Well here I am again writing, yet another blog on a fantasic Little Island we have just visited. Surprisingly It was not Scotland this time, however the historical influence of the Nations of Scotland, England and Ireland have transformed The Isle of Man into such a wonderful little place to visit.
The Isle of Man lies directly in the middle of Ireland and Mainland UK, some 60 miles from the Lancashire coast was the route of our Ferry, On boarding at Heysham, our weather was a wee bit on the poor side, same as everywhere else I suppose, but I had high hopes that we were going to a tropical place with lovely weather, well we can only hope so.
The last time I was on the Isle of man I was 10 years old (11 years ago, I like to kid myself 🙂 but its amazing how the memories come flooding back.
So after our three and a half hour crossing, which was quite pleasant, we landed in Douglas the Capital Town of the Island, after a 10 minute drive out of the docks we arrived at the Mount Murry complex, a lovely hotel, leisure complex and golf site, one of 9 on the Island. We were met by very pleasant and welcoming staff who couldn’t do enough for us, so full marks.
Our first excursion of the tour was a trip North to the village of Laxey, with its Impressive Laxey Wheel Lady Isabella, a stunning sight to see being the largest working water wheel in the world, and for me memories of when I climbed to the top at ten years old. There is a nice little mill here as well with the original loom still in working condition, influence of the mining industry, and of course the electric Railway and The Mountain Tram to the summit of Snaefell Mountain, however to our enjoyment of the journey up the Mountain, the weather closed in again rather rapidly, and our views from the top were blocked by the Fog, but never the less all my clients were in good spirits. We also visited the town of Ramsey and a drive back over the Mountain Road, following the twists and turns of the world famous TT Course.
Our next day was a free day, to relax and explore the capital town, Douglas, with its two miles of promenade boasting the finest Victorian architecture and of course the more modern taller buildings of this off shore finance and banking centre, however the Victorian ere still dominates itself splendidly with the trams operating daily and of course the horse pulled trams, a true pleasure to enjoy, The muscling Clydesdale horses work very hard over their 15 year period on the promenade, and retire to the home of rest for horses. The town has a vibrant shopping centre, with old and new shops, and many bars and restaurants.
Thursday was our day for the South of the Island, so on organising a steam train my clients, journeyed down to Castletown, formerly the Medieval Capital of the Island in days gone by, but a very quaint little town with the Castle itself dominating the skyline. However on this day 5th July it was a bank holiday and Tynwald day, a national event for the Island declaring its 1000 year history of self Government. We then ventured further down to Cregneash a small village, and the oldest village on the Island, depicting the life of the crofters from the 1800’s, the little cottages were as they were then still with there thatched roofs, of course there location by the calf of Man was just stunning, and on this day the sun was actually shining. So we finished the day off by returning via St Johns, the small vibrant and colourful village where Tynwald day takes place, although the official ceremonies were in the morning, celebrations were still going on, and my clients enjoyed blending in with the locals who were in there thousands, enjoying the good weather and all the activities that were going on.
Well here I am it is Friday now, and as I type I am sitting on The Ferry, operated by the Steam Packet company, on our sailing back to Heysham, although our crossing is at night, not to bad I suppose, as we had another day to do a bit more exploring, so we visited the home for the retired horses this morning where we could feed the retired Clydesdale, and they look forward to you feeding them, in fact some of them are quite cheeky chappies but very enjoyable, followed by a nice cup of tea and a home made scone, so then no visit to the Island would be complete of course without driving over Fairy Bridge, the small people who look after the Island and make all your wishes come true, many notes and wishes are attached to the tree, and as we drove over the bridge I got all my clients to say hello to the little people, and they did 🙂 once again this brought back another memory from my childhood. So before our Ferry we drove the west coastal route to Peel, another nice little town with its Castle and two Cathedrals, and of course panoramic views across to Ireland (on a clear day) we finished by returning over the Mountain Road again to a wonderful restaurant for an evening meal.
I would just like to say a big thank you to a coullege Gary for his advice and help on this tour.
My clients have been a fantastic bunch of happy people, despite our poor weather, but hope to see them again on another tour in the near future.
Steve – 06th July 2012