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Torr Head

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Overview





Torr Head is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland about three miles south of Fair Head and twenty three miles north by west of Larne. Vessels may obtain an anchorage out of the main tidal stream here for a lunch stop or a tide-wait.

Torr Head is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland about three miles south of Fair Head and twenty three miles north by west of Larne. Vessels may obtain an anchorage out of the main tidal stream here for a lunch stop or a tide-wait.

Torr Head is a stay-aboard anchorage in an area with extreme currents where a vessel should not be left unattended. Utilising both sides of the headland it offers good protection in settled or westerly component conditions but is completely exposed to anything from the east. Access is straightforward thanks to the absence of offshore dangers or any tidal restriction.
Please note

The direction and velocity of the tide should be the central feature of any navigation planning in this area.




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Keyfacts for Torr Head


















The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with the Torr Head area.

This video presents an overview of an approach from the road.





This video shows and aerial view of Altagore Cashel situated on private lands.




About Torr Head

Torr Head derives its name from the Irish Tor meaning ‘steep rocky height’. This aptly describes the headland that is an excellent example of metamorphosed limestone and indicative of Ireland and Scotland’s volcanic rock sequences.




With its very exposed location and its remarkable projecting headland jutting out into open sea, Torr Head provides a focal point for one of the most dramatic coastal landscapes in Northern Ireland. Throughout history it would often have been the last hope for Scottish clans beckoning aid from allies in Argyllshire which is highly visible across the North Channel. The walls and ruins of nearby Altagore Cashel, Altagore being English but Cashel means a heap of stones, mark its defensive nature. The structure dates back to the early Christian period 500-1200 A.D. and circular fortified farmsteads such as this were usually earthen mounds called raths inland. But Altagore Cashel remains today because areas such as Torr had rock in abundance as a construction material. Much larger versions such as Grianan of Aileach between Derry and Letterkenny were the residences of major clan chiefs.




Torr Head’s most important years date back to the 1800s when it recorded the passage of transatlantic ships. At this time, similar to Malin Head, it had a semaphore signalling station that relayed shipping information to Lloyds of London. It was one of the first places that had Marconi’s wireless telegraphy system installed. The old ruined buildings below Torr were once a customs house, and on the point the old lookout station. At the small harbour nestled in close to the shore on the south side of the headland, close north of Portaleen Bay, was an old salmon fishery.

Today Torr Head is off the beaten path and largely inaccessible. This lends an unspoilt nature to this coastline along with a strong sense of remoteness, tranquillity and naturalness. If time permits and a competent crew member can be left aboard to maintain an anchor watch, it is very much worthwhile launching the dinghy to land a shore party here. A hike aloft is rewarded by extensive panoramic views across the North Channel towards Islay, Kintyre, Ailsa Craig, Arran and the Rhins of Galloway. Likewise the area’s rolling moorland hills provide excellent walks through varied coastal geology that contain large swathes of semi-natural grasslands, scrub, pockets of broadleaved woodland and small rippling streams. But a boat watch must be maintained here as these dramatic slopes shelve quickly and fall away into deep turbulent waters. Currents roar through the North Channel here appearing like a fast flowing river off the headland.



From a purely sailing perspective Torr Head, akin to nearby Murlough Bay, provides a place to step out of the run of the current along this coastline. Although Torr Head's holding is not as good, it does offer higher cliffs that provide better shelter from the prevailing winds. This is a considerable advantage in this area making it a good place to await a favourable tide or to have a lunch break. With enough crew aboard to watch the boat and land a shore party, there is also the opportunity to enjoy the strong sense of remoteness and tranquillity the headland has to offer.



Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Cushendun - 2.4 miles SSE
Cushendall - 4.3 miles S
Red Bay Pier (Glenariff Pier) - 4.7 miles S
Carnlough Bay and Harbour - 7.5 miles SSE
Glenarm Bay and Harbour - 8.6 miles SSE
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Murlough Bay - 1.3 miles WNW
Church Bay - 4.7 miles NW
Ballycastle - 3.8 miles W
Ballintoy Harbour - 6.8 miles WNW
Portballintrae - 10.4 miles W

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Torr Head.


















The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with the Torr Head area.

This video presents an overview of an approach from the road.





This video shows and aerial view of Altagore Cashel situated on private lands.





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