Well, it has taken me a few days to get round to blogging about the sensational figure of eight walk across the Carnanes up to Cronk Ny Arrey Laa on Tuesday.
This 7.75 mile /1440 ft walk starts at the picnic spot overlooking Carrikey Bay on the Port Erin to Round Table road. It is just a short walk along the road until you cross over onto the moorland of the Carnanes. There is no climbing involved at this stage as you are starting from high up. Of course, if you want a longer walk with more ascent you could start at Ballafesson, Surby or Fleshwick and take the green route to the starting point.
I followed the lower path around the Carnanes as this is relatively flat and a good stretch to warm up the legs. It joins the green road after about half a mile and then there is a good wide grassy path all the way to the Sloc where the green road meets the main road. With the lack of rain this was easy today, but in winter it can be quite muddy and rutted. Scuttling through a couple of gates, I then began my ascent around Cronk Ny Arrey Laa.
I took the footpath to the north-east that follows high above the road in order to have even more fantastic views on the return route. Even so, this is still beautiful as you have uninterrupted views of the south of the island and can see the variety of landscapes. As you climb gradually along this path South Barrule comes into sight, peaking above the closer hills. At the top (about 3 miles from the start), we meet the main road where this turns right, and the footpath goes left to take you to the top of Cronk Ny Arrey Laa. This is about another half mile or so of uphill. You can’t miss the top as there is both a trig point and a cairn, ever increasing in size.
This makes the perfect lunch stop though it is likely to be a tad windy.
You can see all the big mountains to the north, including Snaefell, make out the contours of the coastline in all directions, and to the south the magnificent cliffs create wonderful shapes in different lights. It is even possible to see across to Ireland in the west, Scotland in the north, and Anglesey to the south! If you go past the cairn just as far as the path continues (otherwise you will drop into the sea!) you will be rewarded with stunning views and photo opportunities.
From this point, I headed south – another day I shall continue to Niarbyl, but that’s another story – down the moorland and the well delineated path. I met a lady walking from Port Erin to Peel, a distance of 14 miles and some considerable ascent and descent. I also met the ground at one point as when I placed my foot on some turf it just disappeared. So there was I, sprawled on the ground, looking most unladylike, splattered out like a flat fish:-) Fortunately no injuries and I was soon back on my feet.
I did a slight detour because there is a path to nowhere at the centre point of the figure of eight. This wasn’t desperately exciting, but it is possible to climb some rocks up to the old fort and any spot around there is lovely for a picnic.
Then upwards again over the Carnanes.
There is a fairly steep climb initially but it doesn’t last long. I just love this set of hills at this time of year, and the closer you get to Fleshwick the more heather and Manx gorse. It was so beautiful, and hardly anyone seems to come up here, at least not while I’m there. I nearly always have it to myself. You can vary the route across these warm hills, and once up there is no more ascent, so if you don’t fancy the full route, the Carnanes makes a great short 4 mile walk on a good day
And what a good day it was!!