21. Sep, 2021

Manx Week

Last year, we booked a coach trip to the Dolomites which meant staying one night in France on the way out, one night in Germany one the way back and five nights in Italy. However as the Covid  regulations chopped and changed, we became increasingly worried that the holiday would be compromised should one country suddenly changed its Covid rules for the worse. 

So we changed our booking to the Isle of Man as the Covid regulations set set and we met them. I was disappointed not to go back to il Dolomiti but being positive, it would be a new Geocaching country for me.😀

So we set off at really silly o’clock to catch the noon catamaran ferry from Heysham up near Morecambe in Lancashire and arrived at our hotel on the Douglas promenade bymid afternoon. As you will know by now, I had done my homework on the trip itinerary so had a list of possible caches to find but as long as I found one, I would be happy, sort of.🤔😀 Here’s how the days went.

Monday 20th 

Today was a free day and we were free to explore Douglas. We walked down the promenade into town. Not far from the bronze statue of the BeeGees, who were born on the island, I found my first cache, the 3/1.5 The Isle of Man’s Shortest Multi-cache. Now I would be happy, even if I didn’t find a cache this week.🤔 Don’t be silly.🥴

After a good walk around town, we returned to the hotel for lunch and when the rest of the family retired for a siesta, I set off on a mission. I walked down to the Harbour and started on the Doolish Town Wherigo Trail, breaking this up with The Douglas Dander series of AdLabs. However, my target for today was up on the way to Douglas Head. I was after the oldest cache on the island, the golden oldie, Manx, a trad that has been in place since May, 2002. It was posted as a 1/1.5 but nowadays it would be a 2.5/3 stuck as it was in a tree at the top of a steep bank.

I returned to town and continued on the AdLab series which I completed but I failed at a couple of trads on the South Bank of the harbour. I walked around the harbour and went to find the NOW I AM ON MY OWN virtual. The coords were well out here but I soon realised that it was all to do with the statue of a certain 1930s film star/comedian/ukulele maestro which I had admired earlier. The answers were soon winging their way to the CO.

I walked up the hill to the CM Douglas - St George’s mystery. I had solved this puzzle at home and made a quick find here. I added a few more bases of the Wherigo but didn’t have time for any more so headed back to the hotel. I passed the Upper Douglas Cable Tramway : Broadway on the way and had a quick find for the last one of the day.

1 Multi 1 Mystery 1 Virtual 2 Traditional 5 AdLab 

Tuesday 21st

Now today was going to be a busy day. We boarded the coach at ten and drove about a mile and then all got off. We then boarded the old rickety Manx Electric Railway. This has been running for over 125 years since 1893 along the eastern coast of the Isle of Man, with the majority of Victorian & Edwardian era infrastructure and rolling stock still in use. It runs from Douglas to Ramsey in the north.

We alighted at Laxey, about half way up the line, where we going to visit the Laxey Wheel, the oldest working watermill in the world. I had my eye on the CM Lacey multi adjacent to the station so quickly gathered the info for later. 

We had to walk about a mile uphill to the Wheel and after we had visited the Wheel and part of the nearby mine which was pumped out by the waterwheel, we went to a nearby cafe. However, it was infested by wasps so we headed back into town. We found an eclectic cafe with large cable drums as tables. Whilst we waited for our Manx cheddar sandwiches, I checked out what was nearby and realised that I had missed a trick here. There was an AdLab series here, Little Wheel to Large Wheel and I had walked past most of it.🥴 However there were two bases close to the cafe so I visited them.

We were soon to embark on the third part of the day, a visit to Snaefell, the highest point on the island at 2036 feet asl. We had booked the whole carriage on the Snaefell Mountain Railway and wound our way up to the top. We looked down on part of the TT course imagining motor bikes roaring below us at speeds approaching 200mph.

There was a downside here though. We only had thirty minutes here but there were three trads and an earthcache.🥴 I only had time to get one of them and I had to settle for the 2/2.5 Snow Mountain trad. We travelled back down the mountain to Laxey, where I quickly found the CM before the coach arrived to take us to our hotel.

