Wednesday 24 July: We’re visiting the Isle of Man to coincide with its “Heritage Transport Festival” – the upshot of which is that the Groudle Glen Railway will be operating during the daytime today (it mostly operates on Sundays and Wednesday evenings). As we’ll be home again on Sunday, we’d better pay the line a visit.
We arrive at Groudle Glen tram stop an hour or so before services are due to begin – so we walk down the glen beyond the station, then up onto the headland to the terminus high above the sea and the site of the former zoo, where sea lions and polar bears were kept as a visitor attraction.
It’s possible that not everyone has heard of the GGR, but the Laxey wheel is probably the one thing everyone has heard of. So we’re back on the “Electric Railway” to Laxey, for lunch in the outside seating area of the Mines Tavern (whose bar is decorated to resemble a tram). What a great place to sit and enjoy the passing scene! Then we’re off past “Ham and Eggs Row” to the great red water wheel – “Lady Isabella”. It’s quite a sight to see this 22m wheel slowly turning (at 3rpm), alternately pushing and pulling the rod which once operated the pumps at the mine further up the glen. It’s a pretty good view from the top of its water feed tower too.