3 Day Hills and North Coast AdventureLet the adventure begin
3 Day Hills and North Coast Adventure
|At a Glance:||3 Day Hills and North Coast Adventure|
|Description:||This 3 day Irish riding experience begins with a day’s horseback riding in the Irish countryside before spending two more exhilarating days on the famous Causeway Coast heralded for its beauty and spectacular scenery.|
|Duration:||3 Days, 2 Nights, 3 Days Riding|
|Includes:||2 nights accommodation, Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival, Knowledgeable and Engaging Trekking Guide, 2x Lunch at a Local Establishment, 1 picnic lunch, Horse Transport, History Overview of Coast, Spectacular Trail Riding, 5* Coastal Riding, The Best Views in Ireland!|
This 3 Day Irish riding experience makes for an ideal mini-break or could be added onto your itinerary as part of a longer stay in Ireland.
It makes for an ideal way to experience the iconic Causeway Coast and offers a taste of everything that makes Ireland’s north coast world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant countryside, enchanting forests, mountainous trails and quality Irish hospitality!
This experience begins with a day’s horseback riding in the Irish countryside before spending two more exhilarating days on the famous Causeway Coast where you will ride at locations such as Whitepark Bay, Ballintoy, Loughareema, the vanishing lake and the Glens of Antrim.
On arrival, Mr. McKinley and the BEI team will meet you with a warm, genuine welcome. Before heading to the stables, we’ll make our way to the converted loft above to enjoy scones which are freshly baked by Mr McKinley’s wife Mary, along with tea and coffee. Your hosts will fill you in with details for the days ahead and take you through a brief history of the area which you will be riding through.
With your new-found knowledge, we’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses (If you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking)
After selecting a horse and a riding assessment we have two options,
The first one is for those who want to get their muscles adjusted gently and build up their fitness in preparation for the next two full days of riding, we can spend 2/3 hours riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking down on to green pasture away below with panoramic views over the North Coast and 5 counties of Ireland. We will be riding past the old peat banks that were once the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations and can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs.
The other option is to hit the trail and spend 6/7 hours riding on mountain tracks, roads and trails through forests and to viewing points, with weather permitting, we will have views over the Glens of Antrim, almost all of Northern Ireland, parts of Southern Ireland and across the sea to Scotland
As we ride, we will gradually climb to one the best 360% panoramic views in Ireland and maybe even much further afield. This is the peak of Orra Mountain (Slieve An Orra), specifically chosen for its historical significance and breathtaking views. Orra Mountain is best known as the site of a ferocious battle between rival Irish clans in 1583, but on the top of the mountain there is a memorial erected in the honor of 8 US airmen who lost their lives there in October 1942, when their WWII B17 crashed on the mountain during heavy cloud cover.
From this mountain’s peak it is possible to see the Inner Hebrides off the Scottish coast, the Scottish mainland and all the way to the majestic Mourne Mountains in County Down.
After your initial days introduction and riding you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the nearby coastal town of Ballycastle.
Get a good night’s rest and be ready for two more full days of riding.
Overnight: County Antrim
We will transport the horses 10 miles to Ballintoy on the coast, where after tacking up we will follow an old off- road track with splendid views of the coast, to the breath-taking white sand beach of Whitepark Bay, a 3-mile long beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route.
Whitepark Bay is a beautiful stretch of pristine beach located on Co. Antrim’s north coast near the picturesque village of Ballintoy. With a beach so pure it shines for miles (on even the cloudiest of days) it’s the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trot, canter or gallop!
We’ll take our time playing on the beach & in the ocean before cantering over the smooth sands! If we’re lucky the famous “Sunbathing Cattle” will be on the beach basking in the sun’s warmth.
You will spend your time romping and capering along the 3 mile stretch of pristine, resplendent white sand and explore the rolling sand dunes of the area below the backdrop of the rugged surrounding cliff faces which were once home to some of the earliest human settlers in Ireland.
Savour the taste of the tantalising sea air, feel the blustering and energising wind on your face and the radiant rays of the Irish sunshine on your back on this invigorating ride.
