Saturday, 1 August 2015

Landscapes, Snaefell, Trams, the Laxey Wheel

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.

View north

View south

There is something particularly magic about having beach to yourself.

Naibyl Point

South from here (on a sunnier day) we went to Naibyl point

Fog Horn and Lighthouse

and to the far north is Ayre Point which is a large shingle beach

Moved Lighthouse

with a Fog Horn and a couple of Lighthouses (one of which was moved further out on the beach as the shingle banks grew)

Message in stones

and it was also a place where people seem to leave messages made from stones.

Electric Trams and Trains and Snaefell

Railway Poster

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

Laxey Booking Office

Snaefell Electric Railway which you catch at Laxey (on the coast).

Snaefell Tram

The island’s  team trains, electric trams and horse drawn

Electric Tram at Ramsey

trams are very famous and a pleasure to ride on.

Laxey Water Wheel

Immediately upon leaving Laxey (waterwheel on the right), the Snaefell Electric Railway

Climb and brake rail

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.

Snaefell Landscape

The scenery is beautiful

Snaefll Cloud coming in

but as you get closer to the top, there is a big risk of cloud

Snaefell Cloud Rolling in

rolling in and covering the summit and many of the kingdoms becoming invisible!

Snaefell Summit Hotel in Clouds

So when we get to the hotel near the top, we find we are in the clouds and of course everything is hidden.

Snaefell Trig Point

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

In the face of a gale

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

Tram 1

were riding "Tram 1” which apparently is the oldest of the trams still in use and dates from 1893 (history here)

Tram Spotter

and a spotter was seen on a number of occasions following us to get another photograph of Tram 1

Tram 33

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

Isle of Man Station

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

Laxey sign

The Laxey Wheel is a superb example of Victorian

Laxey Wheel 1

Laxey Wheel 3

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.

Laxey Wheel 2

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.

Inside mine

You can still walk a little way into the mine and get a feel for what it might have been like for the miners.

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