So, where is it?
The North Coast Sea Kayak Trail runs along the north Antrim coast of Northern Ireland from Magilligan Point to Waterfoot at the base of Glenariff, over 70 nautical miles of open water.
What will I see?
The star of the show along here is, of course, the Giant’s Causeway. But as most novice kayakers paddle at around three nautical miles per hour, and there are a lot of jutting headlands and craggy outcrops to navigate, it will take a little while before you hit the main attraction.
And that’s the point of kayaking here. Visit by coach and you’ll be whisked along to the Causeway in a flash, seeing nothing of its surroundings. Explore by kayak instead, and you’ll understand the geological context as you negotiate the rugged coastline that surrounds those famous natural steps.
You’ll also see just how flexible a kayak can be – backing into narrow grottos at White Rock, or “rock hopping” through the shallow waters that lap the spiky basalt cliffs Ballintoy.
How long does it take?
Experienced kayaker and ready to go? Then the North Coast Sea Kayak Trail can be travelled in its entirety in two full days. There’s plenty of information, including maps on the Canoe NI website.
Those with less paddling experience can see the Causeway by heading out with a guide from Simply Sea Kayaking from Portballintae to Dunseverick Harbour, which takes about 6–8 hours.
What about wildlife?
You’re sure to see gannets dive bombing into the Atlantic with alarming speed in search of fish all along this coast, while at Runkerry Cave you’ll see cormorants nesting by the dozen.
Seals hang out around the Skerries rock stacks and will almost certainly pop their grey heads up out of the water to greet you – they may even mess with you, disappearing in a flash only to reappear directly behind you with what you’ll swear is a cheeky glint in their eye.
Dolphins also regularly surface to check out any interloper in their waters people have even seen basking sharks breaching nearby.
Image by CanoeNI.com