Saturday, 31 May 2008

Gibb's Island: Path Maintenance

The weather was simply perfect today: sunny, dry , warm, 23c. I left home at eight fifty-five and we all met at Gibb's Island, near Killyleagh in County Down, at about nine thirty. There were a mere five of us today, viz. Craig, the warden, and four volunteers. Our task was to lay out a large pile of 30mm stones along the path at the island. Gibb's Island isn't really an island at all, it's more of a peninsula; it's one of my favourite National Trust properties in Northern Ireland.

Having parked our cars on the island, we spent most of the day shovelling the stones on to wheel-barrows and dumping the loads along pot-holes and the edges of the path. We enjoyed our packed lunches close to the shore, overlooking another NT property, Salt Island; incidentally, Craig informed us that the bothy there could be ready for occupation from the first of July, 2008.

After lunch, we had a walk round the island. We spotted grey herons, oyster catchers and swans; and we heard the croaking of rooks high up in the canopy of the trees. The wild flower meadow on Gibb's is progressing well and will be worth another visit later in the summer.

At the end of the day, Craig suggested that we stop off at a pub for some well-earned refreshment and Daft Eddy's on Sketrick Island was proposed; so, some twenty minutes later, we were seated on the beer terrace sipping Carlsberg shandies! I was sorely tempted by the bar meals being served outdoors; however I resisted and decided to wait for a Chinese takeaway at home.

It was a wonderful day; I just wish they could all be like this. Eventually we did indulge in our takeaway this evening courtesy of the Castle Hill: prawns kung po with fried rice. Mmmm!

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