What a way to refresh your soul. I have been working flat-out for a few weeks now and had set aside today for a complete day to myself, without any students, without looking at emails or marking work. I had not anticipated such as treat as I started off through Kerroodhoo Plantation, having parked off the road at Dalby Mountain Nature Reserve.
The sun was shining and it was a warm day as I ventured into the eastern edge of the forest. It is always a delightful walk, no matter what time of year, but as the sun glinted through the trees, it was very pretty; even more so when, rather like Wordsworth daffodils, I came across a sudden drift of bluebells, that went on in all directions. I took photo after photo but show you just two here. Although the path is only partly marked out on the map, in practice it continues all the way to Barrane. In places it is a little muddy and in other places slightly steep. If you are slightly infirm of foot I would definitely use a pole to help you down safely, but these are very short sections and nothing to worry about. Not only was there an abundance of bluebells, but throughout this walk there were many, many different wild flowers and it was pure joy to be amongst them. I shall include a slideshow of these at the end.
Barrane appears after a mile of walking downhill, then the route joins the road leading to Dalby but go south instead of north, and this becomes a stony track uphill. After crossing the ford, or avoiding it by following the signs for the coastal footpath, take the footpath that leads to the edge of the coast. Most people turn right to go to Niarbyl, but our route goes south at this junction and the cliff path is delightful along here. There is a little uphill walking at this stage but there is a nice resting place where I stopped for some time watching the tortoiseshell butterflies doing a merry dance and listening to the linnets singing in the bushes. The view was sensational and there were different flowers in every direction that I looked. It was so restful and just what I needed.
From here, there is a little more uphill and then you join the standard coastal path which begins on a fairly level grassy path before zigzagging downhill for a short distance. Having crossed the ladder stile, the path becomes narrower and closer to the cliff edge. It is never dangerous, but I know some people get nervous on such paths so I have included some photos to show you how close it is. As I say, it is perfectly safe. After a little more downhill, where you are fairly close to the bottom of the cliff at 153ft above sea level, we cross a stream called Glion Mooar and then start the rather more cumbersome 500 ft / 3/4 mile climb up to Eary Cushlin house, of which the first part is the steepest. This can only be avoided by not taking the coastal footpath earlier, but it is a good, grassy path and you can rest whenever you like.
I plan to lead this walk in August, but from here I shall probably take a slightly different route to avoid walking on tracks. Today, I followed the main track up to the edge of the plantation then turned south. This goes very gently uphill to the highest point of day at 998ft. The route then turns off into the Dalby Nature Reserve owned by Manx Wildlife Trust and we walk through this back to the cars. This is likely to be boggy in places as it was today, so if you do follow this route I would recommend wearing long trousers and gaiters. Gaiters for the boggy bits and being a nature reserve the heather and gorse do not take account of walkers and sometimes the path is very narrow if existing at all.
I am feeling so much better these last few weeks and I hoping to get out in the countryside once a week from now on, so you can look forward to a few more posts over the coming months than I have been able to write in recent months.
Distance 5.25 miles; Total Ascent 1,184ft