Mayor launches new White River Charters visitor experience on the River Bann
The maiden voyage of Meander and Dander, a new tourist offering from White River Charters, took place on Tuesday 26th April. Guests and visitors enjoyed beautiful spring weather aboard the MV Kingfisher, a unique 75-year-old wooden motorboat, built by Harland and Wolff and beautifully restored by business partners Fiona Bryant and Ian McKnight during the Covid pandemic .
The fully guided heritage journey traces the journeys of Stone Age hunter-gatherers who explored, hunted and fished the River Bann and tells the fascinating story of the origins of human settlement in Ireland and how the river and Mountsandel came to be in the heart.
From Coleraine Marina, visitors were treated to a slow and gentle cruise downstream into the Bann Estuary Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), where they were rewarded with views of the beautiful estuarine landscape and coastal, ancient sand dunes and various habitats before turning and sailing upstream towards Mountsandel.
Arriving to explore Mountsandel by boat is second to none, an awesome sense of place is created from the vantage point of the river. Leaving the pontoon, the party drove through Mountsandel Forest with the spring wildflowers in full display. From this elevated site, visitors were able to take in the views, learn about the archaeological digs which revealed it to be one of the most important historical sites and earliest known human settlements on the island of Ireland before to return to the boat for homemade refreshments.
The unique land and water based experience was developed by White River Charters to celebrate the significance of the Mesolithic site of Mountsandel, Coleraine.
Speaking at the launch, Fiona Bryant explained,
“We wanted to create a unique experience where locals and visitors to the Causeway Coast can explore the River Bann and learn about the significance of Mountsandel and the fact that it remains the oldest known human settlement site in all over Ireland, dating back a few years. 10,000 years old. The river was integral to the settlement of humans here and the approach to Mountsandel by boat and the appreciation of the site and its connection to the river is second to none.
Meander and Dander is one of many exciting new experiences on offer to visitors to the Causeway Coast and Glens and has been created as part of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Outdoor Experience Development Programme, which was funded by Tourism Northern Ireland through the Market Led Covid Recovery. Funds.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor Cllr Richard Holmes said
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councilor Richard Holmes, said: “Council is proud to have supported the growth of White River Charters, through the Alchemy mentorship scheme, the tourism excellence scheme and of the business fund that I proposed in 2017 as a way to provide much-needed financial support to young Indigenous businesses in our borough. I understand that this combination has allowed the company to develop and activate its business plan and marketing strategy. On behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, I wish White River Charters a great season in 2022 and beyond.
Meander and scales joins the growing portfolio of memorable trips that White River Charters has created since launching its first experience, Best of the Bann, which is part of Tourism Northern Ireland’s Embrace a giant spirit collection.