In pictures: Duke of Edinburgh visits Garvagh and Mussenden Temple during Causeway Coast visit
His Royal Highness touched down by helicopter in Garvagh, where he was greeted by Mayor, Councillor Steven Callaghan QPM, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for Co Londonderry Paula McIntyre MBE and East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.
He met first with several local groups at Garvagh Forest and heard about the new mountain biking and walking trails that have been developed at the site, which covers over 200 hectares. He was also shown the unique Garvagh Pyramid .
HRH then rode the short distance into Garvagh village on a Victorian Carriage, courtesy of Clydesdale and Vintage Vehicle Club, who also showed off some of their vintage vehicles. The next stop was a meeting with members of the Royal British Legion at the War Memorial on Main Street, which commemorates the 32 men from the district who lost their lives fighting in the Great War of 1914-1918, as well as those who died in the Second World War.
Hundreds of local primary school children had lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the Royal visitor, and HRH took the time to chat with many of them. He also met representatives from Garvagh Women’s Institute – the oldest WI in Northern Ireland, dating back to 1932 – and was treated to a cookery demonstration.
The Duke was also entertained by pupils from Hampsey Harp School and representatives from Garvagh Museum were also on hand to explain its unique collection.
Finally, The Duke of Edinburgh met with representatives from Garvagh and District Development Association (GADDA).
His Royal Highness then made the 30 minute journey by car to Downhill where was welcomed with a warm drink by local business Al’s Coffee, before making the short walk to Downhill House, where he was accompanied by Patrick Nelson, Chairperson of National Trust and Heather McLachlan, National Trust Director for Northern Ireland.
Here, Prince Edward had the chance to sample some local produce at Taste Causeway speciality market stalls, including chocolate truffles from The Chocolate Manor, special edition Coronation-inspired ice cream from Braemar Ice Cream, Giants Basalt Rock Gin from Bushmills-based Basalt Distillery, and rapeseed oil from Limavady business Broighter Gold.
The final stop on the Council-hosted tour was a visit to Mussenden Temple, where HRH was entertained with choral pieces by Counterpoint Choir, who were accompanied by local violinist Zak Hassan.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “It was an honour to welcome His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh to the borough.
“During his visit to Garvagh Forest, HRH met a number of local groups including Carn Wheelers Cycle Club, Garvagh Forest and pupils from People’s Forest School, and learned about the many activities that take place there on a regular basis.
“He also met pupils from several local primary schools, included Garvagh PS, Carhill Integrated, St Patrick’s & St Joseph’s, Kilrea PS and Gorran PS.
“It was also a pleasure to be able to showcase the stunning scenery of the Causeway Coastal Route during the visit to Downhill. The performance by Counterpoint Choir at Mussenden Temple was a fantastic way to cap off the visit.”