389m,  Isolation: 5.6km,   Has trig pillar
ITM: 711443 936373,   GPS IDs, 6 char: Knckly, 10 char: Knocklayd
Bedrock type: Columnar tholeiitic basalt lava, (Causeway Tholeiite Member)

With its characteristic conical shape, it can be recognised in many views from the northern part of County Antrim. The summit is surmounted by a cairn known as Carn an Truagh, interpreted in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs as 'cairn of the three', but the anglicised form is not compatible with this interpretation, and Fiachra Mac Gabhann described it as 'of unknown origin' in PNNI vol vii.   Knocklayd is the third highest mountain in the Antrim Hills area and the 525th highest in Ireland. Knocklayd is the third highest point in county Antrim.

COMMENTS for Knocklayd (Cnoc Leithid) 1 2 3 Next page >>  
Follow this place's comments Picture about mountain Knocklayd (<i>Cnoc Leithid</i>) in area Antrim Hills, Ireland
Picture: Knocklayd from Lannimore Hill to the north-west
Bold northern outpost of the Antrim Hills
Short Summary created by Peter Walker  10 Aug 2014
Knocklayd looms large over Ballycastle on the northern Antrim coast; the last substantial hill before the sea. It is one of the more striking summits in the area, a steep-sided dome rising in reasonable isolation from its neighbours. Apart from some forestry on the north and east sides, it is a hill without a hint of mystery, devoid as it is of significant watercourses; everything on Knocklayd is in plain view from the surrounding countryside. Its location and relative isolation make it a fine vantage point.

A quick route to the summit can be had from a car park in Ballycastle Forest Park on the eastern slopes at (131377 starA). Keeping left at a couple of junctions leads to a forest path leading bullet straight up the hillside, broadening into a rough track. Once through a gate at the edge of the forest (a longer route from Ballycastle itself comes in from the north here) incline up left to join a fence that leads straight up to the summit area, crossing two traversing fences high up; the ascent is steep in its middle reaches but eases off onto the rounded summit. A round trip by this route will take roughly 90 minutes.

The trig point sits on tops of the huge grassed-over cairn, and commands an excellent view along the coast and back to the main Antrim plateau. Because of the rounded nature of Knocklayd's upper slopes, some of these vistas are best enjoyed during the ascent rather than from the summit. Linkback: Picture about mountain Knocklayd (<i>Cnoc Leithid</i>) in area Antrim Hills, Ireland
Picture: Looking north from Knocklayd summit towards Rathlin with Islay in the distance
slemish on Knocklayd, 2009
by slemish  27 Apr 2009
Knocklayd's huge dome dominates the landscape for miles around and is a little intimidating as you stand on its lower slopes, pondering a route up it. However it rewards the intrepid hiker with some of the best views in Antrim. I parked at the Ballycastle forest car park (131377 starA) and took the track furthest to the left which leads past an area which has recently been felled. The track ascends to a farm gate with the mountain itself towering ahead of you. Easy going at first but then very steep until about 450m - good solid ground however with short grass thanks to the resident sheep. It becomes somewhat boggier higher up but nothing as bad as Trostan for example. Eventually the summit cairn can be seen which is huge. A trig pillar in fairly good condition marks the summit at 514m. The views from Knocklayd can be poor in bad weather but today was fantastic. Excellent visibility in all directions - the view north towards Islay and Jura with the sunlight illuminating the distant slopes of Cnoc Mor on the Mull of Kintyre was splendid. Excellent views also to Ballycastle and Rathlin island, through Glenshesk then south to Slieveanorra and Trostan and west to the Sperrins and Donegal hills. I descended by the same route, much easier going down of course. A very peaceful walk on a fine spring day with breathtaking views - what could be better? Total trip about 1.5 hours. Linkback:
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simon3 on Knocklayd, 2004
by simon3  14 Apr 2004
Knocklayd, like much of the Antrim Hills was originally of volcanic origins some 60 million years ago. Whether it was actually a volcano or simply an area that has been shaped by subsequent erosion to look like a volcano, I don’t know. Climbing up the side of it from the north east it certainly resembles a volcano, at least until around 450m. After that the land convexes out and you see, not a volcanic caldera, but a boggy top. It’s a broad hogs back some 400m long going NW to SE.

Unlike most peaks in Ireland, Knocklayd has no major re-entrants, being a smooth curve all around (apart from a quarry on the west side).
Perhaps because of the volcanic resemblance, Knocklayd was the subject of an elaborate hoax in 1788 perpetrated in “Faulkner’s Dublin Journal” which said that “..Our fears were very much increased in the evening by a most uncommon noise from Knocklade, the top of which burst, and the discharge of burning matter and hot stones from it was truly alarming, killing several cattle in the adjacent fields, many cabbins were thrown down, and several people are missing …”.

Our view shows Knocklayd to the left. The land separated by the sea from the mainland is Rathlin Island. Beyond it is some of the coast of Scotland. [oh, ok, Scotland is not very obvious in the overcast murk] Linkback:
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Picture: Knocklayd from Crockaneel
Knockout Views from our Layd
by gerrym  19 Jan 2012
Start in the seaside town of Ballycastle, following the sign for Ballycastle Forest where there is a large carpark (114405 starB). 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 (123378 starC) 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 122370 starD, 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:
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Picture: Whin Bush
Northern Whins
by volsung  2 May 2012
A pleasant Saturday afternoon in late April was spent exploring the environs of Knocklayd. We travelled into the centre of Ballycastle to the Diamond.Up Fairhill Street to the car park and then on foot further up Fairhill Street. We crossed a gate marked 'No Dogs' and the field led us to another track through Ballycastle Forest. There is a longer route if you follow the signs for Moyle Way from the car park. We saw some of the best gorse (locally known as 'whin') displays we've ever seen. Some of those bushes were 12 or 13 feet high. Seems the regular gorse arsonists have avoided this place for a while. There is a path to the left of the track crossing a gate which leads to the summit. A steep climb following the fence. About half way up the climb levels off. Ground is very uneven - good cover for grouse of which we caught a view. Next you come to a sheep fence which has a stile. The summit is a mound ( (Carn-na-Truagha or Heap of Sorrows) topped with a trig point. The views from the top are superb - Rathlin and Islay to the north, the Kintyre Hills to the east, Slieve Snagt on Inishowen to the west. On the way back we watched buzzards and ravens jockey for position in the skies.
'People rave of the scenery out in the West
And they say of all lands 'tis the fairest and best
But they don't know the talent Dame Nature displayed
When she last touched her canvas and painted Knocklayd.
The flowers of the tropics are fair to behold
Where the orange tree nurses her globules of gold
Still it seems to my mind they don't equal the shade
Of the blossom-clad whin on the sides of Knocklayd' - John Wilson
A nice pint at the Diamond Bar in Ballycastle capped off the day. Linkback:
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Picture: Rathlin & Ballycastle
jh on Knocklayd, 2007
by jh  28 Apr 2007
Easiest route to top: drive up the Drumavoley road (follow signposts for Ballycastle forest off A2 out of Ballycastle towards Cushendun) and park at the Glenshesk entrance. Go through the gate and head uphill towards the left (ignore two paths off to the right). Follow this track right to the top where there is a gate, and follow the stone wall up as far as it goes- then just keep going! Takes around 45 minutes from the car park. Linkback:
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Some mapping:
Open Street Map
(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
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