Thursday, 15 September 2016

On Gibb's Island

I was at Ballyquintin last week; and yesterday was spent with a dozen National Trust Strangford Lough volunteers at Gibb's Island, a truly beautiful property beside Delamont Country Park, County Down.

The closest village, Killyleagh, is merely a few miles away and is worth a detour itself, with the romantic, turreted Castle (private) and the celebrated Dufferin Inn a stone's throw away.

As many will know, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is also the Baron Killyleagh.

The term "island" is perhaps a slight misnomer for Gibb's nowadays, given that there's now a permanent causeway and track which lead over to it.

No matter; it's one of the most picturesque places in the county and certainly in Strangford Lough.

Gibb's was formerly part of the Delamont Estate (which I've already written about elsewhere).

It's a very small island, and a large wooded area covers the entire top of Gibb's.

It is particularly popular with local dog-walkers; in fact the grass path round the island is so well trodden that there's no need to mow it.

During certain months of the year Galloway or Angus cattle graze Gibb's; and we do mow it once a year to encourage the wild flower meadow.

Yesterday we were at the top of the island, cutting down sycamore saplings and small trees; thereby encouraging the growth of other flora.

We also collected acorns for future planting.

A group of us lunched on a wooden bench directly opposite the Quoile Yacht Club.

The weather was heavenly: more akin to late summer than early autumn.

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