Having arrived in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man (IOM), with an entire afternoon ahead of me, I decided to take a stroll through the city centre and acquaint myself with this legendary island. Although I had just spent the last three hours sitting on a ferry I was exhausted, for it had been a late night with my friends in Dublin and a long walk to the Dublin Port. To make a long story short, Kathryn met up with me after she got off work and I had a lovely place to stay in Castletown for a week.
My first few days on the Isle were dedicated to lots of walking around and exploration. The TT races (oldest, most famous, and most deadly motorcycle races in the world) didn’t start until Saturday, so I had some time to wander. The land is absolutely beautiful, and we had some fine weather to boot. On Friday Kathryn and I hung around Douglas to watch some of the practice races. While we were there we ran into a few of her friends, who planned on watching the races on Saturday. I didn’t have anybody to go with, so they invited me to join them; awesome! Saturday morning I hitchhiked from Castletown to Douglas, as it’s about a fifteen-minute drive (I could have taken the bus but hitchhiking is so much more adventurous!) and met up with Andrew, David, Tracy, and Jack (Andrew and David are brothers; David and Tracy are married; Jack is Andrew’s son; Andrew’s wife Beverley was not present on Saturday). After watching some bikes speed by at Bray Hill, we hopped into the car and drove through the center of the Isle, across Druidale, and down to the west coast, where we watched more high-speed racing from Ballaugh Bridge and then from Ballacraine. When I had arrived on the Isle I certainly hadn’t expected to get a driving tour of the island, but thanks to Kathryn’s friends I was able to see so much more of this beautiful place.
I could go on and on about the races, but I’ll keep it at that. Besides watching high-powered machines on two wheels fly by on the deadliest road-racing track in the world, I had the privilege of meeting some of Kathryn’s friends, hanging out in a pub or two, and spending some time on the beach listening to live music and watching fireworks, beach dirt bike and ATV racing, and the Royal Air Force Red Arrows air show. A petrol head’s dream (the only thing lacking was car racing).
One evening, while sitting on the beach chatting with some new friends, I met a friend of a friend of Kathryn’s who has a friend in Edinburgh. When this person (Grace) heard I was Edinburgh-bound, she lit up with excitement and immediately called this friend of hers (Neale). Fortunately for me, Neale was willing to take me under his wing when I arrived. He was to take a weekend drive to the Isle of Skye, and I was welcome to join him; more on this later (in a future post, not this one 😛 ). All in all, the IOM experience was great. Lots of countryside and coastal walks, lots of thinking and contemplating, lots of motorcycle racing, and lots of friendly faces. After a week in paradise it was time to move to a bigger island, and once again I found myself reluctantly leaving new found friends. On the morning of the fifth of June I rose early, put on my backpack, and hitchhiked (again) to Douglas. A very nice taxi driver named Keith was on his way to work in Douglas, so he gave me a lift directly to the ferry building! Boarding the ferry was hassle-free, and soon I was on my way to England. God save the queen.
- Isle of Man TT crash injures 11 spectators (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Isle of Man TT: Japanese rider Yoshinari Matsushita killed (independent.co.uk)