Inishowen Head loop

County Donegal
2 reviews
Grade Moderate
Length 8.3 km
Am 2 hours 30 minutes
Format Loop
Ascent 250 m
Dogs Allowed On a lead
Waymarking Purple arrow
Start Point
Inishowen Head car park
Finish Point
Inishowen Head carpark
Nearest Town to Start Stroove
Grid Ref. C 683 437
Lat. and Long. 55.2355, -6.92782

This wild remote loop follows bog roads, laneways, rough tracks and minor roads and takes in a WWII Lookout Tower on Inishowen Head, the shoulder of Crocknasnug and the point at Portkill from where St Columba left for Iona. There is wonderful coastal scenery including, on clear days, Scotland.

Maps and other information

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheet 3
2 trail reviews
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Allan from Derry

My wife and I completed this trail walk on 26th January 2020. The complete loop takes in 8.45Km, There is a very small car park but accommodates only 3 or 4 vehicles maximum so I find it best to park at the Stroove beach car-park and walk the short distance to the trail head starting point which is well signposted so it should be easily found. The first section of road leading up to the small car park is quite steep, reaching gradients of between 10 to 12 % but worth it due to the spectacular views over the sea towards Scotland and Northern Ireland headlands.

Once past the car park, the trail flattens somewhat and takes you by an ancient ecclesiastical settlement where it is said, St Columba last set foot in Ireland. It's a very quiet and serene area apart from the local red beaked Jackdaws which enjoy the mountainous areas with cliff faces to build their homes.

The trail rises again but is solid underfoot. A good pair of waterproof walking shoes is advised however my wife completed the loop wearing soft sports type trainers. The trail then drops down to a lower valley. It's quite soft underfoot here, and during wet weather, can be quite marshy but the eroded trail soon rises out of this area. The terrain is now more rugged but nevertheless, manageable. Three quarters up this rugged trail, the local farmers have placed a picnic bench with a beautiful unique view over the north headland towards Malin Head. Here you can take a rest by the stream and enjoy a few moments of perfect peacefulness before continuing the climb towards the summit. Having crested the seemingly never ending climb, the trail splits into two paths. Keep to the left to complete the loop back. The pathway drops down past some forestry on the right, past a small stream. There is an open gate on the left halfway down which appears to take you towards the forest...take this trail and it will lead you down onto the main road quite near the starting point. All in all, a pleasant 2 to 2.5 hrs walk ascending almost 300m in all.


Eugene from Derry

As I parked up in the car park beside the Stroove Lighthouse I then began the loop walk around Inishowen Head in an anticlockwise direction. The first part of this walk is along a road past a few houses and up quite a short steep incline and as you come to a makeshift parking bay you look out across the Irish sea towards Scotland the island you see is Islay in the distance and turning right you then see Rathlin Island off the Irish coast. As you walk on you come to Portkill where St Columba set foot on Irish soil for the last time before setting off to Iona. You then come to a steady decline before turning left into a long incline over quite a boggy area before coming onto a good firm path which brings you to the height of the walk, there is what appears to be a standing stone on the top of the hill which may temp you to go and see it but don’t bother it’s just a pile of bricks stacked on top of each other and not worth walking through the very boggy patch. You then continue on before descending down a steep track towards the R241 turning left and back round to the car park.

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