Travel Jottings

My wanderings are urban as well as rural, and several have taken me overseas around Europe and to North America. All have needed at least some planning: knowing what to see and where to stay remain ever present needs. That and remaining ever open to new possibilities have contributed to what you find here. Everything builds up over time, and I hope that the horizons continue expanding to mean that I can continue to share new things with you here.

Organising a Manx Excursion

Corrins Tower, Peel, Isle of Man

The Isle of Man became the first place outside of Britain and Ireland where I went for an independent leisure trip. It helped that it was close at hand, relatively compact and well served by public transport. The first outing was a mere day trip, and others have followed since then. Some of these have had me walking sections of the island's 95-mile coastal path, and I have ventured inland too. Such an incursion took in Snaefell, the island's high point. To accomplish this, I needed to find out what was there and plan trips to the place. So that you can do likewise, I have collected some places on the web that will help. The island itself may not grow larger, but it might be that this compilation will. After all, it remains somewhere to which I can return.

The first of these is an official web destination for potential visitors to the island, while the third is an independent portal, not that getting a different perspective is at all a bad thing. Even with somewhere as generally accessible as the Isle of Man, it helps to get everything organised before you go there.

Manx National Heritage

On my most recent visit to the Isle of Man, I was awaiting my ferry home when I was asked to participate in a survey organised by Manx National Heritage, and it brought home to me that my focus on coastal walking had taken up my time instead of going to heritage sites. That said, it's hard to miss the Story of Mann boards that have been found in parts of the island, and that is a keystone to what this government organisation is doing to convey the history of the island. Naturally, there's more to its work than that, so here's where you can look on the web.

Isle of Man TT

Motorcycle racing was never a fascination of mine, yet I cannot leave off one of the island's most enduring and world-famous events. If you are into such things, then you probably know about the race already, but it makes things busy in early June, so picking another time might be an idea if a quiet visit is what you have in mind.

Isle of Man Airport

You'll find this near Ronaldsway in the southeast of the island, so there's some road travel needed to reach Douglas, the Manx capital. Saying that there's a regular bus service so it isn't too awkward. At the very least, the website will give you an idea as to who flies to the airport and from where. With a list including operators such as Loganair and easyJet, there hardly is a lack of flights and destinations including Ireland, the Channel Islands along with various British cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow too. With the possibility of rough seas, it's always good to have air travel as an option.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

That initial day trip was made by sea, so I have had some experience by one of their catamarans, though they have regular ferries too, the type that can travel in a greater variety of weather. Sailings are more regular in the high season, with sailings between Douglas and such places as Dublin and Belfast to complement the more usual services to and from Heysham and Liverpool, the former of which is the main sailing point from mainland Britain.

Not only does the Isle of Man have a bus operation that might make some in the U.K. envious, but it has no fewer than three main railways along with a number of other smaller operations too. One is the island's answer to Wales' Snowdon Railway, the Snaefell Mountain Railway, and it too goes up to the highest point of its nation. After that, there's the Manx Electric Railway linking Douglas with Ramsey in the north, while the Isle of Man Steam Railway connects the Manx capital with Port Erin and Castletown in the south. I believe that there used to be a railway line to Peel but that fell victim to the passage of time, and we have to content ourselves with a bus service in its place. With all of these, there should be plenty of options for getting about the place.

Isle of Man Weather

Though the seas were quiet when I went, the island was shrouded in a wet murk. It was as if someone on high decided to hide its delights under a bushel, and that made the sun that I found in Liverpool on the way home all the more memorable. Maybe, I should go for a stay, and it will grant me the wish of seeing the Manx scenery at its best. Of course, that means smooth sea crossings too, and it isn't for nothing that you find sea forecasts here along with their landed equivalents.