Isle of Man – North Barrule & Snaefell

16 02 2013

The very first walk I wanted to do when we arrived on the Isle of Man for our week’s holiday without the car, was North Barrule. On a lovely sunny day, we took the electric railway up to Ramsey on the north-eastern end of the island.

After a quick visit to a nice cafe, we then caught the Douglas bus up the hill out of town to ‘The Hibernian’ (about 3 miles out of town) where a track sets off across the road heading north-west. This track soon joins the track through Glen Cornaa which eventually leads south-west to the deserted ruin of Park Llewellyn Farm.

IOM-Path under N Barrule
The Path from The Hibernian

Snaefell from under N Barrule(s)
Walking Through Glen Cornaa Under Our Hills Looking to Snaefell

Just short of the farm the hill-slope above us, although still very steep, looked do-able so we just set off ploughing upwards for the summit of North Barrule (1860 feet). We puffed our way up the steep climb until we reached the ridge just west of the summit and headed to the summit trig point.

IOM-N Barrule to Snaefell
Looking to Snaefell

North Barrule is a superb viewpoint on a nice day and you can see the distant Galloway Hills in Scotland to the north and the Lake District fells to the east. We spent a few minutes taking in the views all around and then set off south-west along the ridge, crossing a broken down wall on the descent…

North Barrule from Ridge
Looking Back to North Barrule

Mum Marching to Clach Oyr(S)
Mum Marching Along The Ridge

It is very pleasant ridge walking indeed along the ridge on short grass, passing over two intervening bumps at 1770 and 1810 feet. There is a descent to a col before another very gentle ascent to the hill at the end of the ridge, Clagh Ouyr (1808 feet).

Barrule Ridge (S)
Mum & Dad before the final easy climb to Clagh Ouyr

From Clagh Ouyr’s summit, I was in several minds what to do (I can be quite schizophrenic πŸ˜‰ ). Snaefell loomed temptingly in front of me…

Snaefell (S)

As the biggest hill on the island at 2036 feet, it was quite a draw for me, despite it only being the first day of the holiday. But I was also desirous of following the ridge which heads from Clagh Ouyr over decreasingly smaller hills east and then south to Laxey. My parents and Richard weren’t interested in doing Snaefell and were desirous of dropping down into the valley to see some old mines and then follow the mine road out to Laxey. We agreed to part company – I to do both Snaefell and my other desired route and the others to go mine-visiting…

We all headed down a rough path west to the mountain road and said our farewells. There are no paths up that side of Snaefell but it’s an easy enough trudge up tussocky grass so I just headed on straight up the side. My parents and Richard headed south down a narrow side-valley to the head of the main mining valley and the mines.

The weather was deteriorating slightly as I trudged up Snaefell and so the views were a bit gloomy to the south…

Penyphott from Snaefell(S)
South to Beinn-y-Phott aka Pen-y-pot which I nipped up later in the week

But they were good looking back along the ridge we’d just done…
N Barrule Ridge & Clach Oyr from Snaefell

IOM-Barrule Ridge from Snaefell

I didn’t bother to linger on the summit or visit the summit cafe which was slightly down the other side but just turned and charged back down the tufty slopes for the road again. I then trudged back up the slopes to just east of Clagh Ouyr and set off for my first hill along the eastern return ridge – Slieau Lhean (1540 feet). The views from here were very nice in both the Snaefell and the North Barrule directions…

Distant Pen Y Phott from Slieau Lhean
Pen-y-Pot and the slopes of Snaefell (above) N Barrule Ridge (below)
Barrule Ridge from Slieau Lhean

There were various paths through the heather on this ridge but none of them visited the summits, preferring to either go round them or cross the ridge and head directly from Glen Cornaa to Laxey so I ignored them and trudged across to the second summit of Slieau Ouyr at 1483 feet and very little climbing.

