Wednesday, 8 September 2010

On Island Taggart

Island Taggart is a property of the National Trust on Strangford Lough, County Down. It lies between Ringdufferin directly to its north and Killyleagh, the nearest substantive village, to the south. The size of the Island is roughly 92 acres in extent and there are the remains of one farm-house and three cottages; a well; kelp kiln; orchard; hedgerows and ruinous stone walls. The Shrigley Monument can clearly be seen from the island.

Simmy Island, residence of Sir William and Lady Hastings, lies at Taggart's north-western tip; while the Dunnyneill Islands are to the south-east.

I spent the day on Island Taggart with seven other volunteers. We took a little boat from an old quay just south of Simmy Island.

There was an abundance of brambles with ripe, sweet blackberries on the island. Today we were clearing the newly-planted orchard - adjacent to the old farmstead - of long grass and weeds. We also tidied the whole area at the kelp kiln, which is now clearly visible from the east of the lough.

I'd brought along a carton of mini blueberry muffins to share; oh and, by the way, my sandwiches today were lean corned beef and salad-cream with wholemeal bread!

We all suffered a slight mishap during the afternoon: the boat accidentally overturned at its mooring and the outboard motor was unserviceable as a consequence; so we had to row back to the mainland! More exercise and calories burned on top of the sixty lengths I've just completed in the swimming-pool.


Anonymous said...

What's the length of the boat, and size of the engine? I wouldn't fancy rowing anywhere around Strangofrd lough, not least of all with those tides.
Is the NT going to establish an over-nighting capacity on the island, as for Salt island?

Timothy Belmont said...

As a volunteer I cannot speak for the NT. That said, I know that, were funding readily available, several plans have been drawn for Island Taggart and the farmhouse, including a hostel; a canoe bothy along the lines of the one on Salt Island etc.

Regrettably Island Taggart is well down the list of priorities, which I personally find disappointing, as I am very fond of Taggart.