A warm, sunny day…. some forecasters were now talking about the end of the July “heat wave” in the north and north west of the UK. We will see. The standard “rest day breakfast” taken in the main shopping street of the capital, Douglas. Not brilliant… no comparison to the one in Liverpool or Conwy…. but satisfactory …. they had run out of English Mustard!! Not a good start.
Much of the day was spent on a steam train trip to the south of the island. Our research indicated this was probably the best way of seeing something of the Isle of Man before departure the next day. There are two trains…. an electric one runs to the north and a steam train to the south. We opted to go south… as there were a number of little harbours which we had looked at as possible Isle of Man destinations….. before choosing Douglas.
Here is Poli Poli moored up in Douglas, the Isle of Man marina. No where in this marina is the berth depth more than 2 metres, in fact on our pontoon for most of the time it was 1.0 metres. So we had the keel fully raised and spent much of the time sitting on the mud. A small flock… about five swans and lots of ducks were regular visitors…. although much more friendly than the lonely Welsh swan in Conwy…. who attacked our fenders if he/she was not offered food!
So on our rest day… Friday… we caught the steam train from the very close by station in Douglas at 11.50am. …. the railway was founded in 1873, and the route follows the east and south east coast of the island to Ballasalla, Castletown, Port St. Mary and finishes at Port Erin. The electric railway runs north all the way to Ramsey.
Our journey south was 15 and a half miles from Douglas to Port Erin… and the railway is claimed to be the oldest narrow gauge railway in continuous operation in the British Isles. The railway still uses the original locomotives and rolling stock.
So we travelled in bright red and cream coloured carriages pulled by a shiny green steam engine which had “C.H. Wood” on its side nameplate…. the little engine did a lot of huffing, puffing, wheezing and much whistle blowing!
Unfortunately much of the route and landscape beyond the train was often obscured by trees as the track seemed to run in cuttings…. we only glimpsed the coast on about four short occasions. There seemed to be a lot of new houses in this part of the island and we did see evidence of the TT Isle of Man motor bike race around the island circuit. We did see the Port Saint Mary harbour from a distance but very little of the countryside. So difficult to come to a conclusion about the Isle of Man.
We got off for about an hour in Port Erin where we did admire the view of the beautiful little harbour on the south coast…. a huge bay with a lovely, crescent shaped beach. Most of the shops around the station catered for the tourists… there was that sort of feel for the place.
We returned to Douglas… this time pulled by a shiny red engine.. labelled NO. 13. Kissack…. but at one of the stations on the way back there was some sort of 20 minute delay as we waited for the green engine to come through. We got back to Douglas by about 3.30pm.
It was now very warm and muggy. Time for jobs to be done on the boat…. bit of blogging, write a passage plan for the morrow, and tidy up! You know what they say… “a safe ship is a tidy ship”…. so, so true! Being Friday the 13th… nothing untoward happened either!