I was treated to a tremendous light and wave display along the whole of this short 3.5 mile amble on the coastal footpath to Castletown. I shall never forget it.
It had been a last minute idea to get the bus over to Fisher’s Hill and walk along the coast. It wasn’t a particularly nice day, in fact, it had been raining and it was very blowy but I needed some air and to try and stretch my legs. Even on the bus I was having second thoughts as the rain started up again and there were dark grey clouds in all directions. What a reward I received for continuing!
I don’t need to describe this walk to you. I have done this often enough in the past, so instead I am giving you a slideshow showing the spectacular views and vistas I experienced in the 90 minutes I was out walking. I hope you enjoy it and it prompts you to go out on those days when the weather is not inviting; perhaps you will experience the same kind of surprise and joy as I experienced today.
It started with light grey bloomy skies; then the sun would try to peak through turning everything silver; then glimpses of blue sky amid the dark clouds, and the odd bit of rain making shafts of light on the horizon, grey clouds turning almost orange, emblazoned by the blowy winds casting light in all directions and throwing up blustery waves as it reached high tide. In sheltered places the sea was like a mill pond, in others it would vent its fury. There was such variety it is hard to imagine.
When I ventured out I was tired and sore. When I returned I was still tired and my legs even more sore, so that I walked like a toy soldier back to the house, but my spirits were lifted. It is so important to feed the soul as well as the body, and this walk had done just that for me.
My walks seem to be getting shorter and shorter. I think this one is the absolute minimum to be called a ‘walk’, and it was really a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll of 3.25 miles between Gansey Bay and Scarlett.
I had just braved Shoprite, thinking that this would be the last day of queuing and social distancing in the shops. Being unsure as to how wise the total easing of restrictions are for us here on the Isle of Man, I felt safer obliging by the recent three month old rules to do my big shop. However, when I got there, the barriers had all been removed, no-one was wearing masks, there was no one-way system around the supermarket and basically, life was back to normal, with the exception of screens at the checkout and a lady constantly reminding us over an audio loop that we must socially distance at 2 metres. I hope someone has told her that she will be out of a job tomorrow :-). The obligatory man at the entrance advised me that over here people think the virus is finished! Well, that would be nice but I think the whole world has a very long way to go before such a statement will have any grounding in fact.
So, having unpacked my shopping, I sent a message to my friend Janet to see if she fancied a stroll along the southern beaches. At least I can now pick her up in my car to go places. It was a fine afternoon, really quite warm. It was hazy so the photos aren’t great, but you will get a flavour of this part of our island.
I parked at the bottom of Fisher’s Hill. This is a regular parking spot for walking around to Scarlett. If you were to do a circular route you would need to go as far as Castletown and return via an inland route and this would be a good 5-6 miles. There are few places to branch off the coast path, so it is either of matter of a long walk or re-tracing your steps after a mile or two, and this is what we did.
We walked along dodging cars and putting the world to right, trying to make sense of this crazy world we live in, and discussing plans we each had for improvements for our respective houses. Getting work done on this little island by reliable workmen is almost as difficult as pulling hens’ teeth, and when you find trustworthy folks you don’t let them go!!
This section of the coast path is very flat, barely a rise from start to finish. It is a well made track and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs for a large part of the route. Once you get to Pooil Vaaish, the track disappears and you enter fields with stiles to clamber over, so this section would not be suitable for those with walking difficulties. However, you could access most of it from the Scarlett Visitor centre at Castletown so there is only a small section you would not be able to do.
There was a lot of smelly seaweed around as the tide was way out so the first part of the walk was a bit pongy. Pooil Vaaish itself means ‘Bay of Death’, which is not because of shipwrecks but because of the black marble which is quarried here. It is a unique kind of black limestone that has been used around the world and you can even find it on the steps of St. Paul’s in London. It is a tiny quarry and it surprising to think that it contains such marvels.
If you haven’t been to this area before, just inland from Pooil Vaaish Farm is Balladoole, a viking ship burial ground with superb views over the water and up to the hills. But we were not visiting this today. In fact, we only walked a little way across the fields and sat and watched boats steaming across the bay and planes coming in to land – quite a novelty right now and a reminder that at some point we will be able to both leave and return to our island without restrictions.
After this, we made our way back along the same path, stopping to look at flowers, butterflies and moths as we came across them.