Heritage Power Trail – Isle of Man

20 04 2017

Isle of Man flag


The last time I visited the Isle of Man was in 1964 and the railways were still in operation. Fast forward to 2016 and I had the notion that I would like to revisit the island and add another geocaching country to my list. I mentioned this to my brother who is half of team “zelger” and he said that this would be a great opportunity for a “lads reunion”. Anyway, time passed and nothing materialised due to everyone having commitments. Finally, in March 2017 I raised the idea again and booked my tickets for Easter 2017. Half of zelger decided that this was not an opportunity to be missed and booked tickets too.

The aim of the trip was twofold. Walk the Heritage Power Trail in a day and spend a day of nostalgia on the electric trams and steam trains on a second day. While we were at it I threw in a geocaching event so we could meet some of the local geocachers. A friendly bunch they were too. The event was Meet a Swede, which isn’t quite a lie as I have dual nationality. Teamkiisseli from Finland were relieved that they were able to speak English not Swedish and didn’t need to discuss ice-hockey.

The Heritage Power Trail crosses the Isle of Man from Douglas in the east to Peel in the west. There are other trails as well but this one seemed to be the definite trail and also gave us the chance to brag that we had walked across the island. After a hearty but early breakfast at our hotel we made our way through Douglas to the start of the trail. Well actually, the end of the trail. Number 1 is in Peel and the last one, number 79 is in Douglas. I had been watching the weather forecast for a few days and it seemed as though we may be in for a wet day. Apart from some light rain early on we had no problems. The sky remained cloudy most of the day but cleared up for a while in the afternoon. There were several information boards along the trail. This was close to Douglas.

Steam Heritage Trail – Douglas to Peel

Our walk together with lunch and a couple of other diversions took all day but was worth it as it gave a nice string of smilies right across the island.

Heritage Power Trail – done in a day!

The majority of the caches were micros, either film canisters placed in nifty little wire baskets on trees and fence post or PET preforms. A few of the caches were larger, notably the TB hotel, the letterbox and the bonus cache.

Bonus cache

Of course, as the trail follows a disused railway line there are no really tough gradients. I think that the highest point we reached was 49 m asl. There were various remains from the days of the active railway, amongst them a couple of rusty bridges like this one.

A rail bridge across a river

The old station at Union Mills has gone along with all the track but there are details available on line for those interested.

Maps of the trail at Union Mills

Historical railway crane at Union Mill

After the third run of micros it was great to find the TB hotel. There was a TB in the box that we picked up and took with us along the trail.

zelger extracting a TB from the trail’s TB hotel

Even though it was overcast and only about 8 degrees C spring was still well on it’s way and there were flowers of all kinds along the trail. These were just some of them.

Plenty of flowers along the trail

Needless to say we were pleased to get to HPT #24 at Tynwald Hill so that we could get lunch. We got there a couple of hours later than expected but a couple of pints of beer to replenish our fluids and a hearty Manx cheese sandwich put us back in good spirits. I had originally planned to find a handful of caches at Tynwald Hill but decided to skip them as we were running late. Tynwald is also the name of the legislature for the island of Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man).

Tynwald Hill – of historic significance for Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man)

As we neared Peel the track followed the River Neb and the scenery changed somewhat. There was plenty of bird life including this heron.

Heron and mill wheel

Heron

After the intial difficulty we had finding HPT #76 the rest of the caches were easily found, until we got to Peel that is. HPT #2 was located at a sign but we couldn’t see anything. As we were searching we heard a voice. “Are you looking for the geocache? It’s in the …” It was a local guy getting something out of a nearby parked car. He saved our day. He had probably given the same hint to others before us too.

Peel Harbour

As we arrived at Peel Harbour we just had HPT #1 to find and that was a nano under a bench. Of course there were four people sitting there but we HAD to find that cache so we told them what we were doing and suddenly there were six people on their hands and knees searching for the cache. We found it after a rather long search much to our relief. All that remained was to get the bus back to Douglas. We had to wait an hour as it was Easter Monday and the busses were not running the regular weekday service. Once on the bus we were back in Douglas ready for dinner in just over half an hour.








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