Between the bays - Gansey Point

Between Chapel Bay and Carrickey Bay lies Gansey Point, with my favourite house nestling into the landscape, where the sea colours are ever-changing and you can watch the weather move across the seascape. 

In April the gorse starts to bloom, the flowers open to a lovely egg yolk yellow, smelling of coconut. Then there are bluebells along the coast (many crossed with the Spanish bluebell, so they are very robust but unwelcome interlopers), blackthorn and three cornered leeks, along with Alexanders starting to grow. The skies seem to get bluer and the sea more aqua. 

There's a lovely walk from Chapel to Brewery beach along the old Castletown road, which heads round Gansey point. In the past, people would travel to Port St Mary by cart or on foot using this road. The route changed in the early 20th century with the advent of the motor car, so it is mainly a pedestrian route now, and makes a pleasant ramble on a fine Spring day.


The lighter days begin, and Easter is round the corner

Although it is still cold on the island and seemingly every other day is windy, wet or both, you still get some lovely sunshine days, where the light is glorious, still a cool light but promising so much.

Spring flowers are starting to show their faces, wild garlic and three cornered leeks throwing up their leaves, ready to flower. Gorse is starting to bloom, and primroses are abundant followed by early white, pink and bluebells. It is a time to savour. 

When Easter arrives, everything opens in earnest. The steam train toots and the walkers arrive, not to mention all the migrating birds coming to breed all around the coast of the island, but especially up at the point of Ayre nature reserve, where the ground-nesters can hatch their chicks in safety.



Port Erin beach March
Chapel Bay in March
Brewery Beach Carrickey Bay in March

November by the sea

November on the Isle of Man is full of grey, damp, often windy days, but also crisp, vibrant blue skies and an everchanging sea.

During the second half of November there are lots of Christmas artisan markets and craft fairs to visit. There's an opportunity to explore new places and meet the makers of the island. There are makers of ceramics, candles, jewellery, soap and art to name but a few. A lot of creative and talented people live on the Isle of Man, not to mention fabulous cakes, biscuits and bread bakers.

It is worth a visit to the island for a cosy time, planning ahead to the festive season and trying the local produce.  

Dawn on a November day

And so to the pub...

October wildness

Where the weather changes as autumn draws in, a 25 minute walk from Port St Mary, around Gansey Point to the well-named Brewery beach will bring you to (also very aptly named) The Shore Hotel, where there's always a friendly welcome and a pint on offer, lunch or bar snacks too.

If the tide is low, you can walk back along the beach edge and find a few interesting stones or shells along the way. If the tide is turning please take the road! There is not a lot of space between the rocks and the shore even at low tide, so always check the tides.

Either way, it's a perfect way to spend an autumnal Sunday morning. Or indeed a warm summer's night if you visit during the summer months.


October 6th 2023


Seasons of mists...

A spectacular time to spend time on the Isle of Man, where the summer hubbub is slowing down but the days can be clear and sparkling. The mists and fogs rise and then burn away, or stay out to sea waiting to roll in at night.

It is a good month to see the view from Snaefell, the islands highest mountain at 2037 ft. You can travel up there by mountain railway from Laxey station, seeing the glacial valley where there was once a tin mine. When you get to the top be prepared for wind! Even on a hot day, the wind blows!

The Tynwald is beautiful anytime, however this warm September it looked positively alpine, and the air was clear and fresh. Next to it is the National Arboretum, which is also a delight.


August on this gem of an island

Another busy month for the Isle of Man.

The Manx Grand Prix is under way, celebrating 100 years of racing. Another extraordinary spectacle but just a tad quieter than the world famous TT races. There are sprints and rallies, parades, drag racing and beach cross. Not to mention marathons, half-marathons and coastal walks

The Isle of Man Railways are celebratingtheir 150th anniversary this year with events across the island and the Royal Manx Agricultural Show took place at the start of August, as well as the Peel Carnival.

There are tours to book - Fynoderee distillery, Gaiety Theatre, Manx Wildlife Park, Castletown Heritage, behind the scenes at The Peggy etc. That’s without the regular places to enjoy especially in the nicer weather.

It's a perfect month to visit the island.


Things to do in July

July is quite a busy month on the island, with plenty to do and see.

