Isle of Man – Spanish Head & The Chasms

4 03 2013

During the week I visited the Isle of Man with Richard and my parents, Richard and I decided it was time to walk some of the island’s scenic coastline. We’d also heard tales of the scary ‘Chasms’ from my Mum who thought they were dangerous and terrifying – that meant we had to go and see them for ourselves!

We took the steam railway from Douglas down to Port Erin and, after having a quick look round the town and leaving my parents there, we set off up the little road which leads to Cregneash – the settlement which comprises the Folk Museum we visited a day or so before.

Creagneash

When we arrived we found it was shearing time for the Manx Laoghtan – the island’s famous and fabulous multi-horned sheep which can have up to six horns! There are usually two large straight horns sticking straight up from their heads and two curly horns below them. But their curved horns can stick out from their faces at many strange angles.

Manx Laoghtan Shearing Time
(actually, on closer inspection, most of these are Ronaldsay sheep – their other native breed with just two normal horns but there’s the odd Laoghtan amongst them)

After watching the shearing for a while we thought it best to leave before we got roped in to restrain some multi-horned beasts for them 😉 We took the road heading south-west from the village to the coast at the Sound of Man. This looks across to the little island of the Calf of Man which, unfortunately, we never got chance to visit during our all too short week on the island.

2Calf of Man

From the road-end, we followed the coastal path which heads from there south-east to Spanish Head. All this area is National Trust land and is a very beautiful and spectacular stretch of coastline.

2Sound of Man

2Main Coast Opposite Calf of Man

2South Coast Cliffs

2South Coastline

There were spectacular sea stacks and pinnacles…

2Spectacular South Coast (S)

2South Coast Stacks

2The Sugarloaf(S)
The Sugarloaf

Sea Caves…

2South Coast Sea Cave

There were beautiful flowers…

2Coastal Flora (S)

And stupendous cliffs!

2Interesting Cliff South Coast (S)

2Tremendous Southern Cliff (S)

From The Sugarloaf, we then we headed inland slightly to The Chasms – you really need to check around these whether the heather you’re about to stand on has anything underneath! These are very deep fissures in the rocks sometimes only a foot wide, sometimes more but very deep. The rock edges can be pretty loose so if you jump across them (which we did over a couple), make sure you’re landing on solid rock at the other side.

2The Chasms Start (S)

2The Chasms

2The Bigger Chasms!

There was even a dodgy little rock bridge across one which we dared ourselves to cross – probably not a great idea though…

2The Double Chasm

From there all the excitement was over as we headed back to the coastal path round to the descent to Port St. Mary to get the train back to Douglas.

2Descending to Port St Mary

Port St. Mary was a delightful little town with a lovely harbour…

IOM-Port St Mary

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15 responses

8 03 2013
bob

If I was going to the Isle of Man That’s the area that would most appeal to me. Looked at it years ago on maps and it stood out as one of the remotest spots on the island.
Nice to see it by proxy in your pics.

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9 03 2013
mountaincoward

The south coast was really nice – but my favourite walk was the one I’m putting out for the Isle of Man next 🙂

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6 03 2013
Susie

Fabulous scenery! And I never knew multi-horned sheep existed until reading your report.

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6 03 2013
mountaincoward

I certainly didn’t know there were any 6-horned sheep before I went there! But then, they have tail-less cats so I suppose you have to expect other rarities. It’s a great island – definitely a must see even if you only ever go across there once.

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4 03 2013
fedupofuserids

Another interesting report Carol. Stunning coastline well photographed.

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5 03 2013
mountaincoward

The southern coastline is truly lovely (I suppose that’s why the National Trust have a large section of it). We never managed to get to the South-western corner of coastline up to Niarbyl though – that looks absolutely superb!

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4 03 2013
chrissiedixie

Looked a spectacular coastal bit that, but probably best done without our two mad canines near those edges!
I remember Port St. Mary being a very pleasant little place.

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5 03 2013
mountaincoward

I really liked Port St. Mary (and Castletown). There were flowers everywhere down by the sea-front and it was a lovely stroll all along the front to the other end of town where the station is.

The coastal walk and chasms wouldn’t be great for dogs unless they were on leads and that would make it a pretty awful walk for all concerned I think. The next (and last) Isle of Man walk I’m putting out would be far more suitable for dogs.

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4 03 2013
MrsB

Looks like you had an amazing time, pics are stunning ^_^ We’ve thought about going to the Isle of Man before but are being put off by ferry tickets, are they expensive do you think? With the van needing new front seats and a new bathroom to fit our cash reserves are a little low ;(

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5 03 2013
mountaincoward

I think the ferry would be expensive with a vehicle (although it was cheap enough for us as we didn’t bother taking cars). But, of course, your vehicle is your accommodation so you’d have to balance out the saving from not paying for accommodation against the ferry fare. It’s a truly lovely island though and a must-see really.

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4 03 2013
jackie sowrey

Lovely photographs. This is one one of my favourite locations on the island but I never get quite that close to danger.

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5 03 2013
mountaincoward

The cliff walking was fine but the Chasms are a bit dodgy as you can’t really see the edges too clearly for the heather and some of the rock edges are loose – sometimes you think the edge is much further away than it really is. They’re fascinating to see though…

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4 03 2013
rebecca2000

Lovely.

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5 03 2013
mountaincoward

Thanks Becca 🙂 You do mean the coastline and not the horny devils earlier in the report I’m assuming? 😉

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5 03 2013
rebecca2000

yes lol

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