Nature Walk including Colby and Glen Chass – 5.65 miles, 432 ft of ascent

I make no apologies for describing today’s walk as a nature ramble. That was what I set out to do. I haven’t visited my haven so far this year and the orange tips won’t be around much longer. I always draw such warmth from my hidden nature reserve – hidden to all but locals walking their dogs, walkers and children escaping from their parents. It is not shown on a map and as far as I know, it doesn’t have a name – and long may it stay that way and let nature run wild.

I took the bus to Colby, then took the path beside the Colby river. There is so much to see in this first third of a mile. They were butterflies flitting, but above all numerous wild flowers abutting the water course, oblivious to the fact that there are houses on the other side of the river.

 

Above: The start of the walk from Colby.

Below: Nature in all its glory in the first mile of the walk

 

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Crossing the railway line, I interrupted the sheep’s pleasure and seemed to cause some dismay as a few of them started coughing violently. This is pasture land where sheep share the territory with birds rather than wild flowers. I soon cross back over the river and enter into my little paradise. It isn’t much to look at, but if you listen you can hear the birds chirping to each other trees, and if you stop and stare, you can watch the butterflies chattering with their companion as they move incessantly on the path. The plants in flower offer their shade and their nectar to the local inhabitants and everything is in harmony.

Passing out of the nature reserve I make my way along the road to the Shore Inn. I debated with myself whether to stop and have a cider but decided against it, and instead I sat on the beach, drank my water and ate an odd selection of banana, raw carrot, cucumber and a very small chocolate bar. The birds surrounding me were mainly herring gulls and blackbacked gulls, with a few oystercatchers at the sea edge and a solitary shag perched on a rock. The tide is way out, further than I have ever seen it. It is almost that time of year when the intrepid venture out into Douglas Bay and slip and slide their way to the Tower of Refuge.

I walked around the coast to Port St Mary, along the Underway and out towards the outer harbour before turning westwards towards Fistard. Here I had a choice of direction and not having walked along Glenn Chass stream since I moved here five years ago, I took this route uphill. It didn’t disappoint. The bluebells are still out and are vibrant dark blue. There are still smattering of wild garlic too. As that conjures smells, I am reminded that as I went round Gansey Point. the meadowsweet was in full bloom and the scent was quite overpowering.

Above: The meadowsweet at Gansey Point; the extended beach at Chapel Bay; different types of footprints;  stranded boats at Port St. Mary.

From Glen Chass I followed one of the higher paths across meadows back towards Port Erin. I am particularly pleased with the photograph I took of the Milner Tower on Bradda Head standing on top of a stile just before I descended down the Golden Road, which right now is blue from head to toe.

The final stretch: photos of the gorgeous Glenn Chass,

and home…. altogether, I saw at least 5 of our 19 species of butterfly: red admiral, wall brown, green-veined white, orange tip and speckled wood.

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A most enjoyable three hours. My next walk is planned for Sunday or Monday, when I hope to walk from Douglas to Castletown.

 

 

Catching Up – 15th May 2019

I may not have added to my blog lately, but I have been out walking. A couple of weeks ago I walked from Port Erin, along the coast to Fleshwick, up and over the Carnanes and then back via Sulby. It was a glorious walk but I have been struggling to upload my photos, and as any regular reader of my blogs will know my iphone consistently runs out of battery when I am out walking, so that walk is not recorded here. 😦

I have finally bought a camera, the Sony RX100 M3, and I have been out and about trying to figure out how to take photos with it. Initially, my photos were huge files but I think I have overcome that. Now, I am trying to work out how to get the exposure right and the colour of nearby objects.

On Saturday, I went along to Marine Drive in Douglas – these were the extra big files, but I have found a way to reduce them, thankfully, so I can include some here.

Yesterday, I pottered down to the bay, trying out the zoom lens and the amended file size. Perhaps a slight improvement. In the evening, I was lucky enough to spot a large white butterfly on my apple tree, which had presumably just emerged from its chrysalis as it stayed there for a good few hours sunning itself in the warm evening sun. Apparently, when they first emerge, butterflies are unable to fly as their bodies dry out to become strong enough to make their initial flight. It had gone by the time I got up this morning.

