The Inishowen Head ‘looped walk’ traverses one of the least-explored and yet most ruggedly beautiful parts of the Donegal coastline.
Nine kilometres long, and ascending to a height of 250 metres, this coastal route crosses minor roads, bog roads, laneways and rough tracks. Walkers are advised to wear walking boots and to bring rain gear and liquids with them.
The walk begins at White Bay car park, beside Dunagree lighthouse near Shrove village and then, moving uphill and north along Head Road, climbs towards Inishowen Head. The route gets very steep very quickly and a magnificent view opens up, with Dunagree lighthouse and White Bay to the south; Portrush, Portstewart, Magilligan and Binevenagh visible on the eastern shore of Lough Foyle; and spectacular, sheer, 90-metre cliffs falling to the sea to the north.
Proceeding northwards towards Balbane Head, the route passes Portkill, the small bay from which St Colmcille reputedly left Ireland for Iona in 563. In parts, the route moves close to the cliff-edge and one can see gannets, fulmars and black-backed gulls soaring on the wind.
Walkers can turn back at this point but if they want to complete the loop, they should turn left at Balbane Head, proceeding west towards Glenane Hill, then south towards Crocknasmug and Carrowtrasna, arriving back in Shrove.