Today my blog reached a milestone of 1000 views and to celebrate I thought I should take a short walk on the newly opened coast path from Port Erin to the Sound and show you some of the scenery that has been out of bounds for some months. It was difficult to see why the path had been closed since the winter. The only repairs that were obvious was the creation of some new stone steps behind the biological marine station and possibly one new gate.
There were flowers along the full length of the coast path, thrift, sea campion, lots and lots of wonderful stonecrop, the odd scilla thinking it is still spring, purple and yellow vetch, tormentil, bird’s foot trefoil, scabious, thyme, oxalis, speedwell, herb robert, willowherb, the last three only on the kerbside not on the cliffs.. and many more. The heather is just starting to emerge and the cliffs (and the Calf of Man) will be cloaked in purple in a few weeks’ time.
As usual, I wandered slightly off the recognised path from time to time, and I enjoyed playing about in our own limestone mini, very mini canyon. There do look to have been some rockfalls at various points along the cliffs over the winter, but nothing of any significance. Early on along the path, as I ventured close to the cliff to take a photo, I incurred the wrath of sea gulls who squawked and had a collective yell at me from various heights and distances, presumably because there were nests nearby. I heard the ever present choughs, long before I saw them. It was all delightful. As I looked back towards Bradda, Manannan’s cloak was doing a pretty good interpretation of Trump’s comb-over (see photo). That was all I could think about for the next 10 minutes!!
The views at the Sound were breathtaking. The current was moving forcibly through the channel between the main land and Kitterland, the tiny island where seals reside. Beyond Kitterland is the Calf of Man, which you can visit by boat from either Port St Mary or Port Erin. There is a bird observatory that is maintained by wardens and volunteers living in fairly basic accommodation – so if you fancy a different kind of a holiday, you can stay overnight if you like.
This stretch of coastline is short. From leaving home to arriving at the Sound is a mere 3 miles and 2.5 miles back via road and today a very, very overgrown path that comes out near the back of my house. As I walked up the road, I engaged in conversation with three different sets of cows – why they always find me so interesting I don’t know. In one field there were several calves and they looked so cute.
I have included a variety of photos in this selection, so that you can see the variation in the terrain. The ascent is 440ft in total to the Sound, and surprisingly the ascent on the inland path home was 464ft . When you leave Port Erin, it is an easy path, if uphill. You have to descend to a spot that I call ‘windy gap’ as once you have clambered over the stream (not difficult) the wind can race across the small saddle between two hills. From there it is an undulating path, but until you seriously hit the limestone, the path is easy. It then becomes uneven and a bit rocky for a short distance, before levelling out into grassland.
You can get a bus back from the Sound, but be prepared for a wait. If you have lots of energy you can continue along the coast for another 3 miles to Port St Mary. That is a gorgeous stretch of coastline, with masses of flowering heather in August.