Saturday, April 6, 2024

5th of April 2024 - On the way home

Our hotel had been covered in scaffolding for all of our stay.  The scaffolding was coming down on my last morning on the Isle of Man.


My case is all packed up ready for the trip home.

One last look down from my balcony...

Friday, April 5, 2024

4th of April 2024 - Snaefell and the Laxey Wheel

The Isle of Man TT or Tourist Trophy races are an annual motorcycle racing event run on the Isle of Man in May and June of most years since its inaugural race in 1907.  The race is run in a time-trial format on public roads closed to the public.  The event consists of one week of practice and qualifying sessions followed by one week of racing.  The motorbikes can reach speeds of up to 200mph.  The day started with a drive around the TT course ending at the race stand. 

There were great views from the TT course including of Ramsey. 

I took the Snaefell Mountain Railway from the village of Laxey to the summit at 2,036 feet above sea level.  The railway, which is around five miles long, has been in operation since 1895 and is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles.

We had spectacular views until near the summit of Snaefell as the summit was covered in cloud.

The Laxey Wheel, built into the hillside above the village of Laxey, is the largest surviving original working waterwheel in the world.  The wheel was built in 1854 to pump water from the Glen Mooar part of the Great Laxey Mines industrial complex.

I returned to Douglas from Laxey on the Manx Electric Railway.  The Manx Electric Railway is the oldest electric tram line in the world whose original rolling stock is still in service.  I opted to go on the open wagon which meant for a very bracing trip back to Douglas.


The horse trams along Douglas promenade are an iconic part of the of the Isle of Man.  They started in 1876 to take advantage of the booming tourist trade, the 3ft gauge tramway is currently operated by Isle of Man Transport as part of their Heritage Railway offering.  It is the oldest surviving Horse Tramway in Britain, and the only one to have operated continuously since its opening (with the exception of World War II and recent Promenade refurbishment works).  My final ride of the day was on a horse tram back to my hotel.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

3rd of April 2024 - Peel

The memorial event was held in Peel on a day when the weather was absolutely foul with wind and rain.  Peel is the third largest town on the Isle of Man after Douglas and Ramsey.  Despite the weather we managed to spend a couple of hours wandering around the town and along the seafront.

We eventually escaped from the weather into the Leece museum dedicated to the local history of Peel.  One exhibit in the museum was the last birching stool to be used in Peel in the 1880s.

Leece museum also had a display of classic motorcycles. 

On my return to Douglas I walked along the seafront.  The beach is very different to the one at Peel.

The Isle of Man was Norman Wisdom's adopted home.  Outside my hotel there is a bronze statue of Sir Norman Wisdom sitting on a bench.  We ended the day with a drink in Sir Norman's bar.

2nd of April - Port Erin and Castletown

We started the day with a 15½ mile trip on the Isle of Man Steam Railway from Douglas to Port Erin.  The Isle of Man Steam Railway was opened in 1873 and is the longest narrow gauge steam line in Britain that still uses its original locomotives and carriages.

The flag of the Isle of Man or flag of Mann is a triskelion, composed of three armoured legs with golden spurs, upon a red background. This has been replicated as a decoration on a cappuccino someone had in the station café.

Afterwards we walked around Port Erin and ended our visit in a hostelry.


We then reboarded the Isle of Man Steam Railway back to Castletown which is the former capital of the Isle of Man. Castletown can trace its roots back to 1090. The town has narrow streets and small fishing cottages.


Castle Rushen was originally built in 1265 for a Norse king.  It was then fortified and added to between the 13th and 16th centuries.  The castle has been used as a fortress, a residence for the Kings and Lords of Mann, the site of a mint and even a prison. The town and castle were the site of a number of sieges and battles, especially during the years when control of the island passed between the Norse, Scots and English.  Robert the Bruce laid siege to and captured the castle three times.

1st of April 2024 - Isle of Man

I flew out to the Isle of Man on Easter Monday to attend a memorial event for a friend.  The event was organised by my friend's branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.

Our flight out was on an ATR 42/72 turboprop aeroplane.  I had booked my seat however the cabin crew rearranged where some passengers, including me, were sitting.  This was to balance the distribution of weight with the aircraft for take-off as, if passengers are seated unevenly throughout the cabin, this can affect the aircraft's balance, potentially causing handling issues for the pilot.

We landed at Ronaldsway airport and headed into Douglas where we were staying at a hotel on the promenade. On our way into Douglas the bus driver told us to must greet the fairies as we crossed the Fairy Bridge.  A superstition associated with the Fairy Bridge is that it is considered bad luck not to greet the fairies as they cross it.

Our stay on the Isle of Man started with a visit to the Albert to sample some Manx beer.