At the north eastern tip of Islandmagee is a hidden gem you won’t find in a tourists map: Portmuck. Portmuck is close enough to famous Brown’s Bay, and yet it has it all… an enchanting beach, a coastal walk with dramatic views over the cliffs, and a small island – Muck island – just off the coast, which also happens to be a natural reserve for puffins.

This morning, as the day turned out to be cold and sunny, we left home in search of some fresh air. We were craving for sunlight. At Portmuck, we found a wonderful scenery. The walk was short and pleasant: no wind, not a cloud in the sky. From the parking lot, we took the gate left of the beach and walked uphill. The path is grassy and gentle, and it offers a wonderful view over the port and the rocks of Muck island. We didn’t spot any puffins, however, we truly enjoyed walking in the sun. The path on top of the hill is closed, so we had to go back the same way we came. Once back to the beach, we climbed up the stairs on the right of the port and, from there, we had a clear view of Muck island. The wooden stairs leading to shore were frosted and slippery, but it was totally worth the effort.

Before going home, we stopped at the port to talk with a couple and we got some more information on the place: although it is not possible to visit the island, some local sailors offer boat trips along the coast – dolphins love those waters – including a tour off Muck island. That’s definitely an option to consider in spring.

As usual, as we arrived home, we were starving… a cup of polenta and mushrooms was the right way to end our first walk of the year. I missed our week-end walks.

If you’re up to Islandmagee, a quick detour to Portmuck is well worth: you will love it!

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