Laxey Heritage trail and snaefell Mountain

If you come to Isle of Man, Laxey is the exact place you should not miss. Laxey is a small town in the North of the island called Isle of Man where you can learn the lives of miners who worked precariously in the past.

Isle of man is the island in the Irish sea between England and Ireland. It used to be a hard place to live due to unpredictable weather and isolation. A few hundred years ago , a lot of islanders left the island to move to the prosperous countries such as America and Australia. However, discovering minerals such as lead, copper , zinc in Laxy gave a boost of economy and the area became the hub of migrants . Isle of Man exported all these treasure to UK and Wales.

In Laxey, you can go for Laxey heritage trail, I would rather start with the church, where a lot of miners used to go. The lives of miners were very precarious and nobody knew whether they could get hurt at work. Some laborers could be as young as 12 year old. When they got injured or lost their lives, there was no compensation that time and people could be in bed for months out of injuries such as fractures or chronic illnesses related to mining.

Christ Church Laxey where miners and their families used to pray for safety , health and wealth of their beloved people.

The Church shows the faith of the islanders in mining villages. It opens daily from 10 am to 4 pm and there is no entrance fee. But you can give some donation for maintenance of the church. You can also see stories about people inside the church and it will not disappoint you.

outside of the church

Then you can go and see Laxey washing floor where the stones were extracted from the mines and cleansed with water. It is now regarded as community area.

Laxey washing floor. The wheel here is a smaller version of Lady Isabella

From there you can walk across the road to have a cup of tea at ” Ham and Egg Terrace”. The Terrace was the longest line of purpose built industrial housing under a continuous roof of line on the island in 1860 . It was nicknamed as ” Ham and Egg Terrace ” after most houses started selling tea and meals to visitors in their front rooms. The terrace still maintains its charm after 150 years. The Terrace is next to the statue of Miners.

Ham and Egg Terrace
My friend’s parents who were very happy in Laxey

From there , you can walk towards Laxey wheel ” Lady Isabella “. Entrance fee is 8 GBP and it can be free if you have purchased the annual ticket for heritage trails .If you are not afraid of height, you can climb up the stairs to see the panoramic view from the top of the wheel.

Glenn and Mumu on Laxey wheel

Lady Isbella is the largest wheel in the world and it was created to remove water from the mines into the river.

I have also walked inside the mine and I was not comfortable knowing the suffering of miners ( cold , wet and dark inside the mines). we met a very nice gentleman who told us how fragile our society became. ( I am sure he is referring towards us ). In a nutshell, we have a better life obviously compared to 100 years ago, but still we cannot convince ourselves that we are content and happy. I am feeling a bit embarrassed right now.

From Laxey wheel , you can also stroll along the Laxey beach where you can simply relax and watch some people either swimming in the sea or walking around . There is a shop called ” the shed ” at the end of Laxey beach and it is a nice cafe.

Laxey beach

If you are interested to walk around, you can also walk in Laxey village or stroll along a row of shops just beside the road.

A clock on the shop

Some houses are very pretty and located just beside the stream.

houses beside the river

a house at the bank of river, my dream house
a lovely house with a boat inside.

There are some wild flowers on the trail too.

In Laxey, there is woolen mills where you can purchase some expensive wool products such as kilts, jumpers , hats. You can see the woolen mill at the end of the village.

Laxey woolen mills

Just beside the main road, you can also see The flour mill where has been the source of bakery . The mill was constructed by the same engineer who built Lady Isabella. Prior to that, the local people had to bring their corns to Lord’s mills to grind in 17th and 18th century.

Laxey Flour mill

After going to nearby places, there is some prehistoric stones near Laxey called ” King Orry’s Grave”. It is at least 30 minutes walk from Laxey wheel and just beside the Minorca train station. Only MER ( Manx Electric railway ) can arrive this and please do not be confused with Snaefell railway which only goes up the snaefell mountail. Here is the information how to go to King Orry. ( credit to https://www.transceltic.com/isle-of-man/king-orrys-grave )

Getting there

On the East coast of the island in Minorca near the village of Laxey.