On my outing on Saturday I had met a traveller from England who was visiting the island for the first time and we arranged to meet up for a walk before he returned to England. So today, we walked from Derbyhaven, along the coast, contouring around the west side of the golf course up to Langness, passing by Dreswick Point and ‘Jeremy Clarkson’s lighthouse’, past the Herring Tower, veering round the eastern edge of the golf course to drop in for a cup of tea at No. 19. My guest very politely waited at various junctures on the route whilst I took more photographs. It was very pleasant showing the island to a stranger, who also turned out to be a very nice companion for afternoon.

The wild flowers were spectacular, as were the highland cattle. I was not quite so successful at capturing the birds. I did think the knots? looked rather good hustled together on the rock but my photo does not do them or the heron justice. I shall keep practising!

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Ps. The birds on the rocks may be sanderlings or plovers, but definitely not knots which have a red underside. Shame I couldn’t see them better.

Anyone for a swim? Tuesday 5th March 2019

It is rare the see old swimming pool at Port Erin brim full of sea water, and how much pleasanter it is when we can’t see all the debris and mess on the bottom. I was only out for a short walk today to post a parcel, but the weather was so lovely I could not resist a walk around the cliffs towards Bradda Head in my lunch break.

It was high tide and there was a stiff breeze blowing, which meant the white horses were skipping over the rocks, pushing them backwards and forwards and grinding them down. It was quite noisy down at the bay where I sat for some 20 mins just watching and listening. I adore high tide and often plans my walks around the tide table!

There is little to add verbally to this post. These walks are about views and not words, about experiences rather than in depth analysis. In many ways, the fewer words the better. So, I shall leave you to enjoy the views, while I get back to writing sample questions and answers for the new GCSE Psychology course.

Mad Dogs and English(wo)men – Saturday 2nd March 2019

… go out in the mid-day mist, wind and rain for fun. Apologies to Noel Coward for adulterating his song, not that he refers to the Manx in his ditty so perhaps he just assumed anyone living on this island is only very slightly barmy. Unsurprisingly, I saw no walkers on this 6 mile walk, not even the intrepid dog walkers who generally stop for nothing and no-one. I was initially protected from the south westerly gales that would eventually batter me as I skirted around Meayll Hill and Cregneash towards the Chasms by happening be on the lea side of the hill. Once I hit the tops, I knew about it. It was hard to stand up at all at times and the persistent winds seemed to be trying to push me back the way I had come.

But, not to be outdone, I carried on quite aware that other options seemed much more enticing, like catching the bus back to Port Erin, but that would signify failure and being boring, and where was the fun in that? Then the rains came. It was just possible to make out the Calf of Man and to see the white horses galloping over the waves at the foot of the cliffs.  It was pretty pointless really, but there is still joy to be had in these extremes of weather and some pleasure in being the only idiot anywhere to be seen.

I sat in the old ‘Cafe’ at the Chasms, ate my banana, and contemplated how well I am feeling. Quite remarkable only five days after an operation and having had next to no sleep last night, but I was very happy watching the driving rain from my temporary place of safety and wondering where to go next.

As I descended toward the Sugar Loaf, the rains subsided, so I followed the lower route to Port St Mary, passing by Glenn Chass before encountering the wrath of the winds again on the southern section of coastline going towards the harbour. Turning northwards through the village, everything became calm and dull. I walked along the main street in PSM, then followed the main roads back to Port Erin, with only one thing on my mind – a nice cup of coffee and home made egg custard tart at the Whistlestop, the cafe next to the railway station.

If you were to follow this route, starting at the railway station – follow the main road up to the Methodist church and then turn right into Drogadfayle Road. Follow this over the railway line and continue up the hill, round the dog leg bend and you will immediately see the footpath going up the hill (about 1/2 mile from the station). This footpath is colloquially known as the Golden Road. When you look at the photos you will see why.

