isle of man
the manx challenge
Almost four years since
completing the british mainland challenge,
I set sail across the Irish sea
to Mann, to explore
the ninth largest of the British Isles,
with another islandlimits walk.
Initially traversing the island East to West
along the Heritage Trail, the route
then follows the coast path counter-clockwise,
before a short walk inland to ascend
to the summit of Snaefell.
The walk begins with an East to West traverse of the island along the 10 miles long Heritage Trail, following the route of the Douglas to Peel railway line. It starts at Quarter Bridge along the old track-bed, surrounded by hedges with plenty of wildlife, shadowing the course of the River Dhoo, then Greeba River to the village of St John's. Few remains of the old stations are visible along this route, though picnic areas dot the trail, and short detours can be made for points of interest. From St John's, the path runs alongside the River Neb to Peel.
Turning South, the route now follows the Raad ny Foillan or Way of the Gull, a 95 mile footpath around the Manx coast, created to mark the "Heritage Year" celebrations in 1986. Winding cliff top footpaths offer stunning views in all directions for most of the way to Port Erin and beyond to Calf Sound at the westernmost point of the walk. The terrain changes to grassy footpaths towards Port St Mary, through to the Island's ancient capital Castletown, and on to the southern limit at Dreswick Point.
Heading North along the East coast, the path passes through Douglas and Laxey, with some stretches inland on country roads, until it reaches Ramsey, just beyond the eastern limit. From here, the route can be walked almost entirely along a sand and shingle beach, around the northern tip of the island, to Kirk Michael on the west coast with an abundance of wildlife for company.
Leaving the coast, good paths lead to Sulby Reservoir at the head of Sulby Glen. A short walk to find the inland limit precedes an ascent to the summit of Snaefell, the only peak above 600 metres and a perfect spot to admire the views at the end of this 100 miles challenge.