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7 - South West Summits and Niarbyl Coast

Type:Walking Route

7 - South West Summits and Niarbyl Coast


Wow Walk – Spectacular Southern Summits and Coast

This walk offers such variety, including a valley, moorland, coastal footpath, ancient woodland and waterfalls with spectacular views to be admired from all angles of the Island, especially from the two featuring summits which are steeped in Celtic and Viking history. This spectacular walk begins and ends at Niarbyl, a place of great beauty and a paradise for photographers and nature-lovers with the chance to spot wildlife and stand on a major geological fault line.

From Niarbyl you will ascend to the top of South Barrule, believed to be the seat of Manannan – the ancient sea god. Your journey will bring you back down South Barrule before heading up Cronk ny Arrey Laa, this highest point on the Island’s iconic Raad Ny Foillan coastal footpath. From here you will witness breath-taking views of the south-west coast down towards the Calf of Man.

Summits on this route: South Barrule (Marilyn) 1,585ft (483m) – Cronk ny Arrey Laa 1,434ft (437m)
​​​​​Start/Finish: Niarbyl Car Park
Distance/Duration: 20 km or 12.5mi / 7h
Total ascent: 892m
Difficulty: Difficult
Terrain: Moorland, loose stone and narrow coastal path

Follow route on OS Maps

Climbing out of Niarbyl, take the minor road uphill turning left at the junction with the A27 in Dalby following the Raad ny Foillan signs, you soon return to the country footpath which offer some of the best views of the west coastline. Soon reaching the lush fern-filled valley, descend on to Glen Maye beach, here you will leave the Raad ny Follian and follow a track up through the ancient glen which boasts a bridged gorge and a captivating waterfall.

Exiting the glen, you join Bayr ny Skeddan (Herring Way) and follow the path as it weaves through peaceful riverside and onto Lhargey and Arrasey plantations. Remain on the left path until you reach the open landscape where both summits come into view. Cross the Round Table road, to the foot of South Barrule where you can start your first upland climb.

In folklore, this summit is believed to be the seat of Manannan, the ancient sea god and has some of the richest archaeological remains on the Island. Across the summit are circular imprints and the remains of 70 Iron Age roundhouses, once protected by great wall of stone. Don’t forget to use the wonderful rocky outcrop for a photo opportunity before retracing your steps and cross the Round table road again to pick up the path over farmland that will lead to the most dramatic viewpoint on this walk at the large cairn on top of Cronk ny Arrey Laa.

Offering outstanding views of the south-west coast down to the Calf of Man, this summit is the highest point on the coastal footpath (the Raad ny Foillan), known as ‘hill of the day watch’, due to it being a look out post for Viking invaders or locally as 'hill of the rising day' or 'dawn' for when the sun broke over this hill, it was a sign to the herring-fishers to shoot their nets.

From here you re-join the Raad ny Foillan and head north down the hillside. The descent is steep in places, but a relatively short walk taking about 15 to 20 minutes. You can take a short diversion that leads to Lag Ny Keeilley burial ground, about half a mile down the path and in a dramatic location on the slopes of Cronk ny Arrey Laa.

The final stretch of the walk you will remain on the Raad ny Foillan after the stone descent. This walk has the finest ending with a visit to Traie Vane or the “White Beach”. This beach is certainly spectacular, none more so than at sunset. However its real selling point is the abundance of small rounded shiny white quartz pebbles which form the basis of the beach and its secret waterfalls. Continue another short distance on the Raad ny Foillan until you reach Niarbyl beach and the home of Ned’s cottage from the film Waking Ned and see if you can spot the major fault line at this important geological site.

Manx Summits over 1000ft - Self-Guided Routes
This route is one of eight scenic self-guided walking routes for experienced walkers, bagging 25 summits over 1000ft on the Isle of Man, the first entire nation to be designated a UNESCO Biosphere. Majestic landscapes can be expected in abundance whilst walking in the wild Manx uplands. The islands awe-inspiring nature and rich tapestry of flora and fauna will come to life as you explore your chosen route. Whatever the season, you can be sure to witness breath-taking views; spring brings with it lush greenery whilst late summer rolls out a vibrant carpet of heather and western gorse. Be surprised at each turn and over every climb, discover 360 views and magnificent hilltops steeped in Celtic heritage and legend, fern-filled glens and other hidden gems.

General Advice
> Plan ahead. Before your walk check the status of the routes you plan to walk.
> There are some strenuous stretches and climbs: be prepared and well equipped.
> Arrange your daily distances to suit your fitness and the load you are carrying.
> Take some refreshments with you on your walk.
> The weather in upland and coastal areas can change rapidly and there can be poor visibility at times, check the forecast and tide and take suitable protective clothing for the conditions. 
> Don’t walk on any private land. Respect wishes of the landowners and comply with any signage.

Countryside Code Advice for the Public
> Respect everyone. 
> Leave gates and property as you find them.
> Take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit.
> Keep dogs under control, in sight and on a lead near livestock. Dogs must be kept on a lead when walking off the paths in breeding bird season (1st April – 31st July).
> Care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance. 
> Do not light fires or discard any cigarettes anywhere within the countryside.


Start/Finish: Niarbyl Car Park, Dalby

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