The quality of the photos is somewhat lacking due to the weather and it being impossible to stand still most of the time, but this is what is was like – just wonderful 🙂

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2019-03-02 Circular route

Onwards and upwards – Friday 1st March 2019

It seems fitting that it is the first day of Spring, and that this is my first 10,000 steps for some time. Health issues, deaths and funerals have made their mark over the last five months, and quite frankly I am glad to see the back of them. Monday was D day when I had the left lobe of my thyroid and parathyroid glands removed, and that surgery was the easiest and almost the most pain-free day I have had for a long time as my leg pain was also blunted by the anaesthetic – and indeed, this remain the case several days after, bizarrely.  So, I am feeling most optimistic and looking forward to getting out treading the paths as I love to do, breathing the air and looking up towards the sky and out towards the horizon.

Today, my friend and I decided to visit Close Leece Farm Shop and Cafe, which has just opened between Patrick and St Johns. This cafe / farm only stocks local produce and we were keen to try out their menu. We had scrambled eggs with chives and creme fraiche, and I had smoked salmon with mine (sourced from Port St Mary). It was all delicious… but not cheap. Mine was £10.50 and the coffee is very expensive, £2.75 for a fairly small cup with no free refills. The location is very attractive, an old stone barn with a log burning fire. There is a shop stocking all the produce that they cook, and more. The cafe is at the back and there is room to sit outside. The atmosphere was slightly spoiled by canned music playing inside and out. We commented to the staff that it would more appropriate to play Manx music, and I wouldn’t want music playing outside at any time, especially in such lovely surroundings.

After this, Janet and I decided to stretch our legs and we had a wander around Peel, first of all going around the outside of the castle, along the prom and then into Peel itself. We tucked into a number of antique shops and browsed our way around the quaint streets before returning back to the car at Fenella beach.

This evening, I took myself down to the beach at Port Erin. I am not quite sure what they are doing with the sand. It was dark and raining as I walked towards the sea, and I kept tripping over ridges of sand made with what looked like caterpillar tracks. I shall have another look tomorrow to see what they are up to.

So, stitches come out on Monday and I get my histology report towards the end of the week with any luck, and hopefully then we can draw a line under that, and if not, we just carry on and deal with whatever life throws at me. I am getting used to it. Whatever, my plan is to get out walking between 5-10 miles at least twice a week now, so there should be more updates to this blog from now on, and more photos to inspire you to visit this wonderful island, or if you live here, to get out and enjoy it 🙂

Peel 1Peel 3Peel 2Peel 5

Christmas Deliveries Pt 2: Port Erin to Castletown 6 3/4 miles

Big boulders, little boulders, coarse-grained sand, smooth sand; pebbles galore reminding one of Dorset’s Chesil beach, just as arduous to walk along, but only one mile instead of many. Deep wedges of seaweed, troughs made by meandering streams, fossilised corals and even remnants of a bird trapped within the confines of the limestone; vesicles made in the rocks by tiny organisms or were these holes evidence of gas trapped in the volcanic eruptions in Castletown bay? Who knows?! All this in a short 7 mile walk from Port Erin to Castletown, not to mention the ancient historical monument of Close Ny Chollagh and the Giant Steps created in the limestone nearby. There were mandatory cows at Pooil Vaaish Farm who stood to attention and waited politely for me to pass by – age before beauty :-). For those who are new readers, cows feature in many of my walks one way or another!

The walk began along Truggan Road behind Port Erin, leading towards Port St Mary. My first port of call was a house on Beach Road, followed by another a short distance along Shore Road. Here I couldn’t find the letter-box, so opened what I thought the porch door to find myself in their hall which was decorated with a very fine Christmas tree. I didn’t see the owners, but I do apologise for the intrusion.

The tide was out, so here was an opportunity to walk along the beach to Fishers’ Hill. I began to regret it as there was a strong easterly biting wind constantly battering my face and the mixed terrain was lop-sided and uneven to walk along, but there were joys to be had in the many fossils I stumbled across and the wonderful light shining on the sea. I regained my normal speed once on the track going around to Scarlett, detouring from time to time to find a new angle on a walk I have done many times before. If you have never walked this, this is one you should find time to do.