A day on the rails

Rumor has it that one can walk/hike across the Isle of Man in any number of interesting ways. We have heard these rumors and are certain that they are true. But that didn’t deter us from exploring parts of the island via the vintage Manx Electric Rail system today instead.

We got on our cute little train here in Douglas, and then climbed up to the town of Ramsay. The morning trains were very popular, and we had to wait for a later one than we had planned to take. How do people find these things? I mean, without Don to guide them?

At any rate, Ramsey is a very charming little town and we explored it as well as dined briefly in it. (No further details on that to come.)

Then it was back to the town of Laxey, midpoint in this journey, and the junction where we caught our next train, the Snaefell Mountain Railway. It dates from 1895 and winds its way up 2,000 feet to the top of Snaefell, the Island’s only mountain, 2036 feet above sea level. The name comes from the Norse for Snow Mountain.

If the weather had been spectacularly clear, we would have had quite a vista.  It’s the only place in the British Isles where you can see seven kingdoms – England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Heaven, Man and the Sea – just by turning around. At least that’s what they say, and that’s how they count.

We saw some lovely nearby hills and had a nice cup of tea. Nice views up and down the mountain, including the Laxey Wheel. Built in 1854 to pump water from the nearby lead mine shafts, it is the largest working waterwheel in the world.

It would take another several days to do this island justice, but life is cruel and we must leave early tomorrow morning. (I can verify that life is cruel as I have just had the most depressing political news of this depressing political season, but somehow we will carry on.) Northern Ireland, here we come.

Admire some more photos of Douglas before we leave. The triskelion symbol of the island may be very familiar to those who have been to Sicily, and there indeed is a connection – strange as that may seem – through Edmund, son of English King Henry III who was named the “King of Sicily” by the pope in the late 13th century. Go know.

 

 

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