Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A week on the Isle of Man (aka Ellan Vannin)

Many years ago we saw a film called “Waking Ned” which supposedly was set in Ireland but actually was filmed at Cregneash in the Isle of Man. It looked very nice and so it went on to our list of places to visit one day. For various reasons, we have decided that this year is the Isle of Man’s “One Day” (although we are going there for a week).

Isle man

What do we know about the Isle of Man? Other than that it is:

  • in the middle of the Irish Sea roughly half way between Cumbria and Northern Ireland;
  • it is a Crown Dependency rather than part of the United Kingdom;
  • famous for the TT Motor Bike Race;
  • the home of the tail-less Manx Cat;
  • kippers and queenies are a local delicacy;
  • there are a number of steam trains and an electric train;
  • a horse drawn tram runs along the Douglas promenade;
  • use of the Birch as a punishment was legal until 1978.

the answer would be “not a lot”.

Things we did not know until we started researching the island include:

  • the Bee Gees were born on the Island;
  • there are over 100 wild Wallabies living there;
  • if you mention the word R-A-T it will bring you bad luck;
  • as you drive over the Fairy Bridge near Santon, waiving to the Fairies (who live under the bridge) will bring you good luck;
  • the Manx Cat has no tail because it was the last animal to enter Noah’s Ark and as it was closing, the Ark’s door cut off its tail.
  • the Island is about 33 miles by 13 miles in size and has no speed limit on most of it’s roads.
  • it has its own currency whose notes (unlike Scotland) are not accepted on the mainland
  • Manx Currency

So our plan for the week is:

  • to fly to the island - handily there are direct flights from our local airport;
  • pick up a hire car at the Airport;
  • stay in three different places over the week (in the South, the Capital, and the North);
  • see as much of the Island as possible including one or more of: the Manx Electric Railway; the Snaefell Mountain Railway; and the Douglas Horse Drawn Tram;
  • and remember we are supposed to be on holiday and having a bit of a rest!

The period we are on the island coincides with the Manx Heritage Transport Festival and the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend so hopefully there will be a lot to see and do.

The plan was that not too early in the morning, we would have found ourselves on our way to the Airport. However as I did a final check of our emails just before we were due to leave the house, there was one from the airline telling us that our flight had been cancelled and we had been booked onto the next flight later that afternoon.

So we got to spend much of our first day on holiday at home although we were able to use this time to make a compensation claim for €250 each for the cancelled flight (which was paid without argument when we returned - so it cost us about €180 for flights and we were given €500 for the delay).

And just after lunch (rather than just after breakfast), we find ourselves on the way to our local airport. However, this time we do not have the less than pleasurable trek to Gatwick or Heathrow and have to allow at least 15 minutes to get from home to check-in!

Plane at Airport

We take off on time, pass over the area within which we live

Flying over SMM

and about fifty minutes later, the Isle of Man appears outside the window.

Approaching IOM

And awaiting us is a Red Sports Car!

The Car

Did I forget to say that we have hired a Red Sports Car (aka Audrey) for the week? We found a car hire company on the web which only hires out Smart Cars and they were most helpful in meeting us at the airport etc. The owner of the car hire company (Milky Quayle) turned out to be a local celebrity who used to be a TT rider until he had an accident and had to stop riding - so we were told. Not being TT followers, this was news to us.

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