Category Archives: Isle of Man

Castle Town ( Isle of Man )

Castletown  is a town in the  South of Isle of Man, , it was the Manx capital until 1869.

Castletown is the nearest town to the airport and you can go there either by train or by bus. If you use steam railway from Douglas, you can get off at Castle town train station. The town is around 20 to 30 minutes drive from Douglas town center. The live-action film version of Thomas The Tank Engine was partially filmed at the Castle town train station .

Steam train

Castletown train station

 I have heard that Vikings pub at the castle town station has a very good food, but I have to try it one day.

Town centre

From castle town train station, town center is only 5 minutes away. The town is compact and all shops can be seen in less than 1 hour.

One thing we regularly do is visiting old fashioned sweet shop called memory lane sweet shop where you can buy all the sweets in the world. It is indeed a dangerous place for diabetics. Just now, my friend from London rushed to the sweet shop to get a handful of sweets and greatly disappointed as the shop was close today.

Memory lane sweet shop

please visit their webpage

https://memory-lane-sweet-shop.business.site/

There are some Chinese food shop and also a famous noodle bar called ” Time out IOM ” where you can try various noodles.

Town center

on the bridge near Castle Town harbour

Castle Rushen

Castle Rushen at the front

Castle Rushen exist at the heart of Castle Town and the name of the town was given because of Castle Rushen. You need to pay 8 GBP for entrance fee. It is a place you should go especially when the weather is not suitable for outdoor activities.

Castke rushen at the back

According to history, Isle of Man had become separated from Great Britain and Ireland by 6500 BC. The first people who ruled castle rushen are vikings from Norway in 1200 and the castle was built in 1265 for a Norse King. Later, Isle of Man became a possession of the Scottish and then the English crowns. In 1603, during the union of the crowns of England and Scotland through James VI and I, Isle of Man became crown dependency with democratic government.

government of Castle Town

Lords of Castle Rushen

The castle has been used as a fortress, a residence for the Kings and Lords of Mann, the site for production of coins and even a prison (past prisoners include a bishop and two newspaper editors).

Interesting thing is from 1849 to 1864, Castle Rushen was used as a lunatic asylum. Because of growing popularity, a lot of tourists came to visit Isle of Man and most of the time, the guards had to pay attention to tourists by showing them around rather than looking after the patients aka prisoners. It was written that it was impossible to make the tourists stop throwing tobaccos at the prisoners. The facility was so poor with iron bed, improper food supply and a lot of tragedy happened, for example, some prisoners who were kept in the basement died by drowning due to floods etc.

Below pictures showed how prisoners that time was tortured in various ways.

the gruesome demonstration of the ways, prisoners were tortured , by cutting head, walking on the genitals, cutting with spade etc.

During 17th century, some royal families from England visited Isle of Man and the lord of man named James Stanley welcomed the royal family generously. However, later the King from England sent notice to Lord Stanley to surrender the island to England.

Instead of surrendering, Sir James Stanley went out of Isle of Man to defend his kingdom . During his absence , his wife, countless Charlotte tried to protect Isle of Man from invaders courageously. However, her life became at stake because of traitors who did not have faith in the Lord as they were afraid of being sold off by the lord to England. Upon the knowledge of betrayal of her people to Stanley family and execution of her husband , Countless handed the castle to the public.

I am wearing some costumes provided , taken photo with the portrait of Sir James Stanley family

If you do not have any mobility issue, one should climb stairs to look panorama view of Castle Town from the roof top of Castle Rushen. There are also display of statues in various locations and it is interesting to look at how rich people live at that era.

how the powerful and rich people had meals



kitchen
roof top of Castle Rushen
panorama view of Castle Town
Panorama view from The roof top of Castle Rushen

Scarlet visitor centre

It is located around 15 minutes walk from castle town centre and really worthwhile to visit to see the volcanic rocks formed 250 million years ago.

Flooded quarry

The shed , scarlet visitor centre opens only from May to September from 2 to 5 pm. I have never been inside and keen to go back there at the right time. It is a place where you can learn wildlife of Isle of Man .

Stop `1 is flooded quarry where limestone were dig out to make building, railways and fertilizer.

flooded quarry

Stop 2 is Limeklins where limestones were burnt from bottom to reach temperature up to 600 centigrade for months to get lime powder which was mixed with water to be used as fertilizer.

old limeklins picture
the map of scarlet centre

There is also limestone pavement, a pavement composed of millions of marine creatures.

Limestone pavement

The Storm beach is composed of rugged basalt ( rock ) which was formed from volcanic larva 250 million years ago.

baslat

On the rocks of scarlet beach, you can see lichen ( organisms composed of fungus and algae ). These lichen are tolerate to acidity of the area. It is also a great place to watch wild life such as various birds.

a bird is busy

St Michael’s Isle or Fort Island

It is one of the best scenic viewpoints in the Isle of Man.  It lies to the east of Derbyhaven Bay and is approached by the same road which leads to the Golf Links Hotel on Langness.

