After our visit to the Great Laxey Mine Railway, we’ll be heading for the ferry and home. This visit, to a railway significantly smaller than those we’ve seen so far, was just the thing for our last morning on the Isle of Man. Visit “Laxey: the GLMR” to find out more…
Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries, photos of the many and various trams we encountered and travelled on during our stay on the Isle of Man. Visit “Manx Electric Railway” – now!
…the sound of the horse trams in Douglas, Isle of Man. For more photos of this year’s somewhat-limited operations, visit “Horsepower” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries
Friday 26 July: We’ve travelled on the steam railway as far as Castletown, for a day’s exploration (and lunch, of course). Firstly, Castle Rushen – what a great place to explore! It’s not a ruin – it’s intact. When a castle was no longer needed locally, it was used as a jail, and now it’s preserved by Manx Heritage.
After the castle, we need to scuttle back to the station to record passing trains, before heading back into town, to find the aforementioned refreshments, and then walking out along the shore to Scarlett Point. Wonderful great slabs of rocks – tilted and folded, and eroded by the sea.
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=226193&Y=467191&A=Y&Z=120
…was, of course, the visit to Snaefell summit on the Snaefell Mountain Railway. We also saw the SMR tramcars at Laxey the previous day, and on the Saturday when we visited the Laxey Mines Railway (still to come…). Visit “Snaefell Mountain Railway” on Geoff’s Rail Pages for the pictures and more on the line.
Thursday 25 July: Firstly, a ride up the full length of the Manx Electric Railway to Ramsey. Here, there’s time for some exploration – a look at the pier, long closed but now undergoing renovations, followed by a visit to the small commercial harbour. Then lunch…
After lunch, we head back down to Laxey, where we’re in nice time for a departure to the summit of Snaefell (2036 ft high, the Summit Hotel declares, but that’s the elevation of the summit of Snaefell itself). It could be clearer, though the coast of Northern Ireland is visible. It’s less clear to the east now – earlier, on the Ramsey run, we could make out the English Lake District, and to the north we could see the Galloway coast.
In need of a leg stretch, we walk down the well-trodden path to Bungalow, where we’re able to hop onto car no. 2, which we saw arriving at the summit a little earlier.
We’re eating late tonight – it’s almost 10pm when we get back to our hotel, pausing to take in the sweep of Douglas Bay, before calling it a day – another well-filled day at that.
That’s what the Groudle Glen publicity tells us about this little Manx 2ft-gauge line. For photos and an account of our visit there on 24 July, go to “Groudle Glen” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.
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.
Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries – photos and an account of our travels on the Isle of Man Steam Railway. Visit IoM: the Steam Railway – now!
Tuesday 23 July: a ride on the steam railway to the south-western tip of the island. Leaving the train at Port Erin, we walked up the steep and narrow minor road to the museum at Cregneash, where there are numerous thatched buildings and exhibits from crofting life. We’ve missed – by yards – the stone circle on Meayll Hill (blame the mist!) – we’d better walk back and take a look.
We’d thought of walking to take a look across the Calf Sound, to the Calf of Man, but the mist was reluctant to clear. Instead, we’ll follow the coastal path “Raad ny Foillan” to Port St Mary and the train back to Douglas. There are “chasms” close by the path – we’d better take a look at those. Wow!
Walking back to our hotel, after dining well (we’ve earned it – walked nearly 12 miles today) by Douglas harbour, there’s an interesting and unusual building beside the road. It’s Tynwald.
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=219735&Y=467737&A=Y&Z=120