S is for Mt. Snaefell

I had to giggle – just a little bit – when I first learned about Mt. Snaefell (see this map for location). When I looked at photographs of the mountain I scratched my head and thought, “That’s not a mountain…it’s a big hill.” I live near the Rocky Mountains and am used to the high peaks here (12,000-14,000 feet). The joke’s on me because it really is classified as a mountain; it stands tall at 2,037 feet.

There are a couple of ways to get to the top, and when I go to Isle of Man I will be taking the foot trail up. There is also the Snaefell Mountain Railway that takes passengers all the way to the summit. After working up a hunger from the hike, there is a cafe at the top. I’ve heard that taking a packed bit of food is a nice way to go as well. Dress appropriately. I’m told the summit is usually windy and cool. You could get snow, or rain, or both.

You might actually experience the summit on a clear, bright day! There is a well-known saying in the Isle of Man that on a clear day six kingdoms can be seen from the top: the Isle of Man, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Heaven.

In the summer of 1883 William Wordsworth toured Scotland. During this trip he went to Isle of Man and wrote a series of sonnets about his trip. Included is one from his stop on the island a snippet for Mt. Snaefell:


TYNWALD HILL
“Once on the top of Tynwal’s formal mound
(Still marked with green turf circles narrowing
Stage above stage) would sit this Island’s King,
The laws to promulgate, enrobed and crowned;
While compassing the little mount around,
Degrees and Orders stood, each under each;
Now, like to things within fate’s easiest reach,
The power is merged, the pomp a grave has found.
Off with yon cloud, old Snaefell ! that thine eye
Over three Rhealms may take its widest range;
And let, for them, thy fountains utter strange
Voices, they winds break forth in prophecy,
If the whole State must suffer mortal change,
Like Mona’s miniature sovereignty.

If you go to Mt. Snaefell, I hope you drop me a note and tell me about your adventure there. Maybe we’ll get lucky and bump into each other at the summit.

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This post inspired by – S

T is for Tourist Trophy

G is for Geography

It’s time to talk geography. I have mentioned Isle of Man in previous posts, and told you how small it really is (221 square miles, in case you missed that post). Today I want to tell about the actual island and its geography makeup. This will not by your typical “this is this, and that is that” kind of post. I hated geography in school so I won’t make this tedious for you.

But, I do have to give you a few quick facts:

  • It is in the middle of the Irish Sea
  • Its highest point is Mt. Snaefell at 2,036 feet
  • Most of the coastline is rocky
  • It is treeless except in a few areas that are sheltered from the climate
  • Ramsey is a large northern town (population close to 8,000)
  • Douglas is the capital (Population 27,000+)
  • The southern most tip you’ll find Calf of Man

So, there are your facts about the Isle of Man. Now let’s take a look of some of the fun stuff like, the Drinking Dragon. At the southern tip is this wonderful rock formation that looks like a dragon dipping its nose in the sea for a sip of water.

Another fun feature of the island is Mt. Snaefell. This peak is lower than my house (I’m at 6,000 feet here in Colorado), and is not too exciting to look at.

There is an old building on top along with a radio tower. Even though it is wind blown and cloudy most of the time, if you go to the top on a clear day they say you can see six kingdoms: Isle of Man, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Heaven. Now that’s cool.

The last place we’ll visit is St. Patrick’s Isle. This small tidal island is mostly occupied by Peel Castle. This castle is where my characters, Donal and Kaitlin, will meet their first buggane, along with meeting the Witch of Slieu Whallian.

 The castle was originally a worship center until the Vikings arrived in the 11th century. It was fully constructed by King Magnus (aka Magnus Barefoot, and another in the cast of The Manx). According to legends he built this as his summer getaway. More likely this was a perfect staging area to conquer large portions of the coastal areas of the Irish Sea.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the Isle of Man. Although small in size, the island is large in interesting landscapes.

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This post inspire by – G