Isle of Man 2017 – Day 1
Hoorah, it’s the Easter Hols, Morgan is off school, I’m off work and Anna is off work too. Time for a trip to the Isle of Man in our camper. The trip had actually been planned for a while. However, initially we were going in the car as we didn’t have a camper. We changed that though as taking the camper meant that we could take a few more toys with us, maybe camp out overnight somewhere and of course get used to it with the three of us on holiday in it. We could also show it off to Friends and family on the Isle of Man. Ferry bookings were therefore changed and we set off with the camper fully loaded. I’d taken the day off on Friday to get things ready.
The Journey to the Isle of Man
The drive up to Heysham to get the boat was a long slow one with traffic lights and roadworks everywhere and long delays. At least we were in the camper which is nice to drive has plenty of room and is more relaxing than a car in such situations. We also get to wave to other VW owners too and it always brightens our journey when we get a good wave back. We had plenty of VW waves today.
We also had plenty of time and had planned to stop off for dinner at a nice pub just outside Llandegla. Unfortunately when we got there the pub was no longer open. We did find another ‘restaurant’ just around the corner. There was nothing wrong with it but it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. The food was OK but the surroundings were just a little cheap and cheerful. Fine for what we needed though so we ate up and were soon on our way again. Into yet more traffic.
We finally arrived at the ferry terminal around midnight. We checked in, and then pulled the bed out in the back and Morgan and I had a quick sleep. We had expected to board a little earlier than we did but eventually we were allowed onto the ferry. We went straight to our cabin, got into bed and fell asleep. The crossing was calm, we all slept for a few hours and were soon docking at Douglas on the Isle of Man.
Driving on the Isle
First stop once we got off the Ferry was Pat’s house. We were staying with her and she was expecting us for breakfast. It was still only 6:30am but the plan was to make a full day of it today having had some sleep on the boat. We weren’t on the Isle of Man for long so we didn’t want to waste any time. It was just a quick 10 minute trip to Pat’s house where a nice big breakfast and a friendly welcome was waiting for us. We caught up, ate breakfast and chatted and then planned our day.
We decided to head north and walk up Snaefell. The idea was to drive along the mountain road, park at the Bungalow and walk up from there. We were soon stopped in our tracks though as the Mountain Road was closed. We therefore ended up driving through Laxey, getting held up in lots of traffic lights again and finally made it to Ramsey. We decided to park up on the seafront for a picnic lunch in the sunshine. The sun was indeed shining, the sea looked lovely and clear and we had a nice picnic. It was cold out though so we stayed mainly in the van. Morgan did try sitting outside briefly and I did go for a bit of a walk along the seafront while the others snoozed.
Christening the Campervan
Whilst in Ramsey we managed to have a bit of an issue with the middle seatbelt in the front of the van. The rear of the front bench seat folds flat and can then be used as a seat whilst sat at the table in the back. When folding the rear of the seat down it puts slack into the middle seatbelt. That’s fine, but if the seatbelt then tightens up whilst the rear of the seat is flat, it tightens even more when you then pull the seat back up. If it gets too tight it can actually pull past the little stopper on the belt and then the mechanism locks up and you can’t loosen the seatbelt. This is exactly what happened to us meaning that we now only had two functional seat belts in the front. Anna was relegated to the back seats until we could fix it.
It is however customary to name a campervan after the first place that it breaks down. We’re hoping not to ‘breakdown’ too often so decided that as this was the first mechanical issue we have had that we would call the camper ‘Ramsey’. So there you have it, Ramsey was now part of the family, even if he only had two seatbelts at the front for the time being.
After lunch we decided to see if we could get to The Bungalow via Sulby Glen. We headed off up the steep road to the top and could indeed park along the road here and therefore walk to the summit. The trams were still running but the Mountain Road was closed along it’s length so the road was eerily quiet as we walked towards the summit of Snaefell. Morgan of course had a little bit of a strop – that’s what 12 year old boys are supposed to do when they start walking up a hill though!
He soon got over it and it’s only a small walk so we were soon at the summit. We went to the trig point to see how many Kingdoms we could see. We could See the Kingdoms of Ireland, Scotland, England, Man, Heaven, and The Sea, but Wales was shrouded in mist and not visible. A nice cream tea in the cafe was visible though so we headed there and soon had tea and scones in front of us. I’m not so sure about their presentation though!
After tea and scones we headed back to the summit to find a geocache (we had used the Wi-Fi in the cafe to download the details). We then headed back down to the car, stopping off for a couple more geocaches on the way.
Playing in the River
We then stopped off alongside the river on our way back down through Sulby Glen. We set up camp here and played skimming stones and building dams. We then headed back to Pat’s for dinner and a relaxing evening with Anna’s Mum.