Cycling the Antrim Coast
The Antrim Coast and Glens is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty located in Northern Ireland. The scenic route is about 100 miles (160km) depending on how many diversions you take. We finished up our tour of Ireland by spending a few days cycling the Antrim Coast to Larne, where we caught the ferry to Scotland.
Download the GPX track of the Antrim Coast.
The White Rocks Coastal Park is near the beginning of the Coastal Causeway, and there were many cool geological formations and arches in the white cliffs above the sea. We were there at sunset, and luckily there was a sidewalk running along the highway so we could make frequent stops to look over the cliffs. A cyclist from the area stopped to talk to us and gave us advice on where we could camp for the night.
We were initially going to skip the Giant’s Causeway because it was full of tour buses, but we felt guilty since it was such a famous site, so we backtracked to go check it out. The basalt columns were neat, but a big part of the trail system was closed due to cliff instability. It was very crowded, and overall we felt like we’d seen hundreds of miles of coastline that was just as scenic.
Ballycastle to Larne
Lots more scenic coastal riding! There were carpets of bluebells blooming at this time of year, and as always lots of sheep to keep us entertained. We had great weather until our last day coming into Larne, and luckily we didn’t need to cover too many miles in the rain.
Unexpected Traffic Conditions
Unbeknownst to us, we were riding the Antrim Coast during North West 200 Race Week, which is an annual motorcycle race. It seemed like we were coming through in the immediate aftermath of the big event, because there were overflowing garbage cans lining the streets and every available field in Portrush was occupied by an RV. There were tons of motorcycles and RVs on the road while we were there, and traffic was surprisingly much heavier than anywhere on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Camping Along the Antrim Coast
Wild camping was a bit challenging in Northern Ireland, because the coast was fairly populated and busy due to the motorcycle event that was happening while we were there. There is also a lot of fenced farmland, which always poses a challenge. We were still able to find places to pitch for the night, but it did require some wandering off the main thoroughfare.
Ferry to Scotland
We took the ferry from Larne to Cairnryan, Scotland, which took about two hours with P&O Ferries. Our whole tour around Ireland took about 6 weeks and was an unforgettable experience. It’s a wonderful country full of incredible scenery and friendly people that more than make up for the difficult weather!