Where we are staying in the north of the island is close to a beach and the sea and in the evening, not matter what the weather, we went for a walk on the beach - a beach which we always had to ourselves.
There is something particularly magic about having beach to yourself.
South from here (on a sunnier day) we went to Naibyl point
and to the far north is Ayre Point which is a large shingle beach
with a Fog Horn and a couple of Lighthouses (one of which was moved further out on the beach as the shingle banks grew)
and it was also a place where people seem to leave messages made from stones.
Electric Trams and Trains and Snaefell
One of the most famous views is that from the top of the only mountain on the island, Snaefell, where on a clear day you are said to be able to see seven kingdoms - the Kingdoms of Mann, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, the Sea and Heaven. So of course we went up the mountain on the
Snaefell Electric Railway which you catch at Laxey (on the coast).
The island’s team trains, electric trams and horse drawn
trams are very famous and a pleasure to ride on.
Immediately upon leaving Laxey (waterwheel on the right), the Snaefell Electric Railway
starts the climb to the top.The middle brake rail is clearly seen in this photograph - on the way down a set of calliper brakes grasp the brake rail to ensure the tram does not run out of control.
The scenery is beautiful
but as you get closer to the top, there is a big risk of cloud
rolling in and covering the summit and many of the kingdoms becoming invisible!
So when we get to the hotel near the top, we find we are in the clouds and of course everything is hidden.
But in the face of a howling gale, we press onwards up the path to the trig point at the very top for a photograph
which is very very strong!
There are numerous websites describing the trams and trains and a starting point is here.
It is common for Tram spotters to follow the trams in their cars in order to take pictures of a particular tram at as many vantage points as they can. One day we found out that we
were riding "Tram 1” which apparently is the oldest of the trams still in use and dates from 1893 (history here)
and a spotter was seen on a number of occasions following us to get another photograph of Tram 1
and its carriage Tram 33.
As befits the island which was said to be where Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends lived, the stations are quaint
and they are not there just for tourists, they are used by residents as well although they do not pay the same high prices charged to tourists.
The Laxey Wheel
The Laxey Wheel is a superb example of Victorian
engineering and is the largest victorian waterwheel (72ft 6 inches diameter) still in working order. Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the wheel up the spiral staircase on the right of this picture.
It was built to pump water out from an ore mine and as the wheel turns, it moves this long connecting rod which is connected to a pump some distance away in the hillside.
You can still walk a little way into the mine and get a feel for what it might have been like for the miners.