Wednesday. The days are starting to run out. I think that phrasing it that way is a sign of an enjoyable time? I’m equally sure all three of us will think of Wednesday as one of the best days of the trip. I understand the walking certainly was, and for me the sight seeing was good too. So much so on both points that they beat me to the pick up point today.
Details, details, details….
It was sausages for breakfast this morning. Cooked by my own fair hands. Even that was a challenge as I’d omitted to get any buns for this morning, so it was sliced bread. Except that Bernie threw a spanner in the works by requesting toasted muffin with his. Sausage muffin sandwich. I ask you.
The 14 miles back to Derbyhaven took 25 minutes and we arrived at 09:25 for an 09:30 off. After giving the walkers a little while to get going, I motored after them and passed them on the front at Derbyhaven (I believe the event was recorded photographically).
I skirted around the bay pausing to admire the skill & stamina of someone kite surfing around the waters. The wind has, as the forecast said it would, “freshened”. I’d heard it howling a bit during the night. This bloke was certainly making the best of it.
Onto the Langness peninsula and to the north end first. A ruined 12th century chapel and a civil war fort were the main features here — along with a rugged coast. I honesty think I have enough photos of waves crashing on rocky outcrops now. I now also have several photos of antique cannon as the fort contained several pointing out sea to repel nasty people. My only company during this exploration, apart from the birdlife, was a couple of dog walkers. The approach road had been moderately busy as it serves a golf club as well.
Next to the south end. This was going to involve not only getting out of the car (not that I’m averse to that) but walking quite a way out of sight of it too. Not something I do so much. In fact I found myself on the Round-the-Coast footpath. I felt quite important. To no great surprise, after a short while I spotted two lanky figures on the horizon. The fact one of the figures was fifty metres or so in front of the other confirmed my suspicions as to who they were. Again the event was recorded photographically.
We exchanged compliments of the morning and continued in our opposite directions.
The attraction of Langness Point for me is that it has the distinction of being the southernmost point of the mainland of the Isle of Man. The true southernmost bit is on the Calf of Man — an island lying to the south-west, and while I haven’t researched it, I’m pretty sure there’s no viable way for me to set foot there.
I got to the southest-most point I practically could without being smashed to pieces on the rocks by the waves. Like at Point of Ayre, a charming lighthouse and associated huge fog horn mark the point.
Without suggesting anything as crass as the “worst of all worlds” (it was still pretty damn special), I couldn’t help think this place would be at its best either with blue skies & sunshine at low tide or dark dramatic stormy skies at high tide with the waves being forced right up into the many nooks & crannies of the low cliffs. As it was the the tide was out but the backdrop was greyness.
Further inland on the Point there’s a lookout tower. Unlike the historical features on the north end there are no interpretation boards for it, so I have no clue as to its history or age. It is quite high, I’d guess 10m or so. To my astonishment, not only was the entrance to it not gated & padlocked, but there’s an internal staircase spiralling around its inner circumference. I call it a staircase but it was very narrow, very rough and fairly wet (the tower is open at the top). To state the obvious, there’s no handrail either. To state the (I hope) equally obvious, I wasn’t stupid enough venture up.
I returned to the car and was very grateful to get out of the wind. As I was preparing to leave, the sun finally won the battle it had been having with the cloud and there was the makings of the sunny day the forecast promised. I decided not to repeat the circular walk to get sunlit photos as the wind was no less persistent.
It’s now 11:40. Time to aim in the direction of Port Erin…
I took fuel at Castletown — 34.86 litres at 116.9p equating to £40.76.
On my way west I stopped off for a brief stroll round Bay ny Carrickey. There are visible strata of what appears to be quartz in the rocks there. Presumably the quantities are commercially negligible or it isn’t anything useful or valuable. There’s certainly no evidence of extraction as it is yet another beautiful spot on the island.
Continuing around the bay I entered Port St. Mary and parked up near the Kallow Point overlook. The sun was properly out by then and the incoming tide showed no sign of calming in the stiff wind. It was enough to convince me that, no, I clearly haven’t got enough photos of waves crashing onto rocks.
I walked down into the village centre, along the quite literally named High Street. Though there’s little in the way of commercial or retail activity, it is clearly an important sailing & boating place. I did find a Co-op, which once again provided the sandwich meal deal for lunch. That was consumed on the Promenade overlooking the harbour from quite high up (hence the street name). To retrace my steps there’s a boardwalk (though it’s made of concrete!) which provides a charming walk just above the rocks of the foreshore.
As I wandered slowly along there I spotted two familiar figures rounding the distant headland and making their way toward Port St Mary. I walked back a bit to meet them in case they took it upon themselves to divert into the village centre in search of coffee. Turns out Chappers’ caffeine needs had been sated somewhat by an obliging restaurant in Castletown sorting him out with a takeaway Americano at a knocked down price. Which I’m told he proceeded to spill a substantial amount of. Fate giveth, and Fate taketh away 🙂
I walked back round to Kallow Point with them where they stopped for their sandwiches. Dave took the opportunity to visit the nearby (and somewhat unexpected) cafe for another coffee but was a lot less impressed with this one. Around 14:30 they set off up what looked to me like a huge hill, with seven miles to go before I pick them up in Port Erin.
