Travel, UK Exploration, Walk
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Still on the Island

In which one of us climbs every mountain, and we see:

  • really fast motorbikes
  • sea lions
  • a giant ferris wheel
  • a horse pull a train

And we are:

  • castle kings
  • seafood scoffers
  • riders of electric railways
  • viewers of the Great Camera Obscura

*Toot toot* I guess.

On our second (full) day on the Isle of Man, we headed from our Castletown airbnb up to the main city of Douglas, starting our day with a full brekkie at the highly recommended Noa Bakery.

It was good and hipster and delicious, and I would recommend it. To the point where, I honestly can’t tell whether I took these photos on day two or day three of our journey, because we ultimately decided to just go back to Noa the following morning too, instead of fumbling our way through almost-definitely-inferior choices.

We spent the morning basically walking along the beachfront, from one side of Douglas to the other.

Obviously, some posing was required:

(I think that left photo might actually be from Castletown though?)

Plus, perhaps more interesting for you all:

The Isle of Man, the place where the Bee Gees (aka the Gibb brothers), can roam free.

(And also where they were born).

Our aim of the day was to travel up to Snaefell Mountain- the highest peak on the island, taking the scenic route.

We trotted on past the Douglas Horse Tram- an ancient wonder that has been operating since 1876, and headed instead for the Modern Newfangled Wonder known as:

Because Sameer just really likes Lovely Glens.

(Is this a glen?:)

(I think it’s actually a mine).

The Manx Electric Railway is also a bit of a cultural wonder- opened in the 1890s and still using its original ye-oldie-timey rolling stock.

We worked out the ticketing situation and I faffed around taking some photos of the pretty carriage, while Sameer sat quietly inside and occasionally called, beckoned or waved his phone clock at me in case I would somehow miss the departure.

And then, we were OFF!

And it was really really pleasant, pottering along across the world, through ferny forests and then past open seascapes.

I probably should have taken more photos of this part, but I think I was too busy staring at the views.

And also wondering why they would put a sign like this up:

Surely, they are just asking for trouble??

At the town of Laxey, we changed train, hopping aboard the mountain-climbing Snaefell tramway.

We traveled past the Great Laxey Wheel (the world’s largest surviving original working waterwheel).

And then ultimately had to disembark our tram, and then walk over a small footbridge to reconnect with another tram, because the road was closed for the annual Motorbike Race that zooms around the Island.

I’m not super into racing, but our timing was perfect, and we got to see the first, second and third bikes wizz right past us, which was admittedly very impressive!

After a moment of gawking, one of us chose to hop back on the tram, while one of us decided that instead they fancied a little run up the mountain.

The top of the mountain was predictably windy, but with stunning views.

On a clear day, you can apparently see across to all parts of the UK. We squinted, and could make out some land masses in the distance, but I wasn’t super convinced.

But then, when does this Kingdom ever have a fully ‘clear day’?

Post mountain-adventures, our next stop was the town of Peel, where we stopped to have a spot of food

It’s worth noting that a lot of the shops around the town were already closed by the time we arrived- I had hoped to have a bit more of an explore, but it seems like that should be keep for pre-4pm hours.

In any case, we did manage to find a nice pub, with some nice fish.

I was most excited for the Isle of Man specialties- Queenies, which are a kind of small scallop. The smoked fish was also quite delicious!

At some point post-dinner, we realised there was a Castle Lurking Behind Us!

And went to have a bit of an explore.

Of course, being after 4pm, the Castle was also closed.

But that didn’t stop us from playing King:

We also managed to meet up with some of our friends from before:

And spent a lot of time staring at the waves and exploring the green surroundings:

And that was it for the Peel Castle.

On our final morning on the Island, we mostly just pottered, with the notable exception being a visit to the Great Union Camera Obscura, a strange periscope-like creature built in the late 1800s, complete with near-360 degree views around the Camera.

For those interested, we found that the couple running the Camera were pretty up for some chats about life and the Island!

And then, that was it. We hopped on a boat, to hop on a train.

With plans to someday properly visit Liverpool (it looks like a cool city?!), and maybe even to head back to the island once again.

Part I here:

27-27 August, 2023

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