Anyone planning to kayak from Scotland to Northern Ireland might find this information and annotated images, from local paddler and Postman John Ruston, extremely useful indeed.
“…road access has very recently been lost at Torr Head, Co. Antrim.”
This is important because the shortest distance between Scotland and Northern Ireland takes paddlers to Torr Head. I’m told it has fierce tides and vicious down draughts.
Those who’ve kayaked the North Channel often arrive exhausted, hoping to arrange a vehicle pick-up where they reach land.
However, there is now no public use of the private road that services the Torr Head property, says John.
“This is effective in the first instance for one year from beginning of August. Respite landing are available on the beaches North and South of the Head but there is no road access for anyone considering a pickup here."
"Strong flows run at this point and visiting paddlers might be relying on access to leave the water.”
“I have myself been turned away when approaching from the sea and directed to the nearby beach at Portaleen 100M south. This is a great place to land and I think that camping here would not be a problem but there is no road. You are stuck.”
“Anyone arranging a pick-up in this part of NI should avoid Torr Head for the time being."
"Pickups are possible at Murlough Bay (north 2 miles) where there is a public road across National Trust property, and to the south at Cushendun (village/small harbour).”
My thanks to John for this.
I haven’t checked this with CanoeNI, but their interactive map clearly shows ‘No Vehicle Access’ at Torr Head.
Incidentally, it also says ‘No Vehicle Access’ at Murlough Bay, where John says access is possible.
He tells me this means no access to the slipway, but in reality, people do launch and land kayaks in the area using the road in the image.
John has passed this information to the SCA.
He is also happy for folk to have his phone number in case they are unavoidably stuck and need an urgent pick-up - 07899 095 761.
What a remarkably nice chap.