In August 2006, we enjoyed another visit to the Isle of Man for a week. This was to be the first trip we had taken to the Isle of Man with a disabled person. My father being 82 at the time had limited mobility, but by us hiring a wheelchair when on the Island for a week, this made things much better. Our thanks go to Circa Isle of Man for delivering and collecting the chair to / from Ramsey . Also. we borrowed a wheelchair at the Sea Terminal, Douglas for the hour before our departure. They too were very helpful and courteous.
We traveled out with the car through Heysham Port on the Ben-my-Chree, returning a week later on the Super Seacat2 to Liverpool. When on the Isle, we stayed for the first time at Ramsey for the week at the Grand Island Hotel. The staff there were first class and the food was as good, so we could not really have wanted for more. The hotel had a very nice old world feel to it, but had a very modern small indoor swimming pool which was a pleasure to use. It was interesting while walking through the hotel to see images from its past. It was built at the end of the 19th century under the name Hydro.
We started the day with a trip to Peel where we went to the relatively new swimming pool on the northern side of the City of Peel. It was our first trip there and it was very modern with a nice cafe inside. I was most impressed by it. Next door to the pool was a camp site where there were motor homes and large tents set up. It appeared to be a lovely spot with the pool and cafe right next door.
Our next port of call was at Niarbyl. This is a small cove on the western coast to the south of Peel. A visitor centre has been built there by the Isle of Man Government. A small walk from there is the cove itself which consists of a few old Manx cottages. The are quite photogenic and have been used in several films such as Waking Ned. This is a good spot to get coastal photographs looking down the Western coast of the Island towards Bradda Head and the Calf of Man.
We then headed down to Port Erin via the Round Table. There was a great view across the South East of the Island towards the airport at Ronaldsway. On arriving at Port Erin, we enjoyed an afternoon scone cream tea at the Railway Station cafe.
We started the day with a quiet hour looking around Ramsey. A town that I like and one which I like more every time I visit.
We started the day by making plans for Pony Trekking later in the afternoon at Little London near to Cronky-y-Voddy in the West of the Island. First time my daughter has done this , and we were all very pleased with it.
A short trip to Port Soderick followed, and then we attended the 10th anniversary open day of the Mann Cat Sanctuary at Santon. After traveling back for the pony trekking back at Little London. When my daughter was doing the Pony Trekking, we did a fabulous drive in the hills to the Bungalow on the TT Course, down to Sulby, and back to Little London. A trip I would recommend to anybody. Just time for an Ice Cream at Peel then onto Douglas Head, where we watched the Ben-my-Chree head out for Heysham.
Late in the evening, we called at Laxey to see the celebrations of the opening of the 2nd Wheel at Laxey which is called the Lady Evelyn. This has been restored over a number of years by volunteers at Laxey, and they have done a first class job.
A nice day in Douglas was had on Monday. A long walk along the Promenade to see how the sea front properties are changing, It is defiantly the age of the apartment. When reaching the far end of Douglas Promenade, you could see the large open site created by the demolition of the old Summerland entertainment complex. The day was ended by watching the Manx Grand Prix practicing at May Hill, Ramsey and some rather good fish and chips..
We started the day with a trip to The Pont of Ayre, the most northerly tip of the Island. There is a very nice Manx Cottage on the road to the Point of Ayre in Bride. After that we headed to Jurby Junk on the old Jurby Airfield. This is a great place to find anything that you may need, or even find things that you don't even think you need, or even don't need.
The Isle of Man Rest Home for old Horses at Richmond Hill, south of Douglas is another must see place. All the old horses that have been saved and are living out their natural lives in a place of beauty and care.
Then onto The Sound at the very southern tip of the Island to look at the Calf of Man. Very nice built visitor centre there, although I did like the old cabin / hut that lived there for years and served great snacks in a haven of warmth on a cold windy day. The Sound is a good spot to look at the seals.
We ended the day by going to Nobles Park, Douglas to watch the start of that evenings Manx Grand Prix practicing at the Grandstand.
The morning was spent at Onchan Pleasure Park where a good time was had by all. Events included Crazy Golf, boat rides and the bumper boats. The is a nice cafe in the Park and it is a really nice place for children, althought it was a bit quiet when we were there.
We spent the afternoon at the MSPCA animal centre at Foxdale. They hold dogs , cats and small animals there in an attempt to rehouse them. You can help the MSPCA by taking a dog for a walk in their grass fields. On a sunny afternoon, it was a great way to spend the afternoon.
We later called at a Garden Nursery at St Johns which is always worth a visit.
Then onto Peel for a walk at the front and a look at the new footbridge over the harbour. This means that you can reach Peel Castle in minutes, instead of having to walk all around the harbour. The bridge also holds the water in the harbour. In there, we saw some fish swimming which somebody said were Mullet. Fenella Beach which is on the South Side of Peel Castle is always worth a look, to soak in the waves and the peace.
Onto one of the highlights of the week, a meal at the Marine Hotel, or to be correct the Faragher's. We always get a good meal there, and we were not to be disappointed this time with the lamb. Just time to see some of the Manx Grand Prix practicing at Kirk Michael, before heading home to Ramsey.
We said our goodbyes to the staff at the Grand Hotel who had now become our friends and we headed for the capital via the mountain road for the final time. Just time to stop at the Motorcycle Museum at The Bungalow to get a last souvenir from the shop there. Sadly, the Museum was due to close down just 2 weeks later. As our boat didn't go back to England until mid afternoon, there was time for a second quick trip to Port Soderick to soak in the beauty of its bay once again. The sun was shining, and this was not making it easy to leave Mona once more. Soon enough, we had the car checked in at the Ferry terminal, and our week was nearly complete. Just time to play about with the boat booking terminals there, seeing how much it would cost for the next trip over.
I always knew that the island was beautiful and varied in its type of scenery, but this trip has convinced me even more that it is a very special place and so good for the soul to linger there for a week or so to let the troubles and strife of the real world drift away from you. The problem then is to come home, but at least you know that you have had your batteries recharged for whatever the real world has to throw at you.
The one good thing about leaving the Island, is that it lets you dream and plan your next trip. It wont be long .......