I then followed the southern nose of the hill gently downhill on little tracks through the heather. During the descent I passed over a hill named as Slieau Ruy at 1300 feet but there was nothing obvious to see – it was just part of the long descent. There were lots of mountain hares on this section as not many people seem to use this ridge.

Around the area marked on the ridge as ‘The Dreem’, I headed off down to the right for the top of a track I could see heading directly south for Laxey. As I came into the village and the houses started, I found I was passing an ancient monument. It was some standing stones and a burial mound and a plaque announced it as ‘King Orry’s Grave’ – it looked a little incongruous with the ancient standing stones in front of people’s houses! Also, most research suggests that King Orry isn’t buried on the Isle of Man but is thought to be buried on Islay. No matter – I love an ancient monument.

IOM-Arthur's Burial Mount-Laxey

I soon met the other ancient monuments of my walking group further down in the pub where they filled up with beer and I sampled the ‘Grasshopper Pie’ – would be known as Key Lime Pie anywhere else and was absolutely delicious! πŸ™‚

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17 responses

12 03 2013
Robert Craig

Lovely, I want to go to Man! Have you ever seen the film Waking Ned? Set in Ireland, but filmed on Man.

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12 03 2013
mountaincoward

Hi Robert, no I haven’t seen that film but will probably look out for it now – it would be great now I know that it was filmed on IOM to try to recognise the various bits of the island πŸ™‚
Carol.

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27 02 2013
Scotlands Mountains

I always think I should pay a visit there when I look over to it from the Galloway hills.Think I may have been there when I was a toddler.Shall ask my dad πŸ™‚

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28 02 2013
mountaincoward

It’s an island well worth a visit. The hills are quite gentle but the ridge-walking is great and the island has a wonderful feel to it – a little bit back in time but all the better for it.

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18 02 2013
Paul Shorrock

Are you sure that you don’t work for the Manx Tourist Board πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

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21 02 2013
mountaincoward

Well, maybe if I keep up the posts and want to move there, I’ll be able to get a job with them! πŸ˜‰

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18 02 2013
lanceleuven

Looks like you had a nice day for it. I went up Snaefell during my trip to the Isle of Man, but we cheated and took the train up there! πŸ™‚

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21 02 2013
mountaincoward

I took the train up once and took the train up for a later walk to the Halfway House… You’ve got to go up on it once though, don’t you?

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22 02 2013
lanceleuven

True say! πŸ™‚

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18 02 2013
smackedpentax

looks superb, reminds me a little of the Howgills – gentle rolling hills – lovely!

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21 02 2013
mountaincoward

Probably not as steep nor as big as the Howgills in the main but really great ridge walking πŸ™‚

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18 02 2013
bob

Looks lovely ridge walking. There’s something about being on holiday on an island that makes it really special. You never forget the place if you go there as a family when you’re young. Always draws you back. Happy times.
Mine was Bute.

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18 02 2013
mountaincoward

I haven’t been to Bute much – perhaps one or two visits with my parents in my early 20s. I remember a visit to Cumbrae though where you hire bikes and cycle round the island – that was really nice.

You’re right though – you always have those great memories of going places with your family as a kid and just have to go back and see if it was as good as you remember – it often is, but not always. The Isle of Man is great for not changing too quickly though unlike some places you go back to and they’ve sadly changed beyond all recognition.

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16 02 2013
fedupofuserids

I’ve always admired those hills on the horizon from the Lakes, so its interesting to see them up close :). The terrain looks pretty easy on the feet.

Usual great photos & report πŸ™‚

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16 02 2013
mountaincoward

They’re superb ridge-walking and very easy going – just my sort of thing. I think the reason I was so keen on doing North Barrule first was because I could see them from the Lakeland fells so often πŸ™‚

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16 02 2013
chrissiedixie

Those hills do look rather nice walking Carol. We didn’t have time to go anywhere near them when we had our weekend over there, but it certainly looks like we missed out!

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16 02 2013
mountaincoward

If you go again, do make sure you go up North Barrule – it probably is the best hill walk on the island.

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