  • By car – Minorca is near the village of Laxey where the B11 crosses the A2 which is the road between Ramsey and Douglas.
  • By bus – Routes no. 3, 3A, 3B, and 3C from Ramsey and Douglas. Take the nearest stop to Minorca, then walk along the A2 to the site.
  • By tram – Take the Electric Railway to the Minorca stop. Walk along the B11 to where it crosses the A2.

This site is the largest known Megalithic tomb on the Isle of Man and is said to belong to King Orry, an almost legendary character revered by the Manx as their greatest king and founder of Mann. This mythical figure is based on King Godred Crovan, a Viking warrior who created the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles upon his arrival on the Island in 1079.  But at actual site, it was mentioned that King Orry was never buried there and at the time of excavation, only one skeleton remain was discovered. The tomb was abandoned in neolithic time. According to the painting at the site, it seemed like the tomb was immediately next to the beach and it was assumed that people gathered around the tomb and did a lot of activities such as dancing and eating.

King Orry’s Grave

King Orry was credited for the introduction of the island’s legal system and his arrival on the island is seen as the starting point of Manx history . He was also responsible for founding the Crovan dynasty, his descendants who ruled in Mann and the Isles for almost two centuries.  ( Information credit goes to http://www.visitisleofman.com ). King Orry’s grave was separated into two parts and one of them is behind the private house, however, visitors are allowed to visit freely.

pre historic stone

Last but not least, you can visit Snaefell mountain which is the island’s only mountain, its summit is 2036 feet ( 621 metres ) above sea level. The name Snaefell comes from the Norse meaning ” snow mountain “. To reach the summit of snaefell, you can either take Snaefell railway or climb from bungalow station ( which is situated on the mountain road to Ramsey ).

Snaefell Mountain Tramway is different from Manx Electric Railway . The latter operates between Douglas and Ramsey.

Snaefell railway was opened on 21 August 1895 and carried 900 visitors on the same day. It has been a popular tourist activity even after introduction of competition from motor buses. The journey can either starts at Laxey train station ( 12GBP for return ) or at the bungalow station ( 8GBP for return ).

summit of Snaefell

At Bungalow station, you should get off and observe the statue of Joey Dunlop . He was named as ” King of the Mountain ” as he won TT for 26 times. TT is a motor cycle race in Isle of Man which has been operating since 1907. TT attracts a lot of bike lovers all over the world.

Statue of Joey Dunlop

For the first time, I climbed snaefell by riding on the tram. I went there with my friend Glenn and we had a good time on the train. I felt like we were back at least a century back as the tram is very old and rattling . It was so much fun.

At the top of the mountain, there was a cafe called ” summit cafe ” where you can purchase breakfast, lunch and dinner .

Meals are not sold on the tram. But you can book one of the special dining events held at the Snaefell summit cafe such as sunset dinners ( suitable for couples ), seven sunday lunch and Pie in the Sky, featuring stargazing and supper with the island ‘s Astronomical society.

Glenn having the time of his life.

It is a belief that you can see seven kingdoms from summit of Snaefell such as England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the kingdoms of heaven and the sea.

Snaefell mountain tram

In Celtic times, the domain of “otherworld ” was to be found in the heavens above Snaefell. More recently in late Vitorian times, an observatory was established at the summit of Snaefell to enable astronomers to study the stars from the highest point on the island.

My boyfriend was worried when I decided to climb Snaefell. 2000 feet does not mean the height from the base, it simply the height from the sea level and the mountain is manageable even for someone like me who does not do regular exercise.

Even with this tiny achievement, I have to say that I am happy to have been at the summit of Snaefell by climbing.


