Mayor launches White River Charters new visitor experience on the River Bann

Mayor launches White River Charters new visitor experience on the River Bann

The inaugural voyage of Meander and Dander, a new tourism offering from White River Charters, took place on Tuesday 26th April. Invited guests and visitors enjoyed the beautiful spring conditions onboard M.V. Kingfisher, a unique 75-year-old wooden motor vessel, 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 retraces the voyages of the stone age hunter-gatherers who explored, hunted, and fished the River Bann and tells the fascinating origins story of human settlement in Ireland and how the river and Mountsandel are at its heart.

From the marina in Coleraine, visitors were treated to a slow and gentle cruise downstream into the Bann Estuary Area of Special Science interest (ASSI), where they were rewarded with views of the wonderful estuarine and coastal scenery, ancient sand dunes and various habitats before turning and navigating upstream towards Mountsandel.

Arriving to explore Mountsandel by boat is unrivalled, an awe inspiring sense of place is created from the river perspective.  Leaving the pontoon the party dandered through the Mountsandel woodland with the spring wildflowers in full display.  From this elevated site visitors took in the views, learnt about the archaeological excavations that revealed it to be one of the most important historical sites and the earliest known human settlements on the island of Ireland before making their way back 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 at Mountsandel, Coleraine.

Speaking at the launch Fiona Bryant explained,

“We wanted to create a unique experience where local people 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 the whole of Ireland, dating back some 10,000 years. The river was integral to humans’ settling here and approaching Mountsandel by boat and gaining an appreciation for the site and its links to the river is incomparable.”

Meander and Dander is one of a number of exciting new visitor experiences on offer in the Causeway Coast and Glens and was created during the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Outdoor Experience Development Programme, which was funded by Tourism Northern Ireland through the Market Led Covid Recovery Fund.

Speaking at the launch mayor Cllr Richard Holmes stated

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes said: “Council is proud to have supported the growth of White River Charters, through the Alchemy Mentoring Programme, Tourism Excellence Programme and the Enterprise Fund which I proposed back in 2017 as a way of providing much needed financial support to young, indigenous businesses in our Borough. I understand that this combination has enabled the company to develop and activate their 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 Dander joins the expanding portfolio of memorable trips that White River Charters have created since they launched their first experience, Best of the Bann, which is part of Tourism Northern Ireland’s Embrace a Giant Spirit collection.

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