Sightseeing boat trips are set to get underway at The Gobbins, giving tourists the chance to see the work in progress at the forthcoming attraction.
The Gobbins cliff path, which was built in 1902 and in its heyday attracted more visitors than the Giant’s Causeway, is currently being reinstated by Larne Borough Council at a cost of £6 million.
And the local authority has agreed to run a one-year pilot programme, allowing able bodied and disabled members of the public to view the site from the sea.
The council was approached by an applicant, who proposed using the harbours at Ballylumford and Portmuck to embark and disembark passengers going out in his boat, – the North Irish Diver – to view The Gobbins.
The pilot scheme will allow the local authority to gauge the interest and usage of such a scheme and ascertain its viability.
Once the pilot scheme has run its course, the council will review the application and – if it is a success – will invite expressions of interest from the public to apply to deliver a commercial boat service on an ongoing basis.
The council resolved to permit the scheme at the latest meeting of the development committee in Smiley Buildings. The issue was discussed under legal and confidential matters.
Minutes of the meeting state: “The proposed service would be from Ballylumford or Portmuck, weather permitting, past The Gobbins and back, and would have to facilitate the McLoughlin ferry (from Port of Larne to Ballylumford) as part of the conditions imposed.”