There is a bank holiday on 5th July for Tynwald Day, the Isle of Man's National Day. There is a ceremony at Tynwald Hill, dating back to the 10th century, where the legislature has a 'Midsummer Court', where petitions can be presented to members to be taken up by the Parliament.

For lighter entertainment, there's the World Tin Bath Championships held in Castletown harbour in early July. Started in 1971 this is the only race of its kind, so draws eager competition. There are also snake races and a rope drop, a fun afternoon for the family. 


The Southern 100 Billown circuit races that start at the beginning of the 2nd week of July. Called the Friendly Races.


Fancy watching Viking longboats? There a World Championship at Peel towards the end of the month, followed by the Celtic Festival, showcasing island talent and culture.



Whatever you chose, enjoy your time on the island there's so much to explore.


Well-organised and ready for visitors, the island at TT time.

Every year from late May to the the second weekend in June is TT time on the island. The world famous Tourist Trophy running on deregulated roads up and round the old Snaefell mountain attracts visitors from all over the world. From Australia and New Zealand to the Americas, people travel for these incredible races.


The population of the island almost doubles over those 2 weeks (first week practice week and the second week is race week). There are motorbikes everywhere!


Islanders open up their homes to visitors and offer b&b or homestay, not to mention hotels and holiday accommodation, they all fill up and get booked a year in advance. The atmosphere is friendly and great fun.


Even in Port St Mary which is about 30 minutes from the action, the bikes are rowed up on the Promenade, at 6 am and by 6.30 am they are starting up and heading off for the days racing, not coming back till the evening. 


This year has been hot and sunny, so the non-race days have been days of relaxation. That is when the visitors have an ice cream on the beach, or meet up in the pub and have a chance to see the area. 


To travel across with a bike, you take the ferry. From Liverpool, Heysham, Belfast or Dublin on the Steam Packet Company. The whole operation is well-practised, fitting mezzanine floors inside the decks to hold all the bikes coming across, with extra scheduled crossings bookable well in advance.


It is an extraordinary event and one well worth travelling to the island to see, but you really need to plan well ahead!



Chapel Bay, Port St Mary

Port St Mary was so-called as the Keeill of Moirrey (St Mary's Church) was thought to be located possibly where the current Town Hall is now (on The Promenade). Hence the naming of Chapel Bay.

The development of this part of Port St Mary began with the popularity of the Isle of Man as a tourist destination in the 1800s. Holiday-makers travelled for their annual holidays from the north-west coast of England and from Ireland, creating a demand for more guest accommodation. The terrace of large 3 storey houses and small hotels that sweeps the bay was built from the 1880s onward. 

People arrived by the steam train (the route was built in 1874) to Port St Mary station. Proprietors would send their pony and traps to the station to meet their guests. Chapel beach was safe for swimming and had bathing machines on the Promenade ramp for those daring swimmers. When the tide was in, the grassy slope by the colonnades was perfect for a picnic. And from the 1960s the Karran-Quirk raised walkway was built (known locally as the Catwalk) allowing visitors and locals alike to walk above the sea.

This tradition is still enjoyed by visitors although the number of tourists to Port St Mary is much reduced, it means you can enjoy the beach in relative peace at most times of the day.

In the summer, for a fortnight, there is a Beach Mission, a sort of summer school, for all ages, run by The Christian Union, with many activities. It is available to the local community on the island as well as visiting children. There is a religious element but it is not necessary to take part in that, there's plenty more on offer. This has been going since 1902 and there's lots of family fun to be had. This year the dates are: 30th July to 11th August. If this is of interest, here's a link to: Port St Mary Beach Mission.


When the boat comes in.

One of the things that I love is watching the fishing boats coming in at the end of the day. You can see them from the windows or front door of Endfield House, and follow their progress into harbour. They tie up on Alfred Pier, which is the deeper water harbour, keeping boats safe from the fiercest of winds since 1882.

In Port St Mary there is a small seafood business which sells its catch on a Saturday morning, crab, lobster, callig and queenies. To be sure of your treat, it is best to order in advance. There's nothing nicer than a stroll down to the Promenade, along the raised walkway into the inner harbour and then round to Alfred Pier where you can collect your seafood on a Saturday morning. It takes about 20 minutes each way and it is so worth it!

Here's the link in case you want to try that very thing (obviously weather depending): www.instagram.com/themanxlobster


Port St Mary harbour

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