Thursday, 5 June 2008

Salt Island Bothy, Strangford Lough

I haven't been to Salt Island for many years. The last time I stayed there was twenty summers ago, when we created an elevated grass terrace at the front of the Bothy; saplings were also planted behind the Bothy. About ten years ago we enjoyed the occasional picnic there, travelling on our boat from Strangford. The weather was always fine and sunny, the tide was high - it was idyllic.

Salt Island must be forty or fifty acres in size. It is owned by the National Trust. The Bothy is the only building on the island and it is on the eastern side. There is a modest stone jetty near the Bothy and you walk through a little field to reach it. Killyleagh is the closest village to the island.

The Bothy itself was vandalized and has only recently been renovated; it will be ready for habitation next month. In fact, we plan to visit it on 28th June in preparation for its re-opening. I'm looking forward to seeing the island again after so many years; seeing the trees we planted such a long time ago.

The Bothy is modest in size, clad in vernacular stone and rectangular with a sloping roof. It is well built, the first layer being breeze-block; then polystyrene insulation; and finally thick stone. It had a supply of bottled gas and running water. It also had toilet facilities, a drying-area, an open-plan kitchen and dining area; and a living space with an open fire and wooden platforms for sitting and sleeping on. We also had cooking utensils. I expect it will remain much the same as this now. There's a picture of it above.

I've stayed on the island with other NT Volunteers on three occasions, for two nights at a time.

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