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Ulster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine

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Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine

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Trail stats

Distance
92.62 mi
Elevation gain
9,541 ft
Technical difficulty
Easy
Elevation loss
9,721 ft
Max elevation
1,662 ft
TrailRank 
55
Min elevation
4 ft
Trail type
One Way
Time
5 days one hour 13 minutes
Coordinates
9255
Uploaded
May 24, 2022
Recorded
April 2022
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1,662 ft
4 ft
92.62 mi

near Mountjoy, Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)

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Trail photos

Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine Photo ofUlster Way: Part 2 Mellon Country Inn to Coleraine

Itinerary description

The E2 European Long Distance Path was intended to extend from Galway in Ireland to Nice in France, however the Irish section has not been defined. So in the 50th year of the E-paths I have been following a possible route in Ireland, linking up various National Trails. This section uses the Ulster Way, excluding the optional loops.

This part of the Ulster Way is mainly on quiet roads through farmland, forest tracks in large conifer plantations and some pathless sections over moorland bog. Most is easy walking but crossing the bogs is more difficult and using a GPS track is recommended. There are some mountains to climb and the route is along hilly landscape but there are not sustained climbs. Villages on the way including Gortin, Moneyneaney, Dungiven and Castlerock with shops and other facilities. This part ends at the town of Coleraine.

More details in my blog: https://johnpone2.blogspot.com/search/label/Ulster%20Way

The previous part of the Ulster Way is at https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ulster-way-part-1-belcoo-to-mellon-country-inn-102545205 , the next section is at https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ulster-way-part-3-and-the-causeway-coast-path-121259357.

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Waypoints

PictographWaypoint Altitude 761 ft
Photo ofBarnes Gap Photo ofBarnes Gap Photo ofBarnes Gap

Barnes Gap

Barnes Gap is a notch in a ridge where several roads meet. The Ulster Way uses it to cross from one side of the ridge to the other.

PictographSummit Altitude 1,475 ft
Photo ofBenbradagh Photo ofBenbradagh Photo ofBenbradagh

Benbradagh

Benbradagh is a mountain. Although the Ulster Way climbs up the south side of it on a road, it does not go up to the summit.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 43 ft
Photo ofCastlerock

Castlerock

A sandy beach greets you at Castlerock, a village with toilets and various cafes.

PictographTrain stop Altitude 42 ft
Photo ofColeraine Railway Station Photo ofColeraine Railway Station Photo ofColeraine Railway Station

Coleraine Railway Station

I ended this part of the Ulster Way at the train station in the town of Coleraine. In the centre there are all the facilities you could want, a change after all the smaller settlements on the Ulster Way.

PictographSummit Altitude 1,433 ft
Photo ofCrockbrack Mountain camping spot Photo ofCrockbrack Mountain camping spot Photo ofCrockbrack Mountain camping spot

Crockbrack Mountain camping spot

Crockbrack mountain commands a beautiful view. Much of the way up was on pathless moor, however, there was a track on the way down. I camped on the downward slope, a perfect spot to admire the scenery.

PictographSummit Altitude 1,277 ft
Photo ofDonald's Hill Photo ofDonald's Hill Photo ofDonald's Hill

Donald's Hill

It is a steep climb up Donald's Hill however the view is worth the effort. Over the hill and beyond paths are intermittent, a GPS track helps you to navigate over the heather and bog.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 225 ft

Sea Shed café in Downhill Forest

The Sea Shed Cafe was very welcome after two days without a coffee. I drank my latte to the sound of peacocks. The establishment was aimed at surfers with boards available.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 285 ft
Photo ofDungiven Photo ofDungiven

Dungiven

A village on the Ulster Way with supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and limited accommodation.

Photo ofGoles Standing Stones

Goles Standing Stones

A line of standing stones around 4,000 years old, just beside the road which the Ulster Way follows.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 332 ft
Photo ofGortin

Gortin

A village with a convenience store (with a coffee machine) and bar.

PictographPark Altitude 627 ft
Photo ofGortin Glen Forest Park Photo ofGortin Glen Forest Park

Gortin Glen Forest Park

Gortin Forest Park has a car park, cafe, play area, various trails, a waterfall, stream and many coniferous trees.

PictographLake Altitude 736 ft
Photo ofGortin Lakes

Gortin Lakes

Two lakes with reeds where people were bathing. There is a car park.

PictographWaypoint Altitude 813 ft
Photo ofLost Ulster Way signs

Lost Ulster Way signs

Workmen were out installing new posts with Ulster Way and International Appalachian Trail waymarks on them. The route they were marking was different to the one on my GPS. I followed the new waymarks for a while but then lost them (probably because they were still being installed), so my route is a mixture of new and old routes through the Gortin Forest.

PictographReligious site Altitude 1,365 ft
Photo ofMass rock Photo ofMass rock Photo ofMass rock

Mass rock

There was a shrine here and logs laid out as benches by a cross. Religious ceremonies presumably took place here. I was reminded of the Mass rocks, used to hold Roman Catholic services at a time they were banned. However, this was centuries ago and the current objects are much newer.

PictographCampsite Altitude 271 ft
Photo ofMeadows campsite Photo ofMeadows campsite

Meadows campsite

I stayed at this campsite, a few kilometres off the Ulster Way where it passes through Gortin. Nearby sand martins can be seen together with the holes they live in on the earth cliffs beside a small river.

PictographOvernight Altitude 203 ft
Photo ofMellon Country Inn Hotel

Mellon Country Inn Hotel

Convenient place to stay and/or eat just off the Ulster Way. There is little other formal accommodation nearby.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 323 ft

Moneyneany

A village with a shop on the Ulster Way.

PictographWaypoint Altitude 171 ft

Route through Downhill Demesne, a National Trust property

Officially the Ulster Way follows the road to Castlerock, but a far more attractive route is through Downhill Demesne, a National Trust property. No payment is required to walk down the wooded glen then up over the valley side to Castlerock.

PictographPanorama Altitude 813 ft
Photo ofGortmore viewpoint Photo ofGortmore viewpoint

Gortmore viewpoint

A scenic viewpoint with car park and steps. I could see as far as the Scottish islands as well as the mouth of Lough Foyle and the Binevenagh cliffs to the south.

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