Warning after safety signs ignored at path


Carrickfergus Borough Council has issued a warning following reports of walkers flouting safety restrictions at Blackhead path.

The lower part of the popular scenic route in Whitehead has been closed for a number of months due to a series of rockfalls.

Signage was put in place to warn visitors to refrain from walking along the stretch of path which was affected by the slippages.

However, the local authority has warned of the continuing dangers associated with the route after it emerged that safety restrictions were being bypassed.

In a statement, the borough council said: “Whilst the upper pathway to the lighthouse remains open, the lower coastal pathway has been designated as a severe public health risk.

“Signage has been erected to warn the public of the danger and barrier fencing has been installed to physically prevent public access to the lower pathway beyond the end of Old Castle Road.

“Carrickfergus Borough Council has commissioned structural engineers to assess the safety of the path and recommend remedial actions to minimise the possibility of future damaging rock fall.

“These engineers are currently surveying the path and, in the process of doing so, are having to manually trigger rockfalls to facilitate their own safe passage which, inevitably, further increases the current danger to the public.

“We are appealing to those walkers and anglers currently by-passing the warnings and restrictions to please refrain from doing so - particularly whilst this survey work is being carried out.”

The statement continued: “The hope is that the structural survey will be completed before Christmas and the resulting report can be considered by council early in the New Year, at which point we would hope to provide a further update.

“This current closure of what is acknowledged to be a much-loved and quite unique coastal pathway is deeply regrettable but it is vital that residents of the borough appreciate that the path currently represents a very real and present danger and adhere to the temporary restrictions in place.”

Speaking after the closure of the upper part of the path earlier this year, Mayor of Carrickfergus Alderman Charlie Johnston commented: “I would urge members of the public not to disregard the closure notices as these are in the interests of your own health and safety.

“We will reopen the path as soon as it is safe to do so.”