1 MultI 1 Traditional 2 AdLab

Wednesday 22nd

We had a latish start this morning and I had the opportunity to go caching before breakfast, so I took it.😀 I was up and walking north along the Promenade before dawn. I found the 3.5/1.5 trad Caught In The Act and carried on to 02-08-73. This trad was near the plaque placed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the terrible Summerhill disaster nearby. I personally would have made this a multi so that people would read about the tragedy.

I was after a trio of Challenge caches next. These were in the Summerhill Glen, a superb caches made out to resemble a fairy grotto. First up was Mystery Challenge - Bronze (Isle of Man) where the requirement was to fill at least 27 spaces on the D/T grid. Silver needed 37 filled spaces and the Gold needed 47. I easily qualified with 77.😀 All the caches were cunningly placed and difficult to spot. In fact, I hadn’t seen anything like the Gold before and each cache was awarded a fave point.

I was up in Onchan by now and had to walk down the A46, Victoria Road to get back to the hotel. Luckily the local COs had mapped out some trads for the journey. I found A to Z of the Isle of Man “Z”, HMS St George, Off Yer Trolley (S/R)!, Olympia and then The Gateway to Olympia.

The coach trip for today took us down to Castletown, a small harbour town, where I had the opportunity to grab the Millennium Way GeoTrail 46 - The End trad and then the CM St Mary Harbour multi.

The rest of the day was spent down at the Calf of Man walking the cliff and watching the sea-lions. There was only one distant trad there and I reckoned that I had had a good innings today.🤔

1 Multi 3 Mystery 8 Traditional 

Thursday 23rd

We were going over to the west of the island today to visit Peel and then drop down to Port Erin to spend a little time before we boarded a steam train back to Douglas. It was a miserable morning with not much open in town. Maybe this was due to the elections for the island’s government, The Tynwald.🤔

We found an ice cream parlour/chocolatier/tea room and my wife opted to stay in there and use their internet whilst I went exploring. I found the Parish Walk Series (No. 8 : German) and the Heritage Power Trail 1 : House of Manannan trads before working out the coords for the RST Peel multi.

I was now at the start of the Fishy Tales AdLab series and I followed this linear route down through the harbour and out to the Castle. There was a bonus cache for this one but it was too far away for the time available. I had a quick walk around the Castle and added the A to Z of the Isle of Man “M” and “N“ to the list. The coach was leaving at noon so I just had enough time to pick up the E2W (or W2E) #50 trad before we headed down to Port Erin.

We had to hang about for the 3:00 train of the Isle of Man Steam Railway, a narrow gauge line, so I had a wander around. I started on a couple of the whilst heading up to the FP - Bradda trad. I headed back towards the town collecting the two trads, Golf Links Too and Off Yer Trolley! (Port Erin).

The train journey back to Douglas was uneventful and the promised spectacular views of the coast were not forthcoming. My mood wasn’t heightened by the thought of all the ST caches that I was passing by.🤔

1 MultI 7 AdLab 8 Traditional 

Friday 24th

It’s the last day and we were informed last night that we would be on the 3.00 Isle of Man Steam Packet Company catamaran, Manannan to Liverpool.🥴 At least it gave me the chance of a last walk around town. I strode down to the ferry port and quickly found the A to Z of the Isle of Man: “I”. 

I must add that whilst I had been on the island, I had been contacted by some local cachers, twoofnine and Glen Falcon Terrors saying that I could ask them for help on local caches at any time. I had asked the former about Tongue Twister on the south side of the harbour and their  came up trumps for me.

The last cache on the island was The Wedding Cake, a virtual so called as The Tynwald looks like one.😀 All the answers were located in the foyer of the building. However this was full of people shaking hands and slapping back so I presume that these were the successful candidates in yesterday’s election.

I finally gathered all the answers and sent them off to the CO. Glen Falcon Terrors. Late on, when docking opposite the Liver Building in Albert Dock, I received a message saying that I could claim the cache even though I had got one answer wrong. However he could see how I had made that mistake.

1 Virtual 2 Traditional 

So a great visit to the Isle of Man. Thirty one caches that would count towards my overseas tally of caches and a dozen AdLabs that wouldn’t. Still mustn’t grumble as I said at the beginning, one would do.🤣🤣🤣🤣