  Technically, it is no longer an island as it is joined to the mainland by an extremely narrow causeway, just wide enough for single file traffic.  In size, it measures a bare quarter of a mile in length.

Thet and Wayne at St Michael island

Access to Fort Island is by way of Castletown, following the coastal road around Castletown Bay and along the crescent of Derbyhaven Bay.  ( credit to https://www.isleofman.com/places-to-visit/coast/islands/fort-island/ )

Apart from wild life and beautiful scenery, there are two ancient buildings to see. One is roofless old chapel which was named after St Michael dating around 12th century.

St Michael chapel

Second building is the fort constructed by James, 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Mann.  This dates from 1645 and was built during the civil war in England to defend Derbyhaven, which was then a major port, from the forces of the parliamentarians.

Fort built by Lord of Mann

the building was locked, but you can peek inside

Basalt rock formed from volcanic activities


Lichen growing on the rock
a heron at the beach
St Michael isle

These are the places I like and I have been in Castle Town, I plan to update this blog every time I find a new place and hope you enjoy reading my blog.

Hninn

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

Discovering new beach near Niarbyl

It has been almost a year I published in my blog. I have not been busy but simply just been lazy. I am also too content and happy with my life right now.

I travelled a few countries when I was away from blogging. I hope I can write all about them later. Right now, I live in an island called Isle of Man..Its a tiny island between uk and Ireland in Irish sea. Mountains and beaches are everywhere. I have been almost every beaches which are well known. But I always prefer going to the places which are off the beaten track.

Yesterday I went to Northern part of island and a friend told me her favorite beach is a pebble beach near Nirabyl. So I requested her to show me the place. We drove to Nirabyl and parked the car near Nirabyl cafe. I asked my boy friend to drive down to the beach instead of parking the car at the restaurant. He said ” no. it will spoil the road”..My boyfriend Steve will never declare himself as conservationist , but he loves nature and tries to keep things the way as they are.

We needed to walk up and down on the hills to arrive the hidden beach..It was windy and a bit cool but tolerable. I always love to see wild flowers on the track.

Some lanes are very narrow and you have to be a bit careful . When we reached the beach, I laid down the picnic mat and thought of sitting down. But we did not have the chance to sit down as the clouds came up on the sky and my boy friend warned us to go back ahead of rain.

There was a small waterfall and a tiny house in the middle of nowhere. It was picture perfect. I wonder whether I could live like that one day , in a tiny house near a beach, but a bit closer to civilizatioon. I would be scared if I had power cut off in that kind of situation if the storm comes.

  1. I love discovering new places and believe life has so much to offer us.  Here are our photos

love

Hnin

Isle of Man part IV ( Cregneash village )

Cregneash
Cregneash village

The Cregneash village lies near Port Erin which is south part of island called Isle of Man .

32533141_10156029825870266_2452066618209992704_n.jpg

32294111_10156029838650266_6913522218290905088_n.jpg

The entire village was left as the way it was since 200 years ago just to attract tourists and to preserve the life style of villagers in peaceful nature. Cregneash has become an open-air folk museum. The surrounding fields are now once more in cultivation and visitors can again see the landscape of old time again. Cregneash is also a living village where people live and work.

CG6
very pretty white houses of Cregneash with thatch roof

32384038_10156029823715266_1779377999813017600_n.jpg
Cregneash area surrounded by grazing fields and hills

Visitors can see traditional rural skills and crafts being practiced. They can learn new things and remember some old skills such as milking cows, reaping and ploughing using ox wheel carts  etc.

32286681_10156029824190266_7574591240755216384_n.jpg

CG12.jpg
the shed storing some equipment used by villagers

The Cregneish folk were just like a great fisher-family entirely left to themselves and a little disturbed by the outside waves of modern life with its rush and hectic pace. They were frugal, hardy and sea-toiling men, whose lives were divided between mackerel fishing and the harvesting of their little oat and potato crofts. ( Charles Reader-1901)

32313998_10156029824260266_1962743253329510400_n

32423081_10156029823905266_852225174857056256_n

When you walk inside the small village, you can instantly fee the ease and peaceful surroundings. You can browse inside the displayed houses and sheds which store tools for agricultural and construction. You can see the small cozy bedrooms with weaved fabric on the bed and little cots for babies etc.

32457326_10156029825200266_3961228283898494976_n.jpg
the bed room of typical Cregneash family

CG7.jpg
the living room with fire inside

When we met the guard of cregneash village, he explained that the floor of the cottages are made of clay mixed with oxen blood. Sometimes, when you wander barefoot, the soul can become pink color because of oxen blood.

32392167_10156029825250266_1506657454941798400_n.jpg
like other parts of Europe, collection of Chinaware show wealth of family

32313356_10156029825100266_3028622834751504384_n.jpg
Living room of another Manx house

Some houses displays the social status of the owner. For example, there is a double storey  house which is much wider and have some luxurious furniture.  Most houses are very low ceiling to keep warmth and it is also not surprising that many members used to live in a tiny cottage.

C5

Continue reading Isle of Man part IV ( Cregneash village )