Circumnavigating Ellan Vannin

First ride of the new year in 2005, so I thought I'd go around the island using the coast roads where possible. Not going to be a long ride though, as there's only 500 miles of road on the whole island

Wrapped up well, although the temperature is 10C here (50F) and just as I got on the bike my mate turned up on his TW125 - he was just riding around Douglas practicing his turning in the road etc as it's his bike test on Wednesday - he's hoping he passes coz he's got a 2001 Monster 620 already. Had a little chat, then he wandered off to do his practicing and I started out.

Went down to the Sea Terminal first (where the ferries dock) and looked out over Douglas Bay - not a bad day weather-wise

That's the Tower of Refuge in the middle of the bay, with Port Jack and Onchan Head in the background.

Left the Sea Terminal and headed over the lift bridge at the harbour entrance, then up onto Douglas Head - lovely views from up here, especially in the summer.

This is the entrance gate to the old Douglas Southern Electric Tramway, from Douglas Head to Port Soderick, completed in 1897 and then shut down in 1939. The tram tracks were then turned into a road but coastal erosion has enforced the closure of the road to vehicles, although pedestrians can still walk along it.

I came back down from Douglas Head and then headed along the coast road past Port Soderick and Port Grenaugh, rejoining the main road just outside Ballasalla. Continued on down past the airport (crossing over the steam railway lines in Ballasalla on the way) and into Castletown.

Castle Rushen, built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

Rode on down through Port St Mary and Port Erin, getting blasted around by the wind coming off the sea - great fun coming off the bumpy bits of road when the wind gusted too. Rode on through past the folk village of Cregneash and stopped at The Sound, looking out to the small island called the Calf of Man.

The Calf of Man

Headed up the West coast towards Peel, going over Barrule up the road that is used for The Sloc hillclimb.

The Sloc

Arrived in Peel, and rode down to the seafront, past the Manx Kipper curers, over the bridge and onto the promontory where Peel Castle stands.

Peel Castle

Rode up from Peel along the coast road, joining the TT circuit for the first time at Kirk Michael where I stopped for petrol. Rode along the course for a little while, before branching off at Ballaugh Bridge - and no, I didn't do the jump over the humpback bridge. Rode on past Jurby airfield where they have short circuit racing, karting and the like (and the probable site of the island's new prison), through Bride and out to the Point of Ayre. The Point is the most northerly part of the island, and the closest point to the UK mainland (16 miles from Burrow Head, Scotland).

The main Point of Ayre lighthouse, constructed in 1819.

The fog horns (can be heard in the Mull of Galloway 26 miles away, in the right conditions) and the small supplementary light house. This had to be built as the gravel bank built up, and was constructed 250ft closer to the sea in the late 1880s. It was moved a further 250ft out in 1951, as the gravel bank enlarged again.

The remains of what I imagine are WWII bunkers at the Point.

No more pictures, as the weather now closed in - was very blustery and rainy for the ride down the east coast back to Douglas, topped off by my rear shock giving up the ghost, I think, on the way into Ramsey - got very bouncy over the bumps and when I parked up at home, slow drips came off the linkage

Route taken

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