Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Horse Island, Kircubbin

It wasn't half hard toil today. A labour of love, really. We all met at a site adjacent to Horse Island, which is a few miles south of Kircubbin in County Down.

There were twelve of us today - a very good turn-out.

We have been clearing the perimeter of this piece of ground, on and off, for several months now. It has been overgrown with gorse, mainly. The perimeter needs to be cleared in order to allow plant access for the mechanical erection of wooden fencing.

There must be seven or eight stacks of felled gorse and other bushes in the field now; and we managed to light about three bonfires today. Although it would be quicker to set light to the lot, there have been complaints from neighbouring farmers about the smoke; so, consequently, we must limit our bonfires accordingly. The National Trust is, I am sure, anxious not to alienate the locals any more than absolutely necessary!

As a volunteer I can say personally that, occasionally, these bonfires need to be lit in order to eradicate the gorse, in a controlled manner. It is a shame that some people seem to resent these conservation measures which are, ultimately, to the advantage and benefit of everyone. The Trust goes to great lengths to consider local neighbours, farmers, residents and everyone else involved. Perhaps we may need to check with the Met. Office to confirm the wind direction at some future stage!

We lunched at a grassy spot close to Horse Island. I spotted swallows again. Home-made egg salad sandwiches were gobbled down voraciously; and washed down with a mug of tea! I chatted to Rebecca about Crom Estate, County Fermanagh, where she lives and works. It was great for me to reminisce about Crom, the Castle, the Estate, a former house-keeper who reads tea-leaves and the Erne family.

It was hard work today and I arrived home quite whacked! I immediately jumped into the shower to rinse off the saw-dust and foliage from tree branches.

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