Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day 47 -- Port Erin and Port St. Mary, 8 miles

At the southwest corner of the Isle of Man, a small peninsula extends into the Irish Sea. On the northwest side of the peninsula lies Port Erin. On the southeast side of the peninsula lies Port St. Mary. The two towns are a little more than a mile apart, so narrow is the peninsula. Yet, walking from one town to the other along the coastal path involves a journey of almost eight miles, numerous ascents and descents to gain each successive headland, and a time commitment of nearly 4 hours to talk to people on the trail.

Port Erin Harbour 

Port Erin from footpath

I took the 9:00 am bus from Douglas to Port Erin, arriving around 10:15. After familiarizing myself with the town’s harbor area, I started walking about 10:30. For most of the morning, I saw not another soul and made fairly good time, except for frequent pauses for pictures. The coastal path occasionally ventured only inches from a precipitous drop into the sea, but mostly stayed 10 to 30 feet from the edge. To be honest, I made better time when the path was far from the edge, and resisted the temptation to hurry when near.

Rounding the tip of the peninsula, I caught my first glimpse of Calf of Man, a smaller island just off the coast of the larger island on which I stood. A channel separates the two islands, and an impressive current was running with the changing tides. I’m told that basking sharks and porpoise frequent the area, but I didn’t see any. Hey, at my age, I’m happy just to see the trail.

Calf of Man

At the tip of the peninsula, a substantial road runs from Port St. Mary, and ends at a parking lot with a visitor center. I resisted the temptation to stop for lunch, but not the temptation to speak with the first people I met today: Janet, John, Christine and Stewart. Two are from Yorkshire and two are from Kent. I have a 50/50 chance of remembering which couple is from which location. I also have a 50/50 chance of matching the couples correctly. I’m not a wiz at math, but even I know that means I have a 75% chance of getting it wrong. So rather than insult anyone, I’ll stop here.


Continuing on around the headlands, I met Terry, Di and John. Word must have gotten out about an American who has nothing better to do than walk and blog, and Terry and John were falling all over themselves trying to get their picture into today’s posting. Fortunately for all, Di maintained decorum and managed to get Terry and John lined up (queued??) quietly on the trail so I could take a respectable picture.

John, Terry and Di

The trail then descended into Port St. Mary. Having successfully turned a one mile walk into an eight mile adventure, I caught the first bus back to Douglas.

Port St. Mary