Anyone who regularly reads our Facebook and Blog will by now know that Irene & I (Michael) are experts at not seeing dolphins and whales!

However, it all appears to have gone a bit wrong this year and we seem to have stumbled on a new way of finding them: By complete coincidence! After years of going specifically to see them and failing miserably and missing them by arriving the day before, the day after, minutes after and before, sailing out in boats, on kayaks the answer was there all along! Don’t try!

19th June, we weren’t looking for them in Ramsey. In fact, we were following the Parish Walk and following a toilet emergency, we found ourselves on South Shore, and there, right by the pier, only about 150m out were Moonlight & Starlight*!

Dolphin Video 1

Last Saturday, 25th September, we didn’t mention dolphins once as we headed out to Peel for what has been a rare excursion out of Douglas the last few weeks. We left the car in the Fenella Beach park and before we’d even reached the road, there once again were Moonlight & Starlight, right in the centre of the Bay, between the two yellow markers.

One of them did a fantastic breach, fully out of the water but of course, as we tried to get ourselves nearer by moving towards the breakwater, they seemed to be heading North and away from us but at least we’d seen them!

        Dolphin Video 2

Therefore, we walked back along the top of the Breakwater, to perhaps grab a cup of tea. We could see the seals playing in the waves in the distance as high tide approached but frustratingly, the gate, part way along was locked, so we had to turn around. And there, probably about 100m away were our two cetecean chums apparently, just hanging around, intertwining with each other as they dipped beneath the water. if some dude hadn’t shut the padlock for seemingly no reason at all, we might not have been so lucky!

   Dolphin Video 3

If you want to come to the Isle of Man to not see dolphins, either by using our new method or more traditional modes, why not stay at the Welbeck Hotel & Restaurant? Book now through our website, though we much prefer the old fashioned way of actually talking to you +44 (0) 1624 657663 or email mail@welbeckhotel.com https://www.welbeckhotel.com/

  • For those of you not in the know, Starlight is the first bottlenose dolphin to be recorded as born in Manx waters, around the Point of Ayre area 2019. Her mother, Moonlight was originally identified in Scotland but thought to be lost before being spotted again near Scandinavia, then appearing here two years ago. Ordinarily, dolphins are just visitors to the Island, mainly bottlenose in the winter and Rissos in the summer, with occasional excursions here by common dolphins too but our mother and daughter pair seem to have stayed around the Island, most regularly appearing in Peel and on the West coast. The other cetaceans usually spotted in our area are Harbour Porpoise and Minke whales, the latter usually arriving in numbers around this time of year, following the spawning herrings.Ms. Roberta Harbisher, one of our residents who was also in Peel on Saturday but saw no dolphins would like to point out that she saw a pod far bigger than ours’ at Dhoon Bay last week!

For anyone more interested in their story, see https://mwdwresidentbottlenose.weebly.com/story-and-sightings.html?fbclid=IwAR255Ou1v2FWGVlGpqFEhiiXIDObDZ8CQYAQNX-R1rTjng1lt6lI0gAcFAA

 

 

We had a family outing and walked from Port Erin to the Calf Sound along the Raad ny Foillan (literally translated as the Road of the Gull, the IOM coastal footpath travels 95 miles around the Island, mostly very close to the sea) which is one of the most beautiful sections, though there are many others of varied scenery which I could make an argument to be the best on any given day. The track is accessed by going behind the old Marine Biological Centre building, a little past the RNLI boathouse and slipway which is on the left hand side of the bay looking from the land side.

Our grandson, Harry wasn’t best pleased that we had decided to put him through this torture, so the going was very slow and the 3.2km (two miles-ish) took us over an hour, though normally this would only take us 35-40 minutes or so.  There are parts of the journey where you have to clamber over a few rocks, so you have to be reasonably nimble on your feet to take this one on but it isn’t exactly mountaineering. Some of the hills are a little steep, so you need to be just a little bit fit.

I imagine he looked a little more enthused, winning his first stock car races this week!

Having reached the Calf Sound, Irene & myself opted for the Seafood Chowder which was excellent while Lucy and Harry feasted on ice cream. At this stage, we noticed that the bus had pulled in, so the younger members of our team opted for a ride home.

