The route mostly tracks the Raad ny Foillan or “Way of the Gull” and takes in three steep ascents and several lesser ones. Two towers will be passed – one of which is accessible to the public. Carry plenty of water – you will need it. Every year a week long summer Walking Festival is held in the Isle of Man, based in Douglas. This walk usually features on the festival programme and for exhilarating views is hard to beat.
Our walk starts from Port Erin Railway Station, accessible by steam train or bus from Douglas. Walking towards the sea turn right at The Falcon Hotel and follow the promenade road towards Bradda. You will already see the curious structure of Milner’s Tower on Bradda Head, which is where we make for. It’s best to stay on the promenade road for some distance as several of the cliff paths have become unsafe and have now been closed. At grid ref. SC195697 a marked footpath takes you left along the Bradda Head Nature Walk, a concreted and tarmac path for some distance before it becomes rough as you follow the coast towards Milner’s Tower (pictured). There are 47 steps to the top and if you have a head for heights it’s worth going up for the view. Look south towards Cregneash and you will see the former home of Formula One driver Nigel Mansell who once lived on the Isle of Man.
Leaving the tower we follow the headland on top of the cliffs to the summit of Bradda Hill – one of the five Marilyn Summits on the IoM. Take care at grid ref. SC 193711 as the path comes close to the cliff edge (pictured). A steep descent takes us down to Fleshwick Bay – which looks perfect for a spot of smuggling. The descent down to the lane at Fleshwick is steep but grassy and we rejoin the Raad ny Foillan at it leaves the woodland just before the lane.
From Fleshwick Bay we ascend 1000 feet from sea level to Lhiatee ny Beinnee. Looking back to Bradda Head the view is good but gets even better on the next ascent. We now descend to touch the A36 road at grid ref. SC216734, where picnic tables are available. A few yards north take the footpath gate on your left, then keeping to the right hand path to follow the line of the road NNE for a short distance. The route now climbs to its highest point at 1434 ft and reaches the most dramatic viewpoint on this walk at the large cairn on top of Cronk ny Arrey Laa or “hill of the rise of day”. This is the spot where 1000 Manx people gathered at dawn on the Millennium to see the sunrise, and you can see why they chose this spot. The view north to Niarbyl (pictured) is the best in my opinion. The photograph does not do it justice.
Continue making sure when you reach the track junction (grid ref. SC225762) that you turn left and head for the sea. Niarbyl is the place where the film Waking Ned was made, purporting to be in the South of Ireland. Ned’s cottage is here (pictured). Climbing out of Niarbyl we take the minor road uphill turning left at the junction with the A27 in Dalby. The price we pay for sticking with the Raad ny Foillan to Niarbyl means we now have to suffer a 1.5 mile walk along the A27 road to Glen Maye. If you haven’t visited the Isle of Man don’t worry, the A27 is more like a country lane, with virtually no traffic!
Just before the hairpin bend into Glen Maye watch out for a steep path downhill on your left at grid ref. SC235796. This path takes us across the Glen to the Waterfall Hotel (Free House - Pictured), which closes during summertime from 4.00pm until 5.30pm. Leaving the pub keep to the north side of the coastal glen. You soon realise that Glen Maye is an extremely deep gorge with a sheer vertical drop to the left of the well maintained path. Looking north along the coast we see Corrins Hill (also known as Peel Hill) and its tower, a folly. Near to Ellan ny Maughol watch out for basking sharks - regular visitors here during the summer. This is close to the Bonnet Rock as it is known locally (pictured).
Continue north to a path junction (grid ref. SC230826). Our route now leaves the Raad ny Foillan and takes us up to Corrins Hill Tower. As well as the large square tower (built 1806) there are also other unexplained structures. The tower is kept locked. Thomas Corrin and members of his family are buried in the vicinity of it. We now head downhill to Peel (pictured) as we enter the harbour area near the famous Kipper House (Visitors welcome). From here follow the east side of the harbour to reach our watering hole “The Creek Inn” (pictured), which I recommend. A regular bus service will return you to Douglas, but allow 10 minutes on foot to reach the bus stop at Derby Road. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes.
Suggested Maps: In addition to OS Landranger Sheet 95 there is a walkers map of the Isle of Man at 1:25000 scale. This Outdoor Leisure Map consists of two sheets, North and South, in a plastic wallet. Produced and available from Ordnance Survey.
Acknowledgments: Alan, Geoff & Sue - Walk Leaders on the Isle of Man Walking Festival 2008. For more details go to the Isle of Man Walking Festival Website
OS Map showing start
Ordnance Survey Map showing starting point of walk - Click Here
It is recommended you take a map with you when following a walk route. The preferred scale is 1:25000 used by the Explorer series.
Note : If two maps are listed at the same scale then either (a) both are required for full coverage of the route or (b) the route is covered on both maps.
The Pines, Port Erin
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