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.

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