I think I know you well enough to share a secret. This is just between you and me. Promise? I’ve found a secluded Hostel here in Maughold on the Isle of Man. The rooms are basic, clean, comfortable, perfect if you’re rambling, climbing, cycling or taking time out to immerse yourself amongst the area’s outstanding scenery. The Hostel is surrounded by lush green fields. There’s an electric tram within two minutes walk. The bus stop is six minutes walk. For those who can’t wait to be beside the sea, that will be a ten minute stroll to Port e Vullen.
OK here we go, but remember not a word, to anyone! I’m at the MAUGHOLD VENTURE CENTRE BUNKHOUSE on the Isle of Man. In 1981 the large farm area was converted offering sleeping and eating accommodation primarily for schools, students and overseas groups wanting to participate in archery, dinghy sailing, gorge walking, kayaking and abseiling etc. Sometimes rooms are available for lonesome travellers like me, this week I’ve been lucky, there’s room at the Inn. The owners Simon and Michael Read have a vocabulary which consists of “Yes that’s OK…Sure we can manage that…No problem…That’s fine”. Negativity seems to have been banished from this part of the world.
The Isle Of Man has a pace all of its own, measured between slow and cruising. It’s transport system is a mix of steam railways, electric trams, horse drawn carriages and buses which hug the scenic coastline. Offering Idyllic scenes and settings even on a rainy day.
I travelled via ferry from Liverpool to Douglas crossing time around two and a half hours.
From Douglas it’s a 45 minute bus ride to Maughold. My plan is to walk the island’s coastal route, some 95 miles in total. Due to a variety of appointments (boo) I’m walking most days, but not every day.
The nearest town to Maughold is Ramsey. From the hostel, access to the town is an easy 15 minute downhill walk. Once you taste the sea air, the beach and jetties demand to be explored. From Ramsey you can ride the electric tram or network of buses to most parts of the island including the capital Douglas.
On my first day I decide to sample a small section of the coastal walk from Maughold Head to Ramsey. A light rain has set in as I walk from the hostel, through the village, up around to the church around a winding path to view Maughold Head Lighthouse. As the rain eases a rainbow crosses over my path towards Ramsey. I pass a standard red telephone box with an unusual offering. This one is crammed with books set on a village corner. A DIY lending library offering a choice of leaving or taking books. I hear “The Postman always rings Twice” is a popular selection!
A little further ahead is the option to continue walking by road, or a path leading onto the beach. I take the beach option and walk into Ramsey.
It’s a day to find my bearings. At any given spot around Maughold it’s worth pausing on your walk to view the backdrop of sweeping hills, craggy coastal contours edging along the Irish Sea. My plan is to walk to coast – look out for my future blog about this adventure.
Not everyone is a coastline walker, so Maughold into Laxey along the woodland path, glens and waterfalls maybe one to put on your list, I certainly enjoyed it. Or if you fancy visiting the capital Douglas to Castletown has a bit of everything. Climbing up to Marine Drive allow a complete view of the island’s harbour and its varied activities. Out to Port Soderick and Port Grenaugh, with their deserted beaches and closed up cafés is testimony that investment is now focused on Douglas. If time and boot leather are holding up, with Castletown in sight, divert over the St. Michael’s Island and Dreswick Point. Bracing coastal winds, Chapel ruins and an opportunity to see the lighthouse cum dwelling where someone called Jeremy Clarkson once lived.
The old railway line between Douglas and Peel (10 miles) is now known as The Heritage Trail. It is flat, offers some historical detail of this disused line and is a pleasant walk from east to west of the island.
IOM has so much to do, so much to see. I could easily and happily stay for another week, or more…Maughold Venture Centre is a real gem. Simon and Michael knowledgeable and helpful hosts.
Find more about Maughold Venture Centre