Thursday, 31 March 2016

Another oldie and a rant

Another of those 6x4.5 negs that I printed the other day:

Apart from the obvious mis-alignment of the neg and the big white spot thing in the water I quite like this one.    There's something going on there, anyway.  Certainly something going on in the water, that's for sure, but I've no idea what created that vortex.  There's only ducks there at Downhill, even in them days.

Downhill has two sides to it - separated by the road that runs from Coleraine to Derry/Londonderry along the coast.  We don't go to the side you see here so much any more, on account of it being 'owned' by the National Trust.  The NT is also custodian of the Giant's Causeway and even Portstewart Strand, where I walk the Hound.  It doesn't really own these places, of course, but it does own the car park and the visitor's centre at the Giant's Causeway, the entrance to the beach and also this side of Downhill, where the remains of the Bishop's House and Mussenden Temple are.   In the good old days we could visit all of these places for free and we did, regularly.  During the good weather we would be at Downhill a couple of times a month, every month - it's a big estate and plenty of different walks to do.  Nowadays it really is a small fortune to go any of these places.  If there was a concession for locals I'd be happier about the Whole Thing, but there isn't, so I'm not happy about it at all, as you can probably tell.  I do get the fact that these places need looking after and that doesn't come for free, but from what I read these days the NT is more concerned about the income from their coffee shops than any real conservation.  This was reinforced by a conversation I had recently with Liam, one of the NT volunteers on the Strand, who is there every day of the year.  He informed me that every NT location has a 'recruitment target' for the season - theirs is 500 new members signed up before the end of the season. 500, just for Portstewart Strand!

So here's my proposal to the National Trust, who I am sure read my posts regularly (Ed: You sure about that?).   Offer a nominal rate to residents who live within a 20 mile radius of your properties.  Allow them to visit as many times as they want to without paying full visitor rates every time.  After all, you rely on locals for volunteers as well as for general goodwill with regard to maintenance, planning issues, historical research etc.  There.  Rant over.

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