Afterwards, we’ll make our way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the Red Door Cottage Tea Room, operated by Nigel & Joanne McGarrity and family. This traditional Irish tearoom sits in an idyllic rural area surrounded by grazing cows & sheep one side and the mighty Atlantic on the other. Enjoy a pint, glass of wine or a cup of tea on the outdoor patio or head inside to dine. Expect good, straightforward locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew, terrific sandwiches and, quite literally, the best homemade desserts in Ireland! The Red Door Cottage is the perfect place to rest and recharge before continuing our ride of exploration on private farmland in the hills above the picturesque village of Ballintoy.
We will look out over Ballintoy Harbour which was mainly associated with salmon fishing. In its heyday, cartloads of salmon made their way round hilly roads to catch the train at Ballycastle and onwards to Belfast.
Game of Thrones fans will recognize Ballintoy Harbour as the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke. Like most places along the north coast, the views from these hills are spectacular and offer some amazing photo opportunities.
We look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic.
Ballintoy Parish Church was built in 1813, in replacement of the original church built in the early 17th century. It is one of the most scenic churches in the country and is often pictured with the stunning view of Rathlin Island in the background. Many notable landed families are buried in the church’s cemetery including The Stewarts of Ballintoy, Downing Fullerton and members of the Stewart-Moore family.
We will now make our way towards the final destination of our journey and as we ride, we will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. From here we will take in the vista of this spectacular coastline hugging the wild Atlantic Ocean, looking out over the sea to Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and the Western Isles of Scotland before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses and team after a full day of off-road riding.
Overnight: County Antrim
This morning we’ll transport the horses and saddle-up in the hills above Ballycastle close to Loughareema known locally as the Vanishing Lake, an area surrounded by Irish myths and legends. Allow your guide to regal these stories to you including the one of the coachman and horses lost in a terrible storm!
Today after riding in the forest above Ballycastle, we will be taking an old disused coach road through the hills into the Glen of Glendun, one of the famed Nine Glens of Antrim.
We’ll follow the Glendun River (that’s sometimes meandering and other times a raging torrent) as we make our way to the picturesque village of Cushendun. Take in the stunning fauna & flora, ride through ash and hazel in this beautiful Glen characterized by bright green rowans, purple heather and soaring birds of prey.
The scenic village of Cushendun was designed in 1912 by Clough William Ellis at the request of Ronald John McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun. The village’s Cornish appearance was deliberate–designed to please the Baron’s wife, Maud, who was born in Cornwall, England. After Maud’s death in 1925, he erected a row of whitewashed, quaint cottages in her memory—affectionately known as Maud’s Cottages.
Riding on Cushendun Strand we will pass the ruins of Carra Castle before making our way to the famous Cushendun Caves—an impressive system of caves formed over 400-million years ago. More recently, the caves doubled as the caves of ‘Storm’s End’ in the HBO hit series, Game of Thrones.
An unusual character of Cushendun is “Johann the Goat”, a bronze sculpture situated close to the mouth of the River Dun. Johann lived in the harbour area for many years, grazing the riverbanks and welcoming visitors bearing apples or carrots. In 2001, he was the last animal to be culled during the foot and mouth outbreak. His statue remains a memorial to the farmers in the district who lost their livestock. Today, another goat carries on Johann’s tradition and can be seen resting beneath the feet of Johann’s sculpture or grazing along the banks.
Our 3 Day riding adventure finishes here in this idyllic village in the fabled Glens of Antrim, where the Glen of Glendun meets the Atlantic Ocean. We will share a meal together in Mary Mc Bride’s bar in the village, a great example of a quaint little Irish pub and restaurant.
As the horses are being transported back to base, we will say our farewells allowing you to continue on your journey of exploration in Ireland.
Overnight: County Antrim
Locations where we ride:
North Antrim Hills
Cushendun Caves & Strand
What’s included in the trip:
2 night’s accommodation
3 Full days of riding
Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival at Centre
Knowledgeable Trekking Guide
2x Lunch at a Local Establishment
1 picnic in the hills
History Overview of Coast
Spectacular Trail Riding
5* Coastal Riding
The Best Views in Ireland!
1. We can arrange for you to be picked up at any airport or from anywhere in Ireland and transport you after your riding tour, to wherever you require.
2. Hire of photographer for a day/half day
3. Upgrade to Hotel accommodation can be arranged.
4. Itinerary planning for non-riding partners such as for Golf, fishing, sightseeing, genealogy. Check out our Out of Tack page and our itinerary planning website at www.premierexperiencesni.com