Isle of Man
Geographically one of the British Isles, though not part of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man offers a great variety of walking opportunities for those making the effort to get over to the island. In particular the island offers some great coastal scenery, particularly in the south, and some fine hills to explore.
The highest point of the island is Snaefell, which at 621m (2036ft) is also the only hill to pass the 2000ft contour. There are a total of 5 Marilyns on the island, Snaefell being the highest, Mull Hill at only 169m (554ft) being the lowest. There are also 5 hills which are classed as Deweys (hills over 500m with a drop of 35m on all sides). North Barrule, the highest of these features a particularly fine view of the north of the island.
Being a relative small island nearly all of the hills provide coastal views of some sort or other. There are also some fine walks along the coast itself, particularly in the region around the southern tip of the island near Port Erin and Port St Mary where there are some dramatic cliffscapes. In particular the coastal path from Port Erin to Peel looks like a cracker of a walk and would definitely be high on my agenda were to go back to the island again.
I spent a week on the Isle of Man in October 2008. The ferry crossing from Heysham was done in appalling weather – staff were handing out sick bags before we left port and by the time we reached Douglas I must have been one of the few not to have emptied the contents of their stomach. Not that I have sea legs, in fact I spent most of the four hour voyage laid semi-conscious on the floor holding on to my two year old daughter who must have been wondering what kind of hell her Daddy had brought her too. Thankfully, however, the pleasures of the island soon made the ordeal worthwhile, though if the weather had have been similar on the way back I may have refused to get on the ferry.
Knowing this may have been my only chance to visit the island I had concocted a rather ambitious plan to bag all the Deweys and Marilyns on the island. Towards the end of the week, and with time running out I had to resort to some pretty shameless peak bagging tactics by driving to various points on the Mountain Road before getting out the car and making a beeline for my intended target before returning back to the car and heading on to the next one. Although I did ultimately achieve my goal I saw enough of the island to want to return again one day. For anyone who loves walking in the British Isles then I would strongly recommend going, you won’t be disappointed.