Colla Loop Walk
|Type of Route||Arrows||Distance||Grading||Estimated Time||Total Climb|
|Loop Walk||Blue||8.8 km||Easy||1 – 2 hours||150 m|
This walking trail crosses private land and quiet country roads. From the mapboard, follow the blue arrows and walk through the car park walking along the coast walk, past the pier and sailing school. Walk out past the graveyard, turn right for Schull and immediately left. After 300m turn left and after a further 500m you can take the option to Sailor’s Hill – this 600m spur takes you to a great viewing point. After the breath-taking views of the islands return the 600m and turn left to re-join the loop walk. After less than 1km there is an option to turn left and walk to Colla Pier (1.2km). down the ‘Coffin Road’. Alternatively, follow the blue arrows to the right and left, and left again to Colla Pier (2.2km). The Colla Loop Walk route from here is straight back to the graveyard, turning right and returning to Schull via the coast walk.
Colla Loop Walk route is marked with pale blue arrows which you need to look out for.
Start at the trailhead map board (1), opposite the Harbour View Hotel in Schull, and walk down through the car park, past the children’s playground and descend the path to the harbour. Crossing the pier, climb a few steps and follow the concrete path along the coast emerging soon into fields where there may be cows. After a few 100 metres, the path turns right and climbs to the graveyard. Follow the path out the top of the burial ground and emerge through a small “kissing gate” onto the road.
As you come on to the road turn RIGHT alongside the burial ground and after less than 100 metres you come to a road junction (2) where you must turn LEFT up a narrow road between high hedges and quite soon you meet a second junction (3).
Turn LEFT here and a gentle climb brings you up a very quiet little road between houses until you reach a steep bend overlooking some tennis courts (4).
If you have time, you should continue ahead up to Sailors’ Hill (5) follow the road which goes level above the tennis courts, through fields then a pretty garden on both sides and quite soon you’ll see a cattle grid ahead. Just before the grid bear left up a track and you’ll see a donation box, a memorial stone and an interesting little round house, not to mention the views. When you’re done return down the hill to the junction (4).
Back at the junction turn LEFT up the steep hill and keep going until the road levels off and you get to a sharp right bend with a stoney track bearing off to the left. The route stays on the road (right) but if you want to take a short-cut (left) down the old “coffin road” this will bring you to Colla Pier (8) via good tracks and roads.
Staying on the road, it soon levels off and descends westwards with views out towards Mizen Head and the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse. After about 1km you veer sharp left past a farmhouse to reach a T-junction (7).
Here you keep LEFT again and walk past a very old farm starting to fall into ruin. Quite soon the road descends past a few houses, old and new bringing you to Colla Pier (8). This is an excellent place to sit and watch the wildlife, the fishermen and of course catching the ferry to Long Island.
Continuing past the harbour, the short cut from (6) emerges on your left and opposite you will see a well-deserved open air café which has a lovely terrace overlooking the harbour. Well worth a stop here for coffee and pastries.
From Colla follow the coast road east, taking care as the road is busier now, and soon you’ll be walking alongside Long Island Sound. After 1 km the road swings round Schull Point and wanders through the fields till you reach the cemetery again. (9).
At the cemetery, you can follow the footpath down and alongside the water (recommended) or you can stay on the road where a sidewalk will bring you past the school and library to reach the main street where pubs, cafés and restaurants will reward your efforts.