I have walked several times to Murlough Bay from Ballycastle via Fair Head and the Grey Man's Path, many years ago now, as the joints are more reluctant to take on steep rock climbs these days and round the bottom of Fairhead can be extremely difficult and slow. The route is dangerous in places where you have to engage boulders, you should be equipped with good footwear, rainwear, drinks, snacks and a mobile phone in case of difficulties.
I follow the beach from Ballycastle to what is mistakingly known as Marconi's cottage (now a glass house, how this got planning permission is beyond logic) then on past the old coal mines and up onto the headland, you can go round the base but it is extremely slow, difficult and dangerous in places. The easiest route is by the top to the Grey Man's Path, here the legendary path descends through a ravine known as the Grey Man's Gulley or McAnulty's Hall Door. Not for the faint hearted or unsteady foot! but it will take you down to a boulder field and on to Murlough Bay.
The impressive vertical dolerite columns are surrounded by scree slopes which go down to the waters edge where there are the boulders the size of small houses. Now in case you get caught near there around dusk, there is a story about the Grey Man's Path and Mary McAnulty who used the path frequently to bring seaweed and driftwood up from the shore.
The path from McAnulty's Hall Door crosses a moorland environment with some exceptional viewpoints. The linear scoring on the exposures of smooth glaciated rock reveal the source of this landscape. As the ice retreated some 10,000 years ago it formed the topography that we see today in the Glens of Antrim.
Murlough Bay is well known for its flora, fauna and geology, a curved limestone cliff protects one of the few remaining old 'natural' temperate woodlands in Ireland. Birch, Rowan and Hazel thrive in a micro-climate which contrasts with the barren moor land plateau above, and in recent years a herd of deer have taken up residence in the bay which is managed by the National Trust.
The other way to access Murlough and Fairhead is via the Torr Scenic Road, here you can drive to a car park above the bay, from here you can walk down intop the bay or along the cliff top to Fairhead. It is advisable to park as the road down is very narrow and in summer when two cars meet it can cause a problem. This area is perfect for walking and cars just destroy the natural ambience and scare the wildlife.
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