My next target was the road to Mull Hill which the map suggests will give a commanding view in all directions. That plan was thwarted as the road was closed. I found myself in the Port Erin one way system (yes, it has one, and it seems quite convoluted). Almost by default I ended up at Bradda Glenn.
I was conned. Well, somewhat led astray. I saw a signpost — a proper official one — which said “Coronation Footpath: Easy route to Bradda Head”. On the map, Bradda Head has those enticing blue lines which denote a viewpoint, something I can never resist. I was sold. Trouble was I didn’t check precisely which way the finger post was pointing. I went about three degrees to the left. The footpath I ended up on may not have been the Coronation Footpath, but was very enjoyable with some cracking views over Port Erin and the Calf of Man in the distance. Then Milner’s Tower came into view, a long way up the hill from where I was. The path split; going up the very steep hill to the tower and Bradda Head (no easy route, then), or staying at roughly the same level to a lesser viewpoint overlooking another ancient ruined chapel. Again, I know you’re ahead of me here… The chapel was very picturesque, perched improbably on a ledge part way up a sheer cliff. Access to it must have always required ropes and thus a pretty dedicated congregation?
I had a slightly alternate route back rather than retracing my steps the whole way. This took an even lower track requiring a bit of a climb at the end to get back to the car. Another interlude well spent but entirely accidental.
The camera battery has had it again. All that follows is courtesy of the iPhone.
It is 16:00 and I am in The Sound Cafe – overlooking the Calf Sound at the end of the A31, as I type. Apparently this locale is simply called ‘Sound’. The cafe is all that is here. In my ignorance I had wondered if there was going to be a ferry over to the Calf from here, but now I see the topography that’s nonsense. Not that I was planning on going over there even if there was. The objective here is completing the four compass points. This is the most westerly — with the same “mainland” qualifier as earlier as the Calf of Man lies much further to the west.
I’m acutely aware this is a phrase I’m wearing out and you’re likely bored of reading it, but yet again… what a stunningly beautiful spot. The sound itself is about a quarter of a mile wide and there’s a substantial rocky outcrop in between which is probably an island in its own right (it is — “Kitterland”). There’s the remains of a lighthouse in the middle and the tides are doing all sorts of weird things out there. It takes no imagination at all to picture the wrecks this short stretch of water must have claimed over the years.
Highlight of this stop – possibly the whole holiday – has been watching about half a dozen seals swimming around just below me. Curses that my big camera with its decent zoom is out of use. There were a couple of others sitting on the cliff edge watching them and I’m pretty sure the seals knew and were watching us back! [A video of these seals can be viewed on YouTube]
As I sit in the cafe I’ve just seen Chappers climbing the stile to set off on the final leg of the day. I didn’t see Bernie. Surprised either of them could resist the coffee.
On balance, I think this place may be vying for a spot on my top ten Favourite Places on Earth (non-beer related sub-list) List. Without doubt in the top 25.
For the first (and probably only time excepting the ferry) GB registered cars almost outnumber locals in the car park.
It was good coffee, too.
I lingered there probably a bit longer than ought to have done. It was compelling – seal watching especially. I had the shopping to do. Eventually I found ShopRite in Port Erin and trundled a trolly round. I was in the dairy aisle when I got a call from Bernie gently enquiring where I was as they were waiting for me. In my defence, it was still ten minutes before their declared ETA, so I cling to the moral high ground for my alleged failure. The trip back was just under 17 miles which took the projected 35 minutes, getting us back just before six.
Showers taken by those who needed them and the pub now calls.
We walked over the recreation ground and along the Prom. The views after sunset were very similar to Saturday evening but because we were a little earlier, perhaps even more vivd if anything. Though they were the exact same views as Saturday, I couldn’t help snap them again.
At the Marine Hotel we had the now familiar combination of the usual beers for the first round. Those two had Fish & Chips (not unlike Whale & Chips when it arrived) and I had the chicken, cheese & bacon that I’d salivated over the other night. Mine was very tasty but I have to confess to a little bit of portion envy compared with the fish.
We moved on to the snug of the Whitehouse Hotel. Bernie (and I, if I’m honest) was a little disappointed that the stout which had been on the bar on Monday had gone, to be replaced by Moorhouse Pride of Pendle, which he went for instead. I had an Okell’s Ruby Mild and Dave had his trusty Okell’s Bitter. For the second round, Bernie made Dave try the Bushey’s Bitter and, just to say I had, I went with the Okell’s Bitter.
We had a report from Willington that a house on the south side of the village has been invaded by a giant mutant killer spider. We were all very concerned.
Back to the house — the walk up the hill not bringing me as close to cardiac crisis as it had on Saturday… which is good.