One of my favourite hikes on the whole island, this one’s got it all: precipitous cliff paths overlooking secluded bays with crystal clear waters, high peaks with sweeping vistas covering four countries, and ancient shady forests filled with ferns, blueberries, and wild garlic.
Start in Dalby village where there’s plenty of parking outside the church (///dodo.sprays.nightlife) and follow the Road of the Tail of Rocks down to Niarbyl Bay Cafe. There’s also good parking at the cafe itself, not to mention some great grub, but it gets busy at the weekend and we felt bad taking up one of their spaces and disappearing for half the day, so we parked in the village instead.
Either way, you’re going to follow a section of the Raad ny Foillan coastal path, a 96 mile long perimeter route enclosing the whole island. Start out south from the small bay beneath the cafe and keep going for a couple of miles to Glion Moar before beginning the steep climb up to the summit Cronk ny Arrey Laa. Don’t worry about getting lost, you’ll be sticking with the coastal path all the way up to the top at 443 meters. The grassy track manages this climb in under 2km but you can break the ascent in half by deviating to visit an ancient Christian hermitage site at Lag ny Keeilley – look out for the green footpath sign pointing south once you’re halfway up the climb.
Once you’re at the summit all the hard work is done, and you can enjoy views of the entire island, with Ireland and Scotland thrown in for good measure. Follow the route back down towards the Sloc road and keep left, descending on a rough dirt road to the Eary Cushlin crossroads just outside Kerroodhoo Plantation. Take the right turn and enter the plantation at the first gate on the left, which leads down gently between monster blueberry bushes to a moist tunnel of ferns and wild garlic, before dropping you at Creggan Moar farm. From here it’s a short climb on a good road back to Dalby village.