We decided to return to Port Erin along the road, so we walked up to Cregneash, then turned left, over the top back to Port Erin. At this point it is possible to visit the Meayll (pronounced Mull) Circle which is a little like a minute Stone Henge without the balancing acts, and also there are great views in all directions from on top the WW2 buildings.

It is a little further in distance back to Port Erin but quicker because you are walking on the tarmac (And no press ganged child to slow us down) with lovely vistas of both sides of the peninsula and Bradda Head, Hill, Reayrt Ny Beinney and Cronk-ny-Arrey-Laa.

The return journey takes you around the other side of Ballaman which was built by Nigel Mansell when he lived here in the 80s but now owned by John Whittaker, one of the Isle of Man’s richest residents.

To end up on the side of the Promenade that you set off from, you turn left at the Darragh and down the little path that brings you out just by the Bay Hotel.

You’ll be glad to know that Harry was much happier on the beach and in the sea!

Last Sunday, following reports of a basking shark sighting off Niarbyl, as it was a beautiful afternoon, we decided to go and take a look.

With it not having rained in Douglas all morning, we were very surprised to find lots of standing water and miniature rivers flowing down the roads!

With our customary timing and skill, we did of course not see any aquatic life, beyond a few birds, though we perhaps should have stuck it out a little longer as apparently a huge animal breached, not half an hour after our departure, though too fast for anyone to identify and we’d probably have been looking the other direction anyway.

We decided to walk down Glen Maye and the evidence of the earlier downpour was astonishing, as we have never seen the waterfalls there look so spectacular and the usual trickle of a stream was a raging torrent!

At Ramsey Hairpin on the famous TT course is the foot of Lherghy Frissel (In Manx, the direct translation is Slope of the Clan Fraser) and there are a few lovely walks around the area of Glen Elfin, Claughbane or you can go Milntown around foot of the Mountain, the outskirts of Crossags Campsite and Ramsey Golf Club.

We climbed up Glen Elfin which falls away much more steeply than the 2D photographs would suggest and the stream was not quite as spectacular as it can be, following the sunniest and driest but surely one of the coldest Aprils on record.

The ascent is fairly hard work and sadly, our 10 year old grandson Harry’s enthusiasm for all things motorised, does not extend to hill walking but I did my best to encourage him! However, even the news that he was following in the footsteps of Prince Albert failed to ignite his interest.

In September 1847, Queen Victoria and the Prince anchored the Royal Yacht in Ramsey Bay to shelter due to the sea conditions which had caused Her Majesty to suffer from sea sickness. Although the Queen was laid low and was unfit to welcome the excited local dignitaries, Albert commanded a barge to take him to shore and proceeded to climb up through Ballure Glen (unlike we slackers who started half way up.)

When he reached the top, the prince was delighted with the view of the town, all the Northern plains and Ramsey’s beautiful bay. On his return to sea level, he was greeted by nearly the whole of the population of the area who loudly cheered his royal personage.

A delegation including the High Bailiff and the Governor had rushed up from Douglas to present the Queen with a letter, hoping to be granted an audience but the boat they had arranged failed to make it out to the Royal fleet in time and it sailed before they could reach it, leaving them a little non-plussed but to this day, the town calls itself Royal Ramsey on the strength of this first, fleeting visit which wasn’t repeated until 55 years later when Edward VII docked at Queen’s Pier in 1902.

The Prince’s escapade was commemorated by the erection of the Albert Tower which still stands at the top of Lhergy Frissel today.

LOL. I forgot to take a photo of the tower but the thing that strikes me from this Imuseum.im picture is the lack of trees! 

In contrast to the Governor whose trip from Douglas was wasted and marked by the hastily assembled band playing ‘Oh Dear What can the Matter Be?’ Harry’s mood greatly improved on our descent when his mum promised him an ice cream!

 

A few weeks ago, we took a walk along Ballure Promenade to Port Lewaigue at the beginning of this period of lovely weather. It is part of the Raad-ny-Foillan at the spouth side of Ramsey.

Incidentally, regular visitors to the Island will be pleased to know that progress is being made on the restoration of the pier. It is mainly privately funded and the work is being done by volunteers.

Their website is here or their Facebook page is here

The river in question flows dowjn from Ballure Reservoir which is a beautiful spot on the TT course, from where you can also climb North Barrule. I wonder is the similarity between the two names, coincidence or a quirk of the Manx Language? Perhaps, we have a Manx scholar who can illuminate us?