Whilst driving up to the Point of Ayre this past Sunday morning, we did wonder if the weather forecasters had it wrong and Mananan’s enveloping cloak would hinder our Leg 6 of the Raad ny Foillan walk. But, if by magic, the mist lifted dramatically, revealing our march towards Ramsey on the eastern coast, leaving the Point of Ayre lighthouse behind us.
A good turn out of about 40 walkers (excluding Andrea and Cameron Scott who walked Leg 6 the previous day to take advantage of Saturday’s excellent weather) set off, walking along the edge of the Ayres, until we dipped down to the shingle of the beach – where the hard walking began in earnest! About 40 minutes out, we passed Phurt where, in February 2014, the the remains of 10,000-year-old trees had been uncovered on the beach after huge storms battered the Manx coastline.
“Experts said a “chaotic” collection of trunks, branches and pine cones had been discovered in the cliffs at Cranstal, just north of Bride Village.The pine woodland had been covered by about 16ft (5m) of sand and clay. Andrew Johnson, Manx National Heritage archaeologist, says the find “opens a window on an ancient landscape”.
“The epic weather has meant the sea washed away a considerable part of the cliff and knocked it back about 5m,” he said.”
Soft sandstone cliffs increased in height at this point, with evidence of a number of landslides. The beach widens with the shingle banked up to create a terrace between the sea.
Dogs Poppy and Jock poppy-jockfound time for a glorious frolic in the narrow lagoon created by the retreating tide’s deposit of stones and the upper beach. Some vertical spikes were spotted. Anyone know what they were? Some with a concrete base were not as – we imaginatively speculated – a ship wreck.
And we wondered at those who choose to live dangerously – but what a view!
About 2+ 1/4 hours from the start, we came to the Northern end of the Mooragh Promenade – a welcome relief from the trudging along the shingle. A short lived respite as roadworks machinery and fencing blocked our path, rerouted us back onto the beach. Not for long though, as we soon returned to the prom, paused to watch the bikes, turned right and left over the graceful arching Harbour bridge and we were ‘Home and Dry’!
Welcome drinks slaked thirsts at the Mitre pub and for those of us who stayed for Carl’s sumptous roast Carvery, we piled our plates high and lunched sitting looking over the harbour.
Memories of this walk from the rear: great companionship from fellow walkers with a constant reminder of wave power rapidly transforming the beach terrain with each incoming tide, creating it’s unique and temporary landscape – until the next wave. Isn’t one of the joys of our walk this wild and wonderful beauty and variety of the Manx coastal scenery which we soak up whilst enjoying absorbing, interesting conversations with fellow walkers, whilst our dogs stretch their legs too?
Just a couple of reminders to help the organisers, please.
Before the next walk please do let Johnny know how many of you are coming. As always, the organisers’ concern is for safety, so they need to know who is walking and of any newcomers you bring, who are of course very welcome.
Its also important to ensure that all walkers are up to date with payments – remembering the fund raising purpose of the RNF Challange.
Likewise, if you are/are not staying for lunch, please would you let Johnny/Ron/Jennifer or Andrew know. Our hosts cater for the numbers we give them a day or so ahead of our walk.
The December walk (Leg7) has been postponed to 15 January. We will leave Ramsey Square (just around the corner from the Mitre Pub!) at 10.00am, hopefully in fine weather, and this next leg, traversing Maughold Head, is really beautiful.
We will be leaving on a rising half tide – and it’ll be a big tide, 7.6m, as its springs. But, for the first leg for some time, we won’t be too concerned, as although we might walk a short distance on the beach till just past the Queen’s Pier, we’ll soon leave the beach, and be done with beach walking on the 2016/2017 Raad Ny Foillan Challenge! Do I hear some say “and hooray for that!”?
Its a glorious walk, short bit of walking along a quiet road, followed by slots of very varied coastal path walking. A few slight inclines, up, over and around the headland and fields with sheep, (so dog leads essential), past Maughold church with its wealth of Manx Crosses and splendid views looking South down the eastern coast of the Island from Charlies’ Perch in memory of Sir Charles Kerruish – most worthy linger besides the bronzed Odin’s Ravens.
We will finish in the beautiful Ballaglass Glen just above the fish hatchery and lunch at the nearby Glen Mona Hotel; newly refurbished, it allows dogs and makes a mean cup of coffee. So much to enjoy!
So, to recap details for Leg 7:
Date – 15 January, 2017
Start – Ramsey Square, 10:00am
Finish – Carpark in Ballaglass Glen, just above the Trout Hatchery.
Lunch – Glen Mona Hotel.
Walk price – £10pp, by transfer to Hospice at Home, account details here.
Thanks to Juliet K for the Leg6 report.