Navigating the Lower Bann
The journey from the Bann's tidal estuary to Lough Neagh
The tidal estuary of the River Bann lies between Castlerock and Portstewart, Co Londonderry. The river entrance is relatively safe for small boats but can be treacherous in strong northerly or northwesterly winds. Seaton’s Marina lies approximately 5km upstream on the east bank and the nearby public marina also has good basic facilities for visitors.
The lower Bann is tidal for 3km above the town of Coleraine to the sea-lock at the Cutts, just upstream of the great earth fort at Mountsandel. There is a small jetty to enable visitors to tie alongside for short stays.
Just above Loughan Island lies the relatively new Drumaheglis Marina, run by Ballymoney Borough Council, which has camping and caravanning facilities. At Portna, near the town of Kilrea, 26km from Coleraine, there is a dry dock above the upper lock, which blocks the channel when in use. Fortunately this does not happen very often and is advertised in the press in advance. The locks at Portna lie on a short canal west of the river.
Portglenone is a further 11km upstream and boasts a new marina. The fishing here is arguably the finest along the whole of the River Bann.
Newferry is located 6km upstream, where there are facilities for tying up on both sides of the river before entry to Lough Beg. Navigation is marked by perches and leads to Toome at the entrance to Lough Neagh.
© Victor Hamill with acknowledgements to Wallace Clarke. Reproduced with kind permission of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association 2004.