I left Belmont GHQ quite early for a rendez-vous with the NT volunteers at Killyleagh, County Down.
We have spent the day on Island Taggart, my first visit to the isle since April.
Island Taggart is a property inalienably held by the National Trust. It lies between Ringdufferin directly to its north and Killyleagh, the nearest village, to the south.Our first task was to trim the overgrown grass in the small orchard, where native varieties of apple and pear trees are growing.
The island is one mile long and a quarter of a mile wide at its widest point; a total area of about 85 acres, acquired in 1984 from Patrick and Kathleen Mackie.
We suffered a set-back last year when livestock encroached upon the orchard and gnawed at the little trees.
After lunch in the derelict farmhouse we went for a stroll round the island to inspect the ponds.
The final task of the day was to commence foundations for the installation of an old traditional gate.
This necessitated excavating a two or two-and-a-half foot hole for the wooden gate-post, which will need to be about eight feet in length. The gate must be five and a half feet high itself.
To our amusement we noticed that there had been a makeshift camp-site at this spot: Grass had been cut; camp-fires established; and even a port-a-loo complete with wooden seat.