Isle of Man

 

We’re confused. Hardly surprising for two blokes of advanced years you may say, but we’ve heard a lot about the IoM and its not-quite separateness from the UK, its being a self governing dependency (they pay UK £3m to defend them)…its home to the wealthy and their banks…and its relative reluctance to give up corporal punishment (the birch) for young male offenders. In places it certainly seems like that (not the birch), but a short walk back from the front in Douglas and we are into grand old Victorian houses, now a bit shabby and turned into HMOs. The other surprising thing to us, is the number of boats in the marina which appear unloved and in need of serious TLC. It turns out that despite this being the most expensive place we have visited in terms of mooring fees, the charges for residents are astoundingly cheap (a couple of hundred £ a year…whole boat not per metre..) so it is cheaper to keep them than dispose. As the harbour manager says, “…they can still stand in the pub and tell their mates they’ve got a yacht!”.

Not for the first time, it seems like we are stepping back into the 1950s and we do the whole tourist thing. A £16 day pass on all public transport gets us;

  • a ride along the front (could be Brighton in the 50s) on a horse-drawn tram. Watching the world and the sea front go by at this speed is very soothing and James misses his two old horses… ☹

 

  • a ride on the electric tram from Douglas to Laxey…wonderful old (1880s) trams in original ash and oak…

This also gives us a chance to have a quick look at the Laxey water wheel (huge) and the remains of the old mine workings, which were once a big source of income and employment.

 

  • a ride up Snaefell which is the island’s highest peak. Apparently on a clear day one can see 6 kingdoms…so they say. However it is still a magical ride up through the clouds on yet another old tram…

….complete with unique mountain braking system….

  • A ride on the steam train from Douglas to Port Erin. The train is the old compartment model with no corridor and it brings back memories of being a teenager…

…there’s nothing like a bit of brass and steam…

Port Erin is a stunning beach and harbour, with another old Victorian front and some very luxurious apartments higher up.

 

It brings out the romantic side of us (missing Chris and Yee Tak)

But we console ourselves with a glass of Rhubarb fizz in a harbour bar…so this is               where the well to do come to drink and snack!!

  • And finally, a ride on the motor bus (should have been a charabanc!) back to Douglas in time for dinner. All this (not dinner or the booze) for 16 notes!

One thought on “Isle of Man

  1. I’ve been remiss and haven’t been reading this regularly enough. James thank you for taking the time to write such vivid descriptions- it brings to life the adventures and experiences you’ve had on Heydays with and without Yeetak and me and the memories are priceless. I OM seems one definitely to return to.

    Like

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