TRAVELLED APRIL 2018
My head was rocking in the breeze, sunshine filled my watery eyes, throughout my body the adrenalin rush was simply amazing. Our driver Paul hit the throttle and we smashed it down Sulby Straight, an unforgettable exhilarating experience.
We were on a motor trike pounding, well, not quite, around the famous 37 and three quarter miles of the famous Isle of Man TT course. We may have touched over 80mph but each year daredevil riders can clock upto 200mph on that stretch. The stop at the legendary hump-backed Ballaugh Bridge for a TT history lesson, came as a relief, it was time to get our breath back. Each May/June around 40,000 visitors hit the Island for the Tourist Trophy which takes place on the public roads. Our one lap took around 90 mins with a brief stop, the pros do it in around 17.
But there is so much more to the Isle of Man than the races. Its beauty, charming villages and abundance of enthralling and diverse historic sites and attractions make a visit compelling. It is a whistle stop three-night trip and already we realise we probably need more time.
The island's transport network might not move like the trike but it's a perfect blend of the novel and practical to get around. All bases are covered. We are now on the long curving promenade in the capital Douglas, our priceless Go Explore card allows us to jump on the horse drawn tram which gently takes us to the far end where horse power cedes to more modern energy.
The Manx Electric Railway links Douglas with Ramsey in the north. We hop off at Laxey where in the distance we see the iconic universally acclaimed Wheel spinning away. Nestling in the hillside, it is the largest type of its kind in the world, built in Victorian time to pump water from the nearby mines. To appreciate it more, we clamber up 96 steps to the viewing platform. It's an outstanding feat of engineering, magnificently preserved.
We reluctantly drag ourselves away and hustle quickly back to Laxey, and our carriage to see the kingdoms of heaven, sea and others is ready to go. Snaefell is the only mountain on the island, it makes it by around 37ft. The rest are hills. The tram rattles its way up towards the summit giving us spectacular views – but nothing like we were yet to encounter.
Thirty minutes later we have peaked, we are blessed with more glorious sunshine and clear blue skies. We feel we can touch heaven, the sea is calm all around us protecting the island of Mann and staggeringly within a twirl we can see England, Scotland – the closest point - Ireland and as far as Anglesey in Wales. It is a magnificent vista, breathtakingly beautiful. We take pictures but can't do it justice.
We are staying in the country at the Grenaby Estate, our close neighbours are chickens, horses and preening peacocks. It is close to Ronaldsway airport from where you can hop on a plane and be in Liverpool in 25 minutes or London in under an hour. Today we feel a world away from that bustle, we are heading off to Peel and it's a fleeting visit to the 11th century castle, its ramparts standing proudly overlooking the harbour and an expansive golden, sandy beach.
Breathe in, fill your lungs with the scenery... then it's off the nearby House of Mannanan. Hands up if you aren't a fan of museums. Okay put them down. You will adore this one. Modern, interactive, fun and informative – the kids will love it, too. We could have spent hours here but there's one form of transport we haven't tried yet...so away we go.
The Isle of Man keeps on coming, the treats are relentless... and now we take the steam train from Douglas. You can stop off at Castletown to see the House of Keys or Castle Rushen, then reboard and continue along stunning countryside to Port Erin and its glorious beach. We packed in the lot during a frantic visit. Our base apart, we chilled in Douglas's growing dining quarter, stopping to sit outside on the quay, eyeing the many boats then enjoying mainly locally sourced products in eateries.
The island has had its best smiley face on. Friendly is not the word. Our bus driver realises we have got a little lost but no worries, on his change over he offers to run us to the other end of town in his car. Really? Yes.Finally we collect our motor and our last hurrah is the magnificent Calf of Man island, separated from the main isle by Calf Sound. It's our lucky day and the seals from the colony that inhabit the Sound are playing out. It's all so serene, but it's time for a dash to the airport and home...
Now where's Paul and that trike when you need him.
For more information visit: https://www.visitisleofman.com/
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