Hninn

Advertisements

Maughold well, Isle of Man

I went to the Maughold well in Isle of Man which is regarded as a famous destination for pilgrims in British isles. I have been in Isle of Man for almost 2 years but did not realize there are some religious sites and a holy well in Maughold. Maughold  is situated in Northern part of island where there are beautiful scenic beaches surrounded by mountains. It is 3 miles away from Ramsey ( one of major towns in Isle of Man )

maughold-closer-copy-1024x731

photo credit to the author of https://www.isleofmanfilm.com/location/maughold/

 

I went to Maughold with a couch surfer named Alexy. Alexy has been travelling all over the world and as he was coming to Isle of Man for a few days, I decided to give him a tour around the island.  I was searching website of isle of man called Visitisleofman and found out a short video regarding a holy well.

Please click this link to watch the video.

https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/kirk-maughold-church-p1312271

In 5th century, an Irish prince called Maughold arrived isle of man. He was mentioned as a leader  who recruited a group of men to do unlawful things . He challenged St Patrick to cure a dead person. Later St Patrick made a dead person to become a live and also baptized Maughold and his crew. Later Maughold was accepted by isle of man people to become the bishop of the island for his effort in religious transformation.

Maughold well was formed by carving of streams of water collected from mountains to drain into the  Irish sea. It is a bowl shaped hollow protected by slabs of stones around. It is not man made well although some amendments were done around to protect the original well  . There are legends that some people cure their illness by drinking water from well or applying holy  water on their body . A woman eye sight was restored by drinking Maughold water and another woman grew her hair back by applying the water on her scalp.

To go to Maughold well, you need to arrive St Maughold church which is 30 minutes drive from Douglas ( capital of Isle of Man ) . You need to take coastal road to Ramsey and on the way, turn to right side to drive towards Maugold village.

67743126_10157048430860266_3483496112331948032_n_10157048430855266

Once you arrive Maughold church which is dated back to 11th century, park the car outside.

68255118_10157048430900266_7758750088263892992_n_10157048430895266
the church has some collections of 5th century celtic heritage if you can go inside and see

 

Maughold-Barrule.jpg

Note: this photo is not mine as well and it was obviously taken by a photographer called Peter Killey. ( thanks to Peter in case if you read this post )

The trail to Maughold is on the north eastern part of the church. You just need to follow the trail or foot path. At one point you need to climb down steep .  You don’t need to worry as the trail is covered by a thick grass and even if you fall, you will not get injured badly.

68403412_10157048431070266_2571278619535998976_n_10157048431060266

 

68905991_10157048431025266_3220285389558251520_n_10157048431020266
you go straight ahead and then we turn to the left to go to the well. You need to pass through a small gate.

The pathway is surrounded by beautiful and blue bells and some wildflowers. And the view is not bad at all.

68240463_10157048431305266_4634982655480299520_n_10157048431300266

67613329_10157048430970266_6077934307924508672_n_10157048430965266
It was a hazy , rainy day and I could not capture the good photo.

 

 

The well is just immediately above the sea . You do not need physical fitness to arrive there. One the way back will be a bit tiring to climb back. Overall it is less than 15 minutes walk from the church. Even if not for the holy well, the view is worth it. You  just need to be careful and do not walk very close to the cliff as it is nearly 20 feet from the rocky ground .

68281343_10157048431210266_4538322217460563968_n_10157048431205266.jpg
beginning of steep decent

 

67726147_10157048431460266_3282902009824411648_o_10157048431455266.jpg
The well is immediately just above the sea

 

67401758_10157048431525266_7299391322933166080_n_10157048431520266.jpg
The well or cistern covered by stone slabs

 

Normally I am not very good with navigation. But I am glad that I went there with a traveler who likes exploring. The world is an open book and you need to turn the chapter everyday to find out more. As usual,  I picked up energy whenever I can be with nature. I said a little bit of prayers at Maughold well and I felt like I am healed both physically and spiritually to some extent. I want to encourage anybody out there not to lose faith, especially on yourself.

  • Hninn20190806_160504