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CRANNY FALLS

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CRANNY FALLS
 

One of Northern Ireland's most picturesque waterfalls, Cranny Falls is easily reached on a 1-mile walk from the quiet seaside village of Carnlough, also home to one of Northern Ireland's most picturesque harbours.

ALWAYS WORTH A STOP

Carnlough lies halfway along the Antrim coastline, reachable in around 50 minutes if you travel inland from Belfast. If you've an extra half hour to spare though, for a more interesting journey get out to the famous coastal route which will bring you through Carrickfergus, Larne, Ballygally (check this pit-stop out), and Glenarm (and this one also, which includes a mystical Faerie Tree). 

 

As you arrive into Carnlough from the south, you'll pass the Londonderry Arms (don't be alarmed, you haven't ventured too far north west), eventually coming to the village's most noticeable landmark, the old harbour bridge. 

Image: Google Maps

Image: Google Maps

Look for a parking space just before the bridge or continue on through - either way you'll want to make this your first port of call to explore the old harbour and its curious array of little boats.

Moving along the harbour you'll get to this strange little area.  Recognise it?

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carnlough_cranny_falls_antrim_northern_ireland_niexplorer_ni_explorer.jpg

This little stoney staircase was featured in none other than....

carnlough_cranny_falls_antrim_northern_ireland_niexplorer_ni_explorer.jpg

...season six of Game of Thrones, when Arya Stark was stabbed by the Waiff in the city of Braavos.

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Image: Belfast Telegraph

Image: Belfast Telegraph

TO THE WATERFALL

Exploring the harbour, don't forget to climb the steps to the top of the wall - not just for taking in the views of the coastline, but to look back inland. Lying around 1.5km from where you're standing is Gortin Quarry - the old railroad that once connected the quarry to the coast (for shipping limestone/flint) is the path we took to Cranny Falls.

(Excuse the amateur artwork on the map below, but thought it would be handy to mark this out - the red line is the old railway route, with the blue line on the left being the similarly-easy walking path that connects the quarry to the falls). 

If you want to save a bit of time like we did, park at the start of the quarry trail near where the kids playpark is behind the town. The blue line on the right hand side of the map above marks the route to this - simply turn left before you come to the Spar and follow the signs from there - you can't miss it.  

(If you're totally stuck for time, you can drive up Waterfall Road, which runs parallel to the quarry walking trail.)

 

Look out for this info point on the way up - it gives you the back-story of the quarry. 

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It was a dark, wet day when we went, so I'm expecting to see better pics once you've been there.

Even in the rain though, it's a great walk.

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carnlough_cranny_falls_antrim_northern_ireland_niexplorer_ni_explorer.jpg
carnlough_cranny_falls_antrim_northern_ireland_niexplorer_ni_explorer.jpg

If you've a canine friend with you, best to keep on a lead.  You'll likely come across some free-range sheep on the path at some stage.

...some even spying on your activities.

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Look out for this sign and you're nearly there.

cranny_falls_carnlough_antrim_coast_northern_ireland_ni_explorer_niexplorer.jpg
cranny_falls_carnlough_antrim_coast_northern_ireland_ni_explorer_niexplorer.jpg
CRANNY_FALLS_CARNLOUGH_ANTRIM_COAST_NORTHERN_IRELAND_NI_EXPLORER_NIEXPLORER
CRANNY_FALLS_CARNLOUGH_ANTRIM_COAST_NORTHERN_IRELAND_NI_EXPLORER_NIEXPLORER

Nice, eh?

Heading back along the path you arrived on, have a nosy up the funny little steep, terraced hills. If it's wet though, watch your footing. Getting up's easy, but I lost my grip and flew down like a record-breaking Olympic toboggan team - picking up lots of muck and bruises along the way! :/

Using the gloves as brakes didn't work in the slightest. Numpty.

cranny_falls_carnlough_northern_ireland_ni_explorer_niexplorer
cranny_falls_carnlough_northern_ireland_ni_explorer_niexplorer

Continuing on along the path you'll arrive back at the quarry junction.  Rather than turning right onto the gravel path, head over to the left hand side instead.  

Look out for a cave entrance in the cliff wall to the left. We didn't actually get any pics as a sheep had literally just given birth to a tiny little lamb as we arrived...and to get to the cave we would've needed to pass right by the pair.  In fear of spooking them, we carried on..

Plus that flock to the right were keeping a close eye on us. 

Carrying on up the hill...

cranny_falls_carnlough_northern_ireland_ni_explorer_niexplorer

With bellies starting to rumble, we didn't go any further than here - let me know if you've ventured further past here though. Worth checking out? 

The views at this point are spectacular.  The rain kindly stopped for us to have 10 minutes to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding hills and Antrim coastline in the distance. Bring binoculars and you'll see Carlough harbour, where you started. 

cranny_falls_carnlough_antrim_coast_ni_explorer_niexplorer_northern_ireland

And with that, we walked at pace back to the town in the hunt for some well-earned fish and chips. 

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Proper fish and chips were eventually consumed after stopping to buy some rock in McKillops.

And a mess-around in the old red telephone box.

Tourists, eh?


THANKS FOR READING :)

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