It was a lovely sunny afternoon on Saturday and what better way to get some gentle exercise than to stroll up the small but beautiful glen that is Port Soderick Glen. You really don’t need to set any time aside for this walk as it will only take you 3/4 hr even if you are walking at a leisurely pace. It has a timeless tranquillity about it, and possibly because it is only half a mile long you can imagine all the feet that have traipsed beside the stream as you jump over the boggy bits and admire the hills on either side.
I was really on my way to Tesco in Douglas. This is what is so nice about the Isle of Man. I could have done a number of different short walks along other glens on the way, driving through lovely countryside to get there. This had to be a short walk as I was still suffering with a fair amount of pain but I needed to build up my exercise after 5 weeks. The first thing that struck me was the bird song – not that I can recognise birds from their song but I enjoy trying to find out where they are perching in the trees while they perform their arias. The second thing I noticed was that it was quite wet and there was a fair amount of water in this little stream. The third thing I noticed was that the paths have been upgraded and a new higher path has emerged. Of course, I had to try this out. As I reached the ‘top’ there was water gushing off the meadow above. It had created a small path in the grassy turf before it tumbled into the glen, but where was all this water coming from? It was only a few feet to the top from there, maybe 8-10 ft, so how was it generating that kind of force? It’s good to have mysteries – just as we have our faeries and elves on the Isle of Man.
There is little to say about the walk itself. I walked one side of the stream, admiring the celandine and wood sorrel; then as I crossed to the other side there were primroses and marsh marigolds and a few stray daffodils enjoying the sun. You reach the end of the glen where it joins a track and there is a quaint bridge to the left. Follow the track to the right and it will join the road – here there is a minor tributary than joins the Crogga River that you can just about make out in the vegetation below, and there are plenty of trees as you make your way upwards. At the road, it is necessary to walk a short distance back along the road towards the sea, but then it is possible to turn back into the woodland and rejoin the river near the bridge. It feels completely different up here, with less vegetation and the trees standing tall. It is a very well made path and pleasant to walk along.
I had just joined the forest track when I spotted something on the ground, that looked like pages from a book. Indeed, this is exactly what they were. What an odd place to find such a thing. The pages were from a very old-looking book “The Land of England” and covers what happens to the land in each month. There were only a few tattered pages and they just happened to be for March, telling me how a furrow-slice works and how to gather up the ridges; also a quote from an ancient scribe on how to keep oxen. It even told me the origins of the word ‘camping’ which has absolutely nothing to do with putting up a tent in a field….
What goes up must go down, and the path down eventually ends in very nicely constructed steps, not too steep and quite manageable. From here, there is no choice but to follow the stream back to (the car park) or the sea. I had a wonderful surprise when I glanced up and saw a falcon displaying it aerial talents over the top of the trees. After this brief respite, I continued my journey. The sea hits you as something of a surprise as if you park in the lower car park and walk up the glen you wouldn’t know the sea is just to the left and only yards in front of you. And what a view when you get there. I was delighted as the tide was well in and the waves crashing on the pebbles. The beach itself is not amazing and it is a bit scruffy but I believe there are plans to do the area up a bit and restore it to its former glory.
If you want a little more of a walk, continue along the edge of the beach to the steps that lead up the northern edge of the cliff. This is an attractive addition to the walk. You can go all the way to Douglas if you really want to, along Marine Drive, but that would take you a couple of hours. However, if you time it right you can get the steam train in one direction of the other to make it a linear route. Otherwise, when you have had enough, just turn round and retrace your steps back to the car.
I confess I am still sore after my operation, and it is making me feel unwell, but I had my post op appointment yesterday and the Consultant (Mrs. Moroney) was just wonderful and reassured me that my recovery is as it should be. My operation was bigger than we were all expecting so I couldn’t expect to be in any better condition than I am right now. However, she says the chances are that I will be fighting fit again for the May walk and she said that it is often the case that just one day the patient wakes up and feels well again and there is no looking back. So I remain optimistic.
I shall be joining the U3A walk on Tuesday from Castletown to Port St Mary, but just for part of it. It will be nice to see everyone again and for life to return to some semblance of normality. This weekend I plan to do a recce for the walk I shall be leading in May, so let’s hope for some good weather.