Isle of Man Coast Path Run – Douglas to Derby Haven

As mentioned in an earlier post:

As I’ve been gradually running around the coast of Wales, I thought that while I was on the Isle of Man I may as well start running around that as well. At around 100 miles it’s a fair bit shorter than running around Wales and should be achievable even by someone who only visits the island occasionally.

Douglas seemed like a suitable place to start, so here’s how it went.

It was a rather grey day with a little bit of drizzle as I set off from the Steam Packet Terminal through the busy streets of Douglas. Anna and Morgan passed me in the van as I crossed the bridge over the harbour and made my way up towards Douglas Head. From the top of Douglas Head it was out through a grand arched gateway onto Marine Drive. Marine Drive links Douglas with Port Siderick and hugs this part of the Manx coast. It provides lovely views out over the sea. Marine Drive was originally opened as the route of the Douglas Southern Electric Railway which opened in 1896, closed in 1939, and never reopened after the war.

Onto Marine Drive

A major project to build a new Marine Drive started in 1960 and took two years to complete. The new Marine Drive was officially opened on May 9, 1962. It complemented the efforts of Douglas Corporation to restore and develop Port Soderick as a popular resort. However in 1977 the collapse of the roadway at Horse Leap forced the closure of the Marine Drive to traffic and it remains closed today. Rock falls continue to be a problem and the dangers of the road were highlighted in January 2016 when three people were rescued miraculously unharmed when a car plunged over the cliff in bad weather.

Today it was fairly easy going for me as I plodded along the clifftops on the closed road. There were a few people out dog walking but that was about it. The cliffs were fairly spectacular though despite the greyness.

Marine Drive Cliffs

Eventually I came to the end of Marine Drive and ran through the little village of Port Soderick. Here I left the road behind me and ran down a muddy track towards the beach. Muddy steps followed and soon I was running across the beach and back up through the wooded hillside of Port Soderick National Glen. It was warming up now so off came my coat. There were a few paths closed in the Glen and lots of work had recently been carried out to resurface and widen paths. It all looked a little stark but will no doubt be lovely and green again soon.

From here it was a climb up onto the road and a detour inland for a while. The route took me along the Old Castletown Road through Crogga and past some mansions. On I plodded until I was directed to head back towards the coast through a number of fields and farmlands. Back on the coast it was time for more fields and some longer section of tricky coast path. Narrow paths along the clifftops with some sheer drops to one side. Uneven, rocky and sometimes muddy ground, stiles, gates, steps and sometimes running along the tops of old stone walls. The going was fairly tough as the path snaked it’s way along the clifftops and plunged down into secluded bays.

Port Grenaugh came and went as I made my way ever closer to Derby Haven. I wasn’t sure how far I would go today, but I was tired already. I think the last few days of travelling had worn me down somewhat so I was already looking forward to stopping. My feet were sore too. I started deciding that Derby Haven would be my destination for the day. It took a while to arrive in the distance though. The cliffs gradually reduced in height as I neared Derby Haven and passed several secluded bays.

Secluded Bay

What I hadn’t expected was a detour through yet another little glen as I headed inland through a wooded valley to cross a little stream. It was then down through some fields to the end of the Ronaldsway Airport runways where I ran along sandwiched between the high fence and the coast defences. I finally arrived at Derby Haven and continued to lod along the seafront until Anna arrived in the van to take me home.

A good start to my Isle of Man Coast Path run. Only 13.5 miles covered so a long way to go yet but it was a nice section of path and gets yet another running project underway

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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