Dalby Mountain and Kerrow-Dhoo Plantation – 25th July 4 miles

It was a lovely afternoon for a bog exploration. I was out with Manx Wildlife Trust on Dalby Mountain, the only peat bog owned by MWT near Eary Cushlin. I have been here before and knew what to expect: bouncing bogs, heathers, bog cotton, bog asphodel and rushes from which lights were made in times gone by. The orchids were over, but the heathers were abundant as well as deer grass and the wonderful tiny sundew hiding in the spagnum moss.

After this I had planned a short walk as I had never been into the Kerrow-Dhoo plantation. It was hot day by Isle of Man standards and a woodland walk would be refreshing. I was not disappointed. My walk downhill mostly meandered beside a steep and enclosed valley with enticing views through the trees to the upland hills. There was just a wiff of breeze to cool the air and the tall trees masked the sunlight. The path was easy to follow and delightful. However, a word of warning: this may be only a short walk of 1.5 miles, 589 ft downhill, but it is very steep in places necessitating some grabbing on to branches or roots at times. I wasn’t wearing the best footwear but it is all manageable. And of course, what goes down must go up again to return to the car. The ascent was 663 ft in 1.65 miles.

Having had glimpses of the stream I was following I was thrilled when the path crossed over it from one hillside to another, and even with my trainers on I could not resist scrambling up the stream a bit to see what it was like around the bend and beyond the overhanging trees. Once on the other hillside it is not far until Barrane, a tiny hamlet tucked out of sight just south of Dalby, a place where you feel no-one notices or cares as time goes by.

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It was here that I found myself in someone’s back garden as the footpath seemed to want me to go that way. At that point two dogs started barking and a man called out “Who goes there? Fee Fi Fo Fum….” – no, not really,¬† but he came to see what was going on and showed me where the path really went! And then offered me a cup of tea in his lovely cottage – don’t ever let it be said that Manx people are not friendly.

DSC01542Thru keyholeI had intended to take a different path – the one shown on the OS map – to return back through the plantation, but Tim persuaded me that I should go the coast route, which I did for a short time but I then returned to the main track and watching the butterflies perusing the brambles I made my way back to the car. There are some wonderful views on this section of the walk but be prepared for the uphill! It doesn’t go on for long, but you will notice it.

The final photos are of Cronk My Arrey Laa and South Barrule, along with one of the entrances into the plantation.

Maps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound as you don’t normally see it – 24th July 2019 – 6 miles

It started out so well. Wall to wall sunshine, not quite as blisteringly hot as the UK but lovely none the same, with a very slight breeze. I wore a light t-shirt and walking trousers and armed with sun lotion and an assortment of refreshments I set out on my evening walk.

As I reached the old breakwater in Port Erin where the men were fishing, I noticed some wispy clouds stretched out over the sea and a little mist fluffing in and out intermittently over Milner Tower.

I set out on the coast path behind the marine biological station above which some bright orange tortoiseshell butterflies were poking their noses into the limestone wall, dipping in and out the length of the wall.

Up and over the short climb taking me level with Nigel Mansell’s former property, I stopped to watch the misty clouds building up over the ocean, as the sunlight became dimmed and disappeared only to reappear seconds later.

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Looking back, I could see the cotton wool clouds coating Bradda and closer to hand some dark grey clouds were looming to the west. As the wind gathered, I wondered if it might rain given the thunder and lightening forecast for the UK. I was feeling very weary today; my legs were heavy and every step a difficult plod – don’t ask me why – and I considered whether to call it a very short walk and return home, but as you know I rarely give in so on I went, but not before I spent a good few minutes watching a young seagull insistently complain to its mum that all was not well with the world.

Shortly after this I was engulfed in cloud, which presented a very mystical appearance on the land reminiscent of many a Jane Austen novel. I could have been anywhere as the sea and the cliffs were no longer visible; it was like walking on a path in the Derbyshire Peak District or across the North York Moors in the autumn. The colours were wonderful, the purple of the heather and the yellow of the wood sage blended perfectly with the light grey background.

 

As I neared our ‘Valley of the Rocks” I could hear an awful racket going on but could not see a thing. Climbing the stile I saw the cause of all the fracas –¬† a flock of sheep yelling at each other. They soon moved as I scampered down the path and they took flight over the hill.

Reaching the Sound was a strange encounter as not only could I not see The Calf Of Man, neither could I even see Kitterlands. I could barely even see the visitor centre. It was as if I had never been here before. It was remarkably peaceful and beautiful. And then out of the mist came a ghostly boat with a pinpoint light atop that never quite came into focus. Closer to the shore, a sole seal displayed for me as I ate my refreshments. I was glad I had brought a fleece and a waterproof – it was chilly sitting there.

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So back home along the road to Cregneash  provided less interest. I met a lone foreign traveller walking down to the Sound and as I bade him farewell I wished the sun would break through the clouds for him as I feared he might not relish the view when he arrived otherwise.

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An interesting evening. I wonder if I will ever see the Sound quite like that every again?