A spring in my step – 9th April 2019

It started out wet and miserable, so I resigned myself to working and tutoring students all day. Then in the afternoon the sun came out, and at 4pm I decided it was time for a breath of air. Walking from home I made my way along the back road to the edge of Port St Mary, then up towards the Howe and down to Glen Chass.

Needless to say, this hadn’t been my original plan, which was simply to walk up to Cregneash via the eastern route and return via the western route. But when do I stick to my plans? It is much more interesting making it up as I go along.

It was a bit cooler today with a freshening wind. The views across to Langness were beautiful. The light turned everything slightly blue and gave the appearance of a work of art rather than a landscape. I followed the coast path up to the Chasms.

 

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From here I walked along the edge of the cliff rather than along the standard footpath up to the corner where the footpath at Spanish Head leads up through the meadows to Cregneash. Here, I caught a glimpse of the Calf of Man, lit from behind by a cool sun.

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From Cregneash it was a simple walk down the road to Port Erin; its one of those walks where us locals take the views for granted but what views to have half a mile from my own doorstep.

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This total route was about 4.5 miles with a total ascent of 500ft, followed by the same amount of descent over time.

Tomorrow I have a full day off, and my plan is to walk across those hills you can see here in the background behind Port Erin. Pray for fine weather, otherwise I may have to wait until the weekend.

Cliffs and Athol Glen Park 8th April 2019

I was up on the cliffs yesterday and noticed the amount of erosion that has occurred over the winter months.  It appears that no action is being taken but I wonder how long it can continue its course without parts of it finally plummeting into the sea? This will impact the cliff walk to Bradda Glen, just as the closure of the lower route has done, but having the higher route at least has always meant an alternative route.

 

 

The coast path to the south is closed behind the marine biological station for slippage up until May 27th, reopening just in time for TT.

It has been quite a wild winter over here. Not that it has been cold, wet or snowy. Just windy. It is noticeable the number of trees in the glens that were demolished by the winds and what were quite leafy glades are now more exposed to the sky, though this will change as they come into leaf. It does enable to ground-loving plants to come into their own, so there is always an upside to this kind of destruction.

I stopped at my usual hotspot on the beach and watched the tide come in until it lapped against my feet, then I walked home via Athol Park Glen. This must be one of the smallest glens anywhere. It takes less than 5 mins to walk end to end, unless like me you amble slightly off the footpath to take in its hidden gems. Even so, at its widest it can only be 200 yards or so! The bluebells and white bells looked almost more effective there being only a few of them, and the light cast wonderful shadows of the trees.

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Langness March 31 2019

Always a good spot for a bit of fresh sea air and distant views. This is a very easy level walk of no more than 3 miles, so great for an afternoon stroll to walk off the Sunday carvery.  My friend Janet and I started out by the over-sized bird table on the western side of the island that commemorates the Manx ornithologist Henry Madoc, who just happened to be the Chief Constable of the island. I can’t help but think that the birds have plenty of water in these parts but it is a landmark none the same.  It was a hazy day,

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which didn’t lend itself to good views but it is good to stretch the eyes.

From there we walked round the southern tip, past the foghorn at Dreswick point, which incidentally I have as a night-time view of the Milky Way as a screensaver, past the gun emplacements up to the Herring Tower. We continued a little further but have to foreshorten our walk due to other commitments. On other occasions, we would walk up along the eastern side of the golf course and pop in to No 19 for coffee or lunch.

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If you would like more information about Langness, read here:

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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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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 🙂

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Peel Hill: 2.77 miles, 536 ft ascent – great for families and dogs

How can one resist the opportunity to walk round Peel Hill? I was on my way to Evensong at Peel Cathedral, and having completed my work commitments and done an hour in the garden, this seemed like the perfect contribution to the events of the day. A short walk that anyone can do with reasonable fitness. There are some fairly steep uphill sections that might not suit everyone.

It wasn’t the best weather, slightly drizzly and foggy, muddy underfoot in places, no long views, no great skies, but still sublime. It’s good to see the countryside when it isn’t at its best. It reminds us that nature has its own agenda and we have to take advantage of what it gives us throughout the seasons.

I had barely gone a few steps when I saw a pied wagtail, and a little further on, where I stopped to take the photo of Peel, a stonechat, both engrossed in their own activities. After that, it was mostly sheep as you will see.

I followed the path on the lower reaches of the eastern side of the hill, which brings you out toward the middle of the range of hills. I continued left towards Corrin Tower which was shrouded in mist. As I reached the far end of the hummocks, I was lucky to get a view towards Glen Maye and beyond. I then turned back along the western lower route eventually joining the main path which leads across the top of the hills down to the Castle

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Peel Castle  and Fenella Beach

Peel and the River Neb

A misty view to the south

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The high point of Corrin’s Tower

Even the sheep are mystified

And at last, some distant views to the south

The pleasant path along the western side

The sheep cling to the hillside

And back..

 

 

Local Walk, Port Erin, Port St Mary 3-4 miles

Twilight is such a nice time to venture out, especially in the winter months. There is a stillness in the air as nature settles down for the night. Today was no exception.

There is nothing remarkable about this walk. I am flitting about between the IOM and the UK as my aged aunt is very ill, so I have to grasp any moment I can to get some air and to exercise my legs. I am still suffering from my slipped disc and leg pain that doesn’t give up at any time in the day or night, but exercise helps a little and at least takes my mind off it. Hence the short distances, but at least a 3 or 4 mile walk means I can get my heart rate up a bit and burn off some of the Christmas indulgencies I engaged in at Stoke Mandeville Hospice :-). I did manage two very joyous days with my immediate family over Christmas and I spent several days either side of them visiting my aunty at SM and am about to return for another visit.

On a brighter note, today the air was very festive, crisp and even. I was well wrapped up and having called in at the newsagents to claim my £6 from a scratchcard, I started my walk in the centre of Port Erin. I went along the beach, then out towards Ballachurry Nature reserve, down Mount Gawne Road to the sea at Gansey,  around Gansey Point to Port St Mary and then back home along Truggan Road. It might be an easy walk along roads, but its far nicer than any local walk I could have done when I lived in Nottingham. We are all very blessed living on our beautiful island.