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Mayor launches ‘Meander and Dander’ tour

The inaugural voyage of Meander and Dander, a new tourism offering from White River Charters, took place recently with the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council on board.

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.

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From the marina in Coleraine, visitors were treated to a 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.

Ian McKnight, White River Charters; Mayor Councillor Richard Holmes; Fiona Bryant, White River Charters and Kerrie McGonigle, Tourism Destination Manager, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

Leaving the pontoon the party dandered through the Mountsandel woodland.

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.

Speaking at the launch Mayor Cllr 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.”

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 the visitor experiences created during the Council Outdoor Experience Development Programme, which was funded by Tourism NI.

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