LOUGHSHORE ROUTE DESCRIPTION
Lough Neagh, the biggest freshwater lake in the UK and Ireland, now has a 113 mile cycle around its shores. The Loughshore Trail can be followed in either direction, and consists mainly of quiet, virtually traffic-free minor roads and lanes with short stretches of off-road track. Touching the lough shore on many many occasions, cyclists pass small beaches overlooking the vastness of the water. This is route 94 of the National Cycle Network and is fully signed throughout.
From Antrim, the route heads west through the beautifully kept grounds of Clotworthy House to Randalstown, with its spectacular railway viaduct. Passing close to Cranfield Bay it enters Toome at the junction with the Route 96, leading north to Lough Beg and Portglenone. After crossing the Lower River Bann, the route turns towards the historic village of Ballyronan and past the the magnificent 1,000 year old Celtic high cross at Ardboe. After Ardboe, Route 94 joins Route 95 for a short section near Drumcairne Forest before reaching Brocagh and Mountjoy Castle.
Passing through tracts of ancient bogland where peat is still extracted, the route crosses the River Blackwater using a new bridge constructed for the Loughshore Trail at Maghery, where a link leads to Peatlands Park. The route then continues to Portadown and joins Route 9 at the bridge crossing the Upper River Bann but leaves shortly afterwards for a twenty miles section towards Lough Neagh via Charlestown and Derrytrasna.
The route rejoins Route 9 for a short section from Craigavon lakes to Oxford Island, before splitting for the final time near Aghagallon where Route 94 leads westwards hugging the Lough Neagh shoreline. From here onwards the route passes close to the towns of Glenavy and Crumlin as well as Belfast International Airport before arriving in Antrim via Reas Wood with its abundance of bluebells in springtime, and waterside path.
A special feature of the Loughshore Trail, is its mostly level profile with the highest point at Gortigal only 100m above sea level.
Information courtesy of Sustrans