The Extraordinary Isle of Man
Walks and archaeology on Ellan Vanin
Ellan Vannin - the Isle of Man – located in the middle of the Irish sea, ringed by Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales and England, is neither part of the UK or the EU, is governed by its own parliament, the Tynwald, and boasts its own distinct traditions and culture. We explore the stunning natural landscapes of this magical 33-mile-long island discovering some of its rich archaeology and history from the Neolithic period and the Iron Age, its Celtic and Norse past and modern history under the control of the Earls of Derby, the Dukes of Athol and then the British Crown. This tour includes some lovely gentle walks along coast and through rolling countryside (none more than 4 miles).
Day 1 - Douglas
We meet at our hotel in Douglas, our base for the week. There will be an introductory lecture this evening before we have dinner together as a group.
|Hotel||Hotel Regent, Douglas|
Day 2 - Douglas & King Orry’s Grave
This morning we take the train from Derby Castle to Laxey Station using the Manx Electric Railway. Acknowledged as the longest narrow gauge vintage electric railway system in the British Isles, the beautiful original Victorian and Edwardian rolling stock are still in use. The rest of the morning is on foot as we complete a scenic circular walk taking in the Great Laxey Wheel (climbing to the top of the huge water wheel affords magnificent views of the valley below), the charming village of Agneash and King Orry's Grave, a Neolithic chambered cairn (approx. 4 miles). After lunch we drive to Cashtal yn Ard and Ballafayle, where we explore these Neolithic chambered tombs. Our last stop of the day is to Kirk Maughold Church, the site of an early monastery with Celtic and Norse memorials.
Day 3 - Braaid & Port Erin
Today we travel to the west and south of the island starting with the very well-preserved stone foundations at Braaid, an Iron Age and Norse settlement site. We continue to Meayll Hill and walk to Meayll Circle, a really unusual Neolithic chambered tomb, difficult to parallel in the British Isles. From here we walk to Cregneash (approx. 0.5 miles), crofting heritage centre where we see plough horses, Loaghtan sheep and shorthorn cows. After lunch we drive to the Sound where we admire the views overlooking Kitterland and the Calf of Man before walking to the Burroo Ned promontory fort. We return to Douglas from Port Erin where we take the Isle of Man Steam train.
Day 4 - Glen Mooar & Kirk Andreas
We start our day with a short walk from the beautiful Glen Mooar to Cabbal Pheric an early Christian burial site. Here we will also see the Spooyt Vane waterfall, one of the highest on the island which flows in three stages to a tranquil pool below. The rest of our day is spent exploring the island’s Norse heritage with visits to Kirk Michael, a Neo-Gothic church which boasts an impressive collection of Norse grave markers, Kirk Bride with its crosses decorated with pictorial as well as geometric imagery and Kirk Andreas where we see a collection of stones which show high levels of art and include iconography drawn from both Christian sources and Norse legends. Of particular interest are Gaut’s cross, the Sigurd cross, Thorwald’s cross and Sandulf’s cross.
Day 5 - Balladoole & Derby Fort
This morning sees us at Chapel Hill, Balladoole situated on a low-lying hill which nevertheless commands panoramic views over the south of the Island and out to sea. The site has variously been used for settlement, defence, burial and worship depending on the priorities of the people at the time. Here we see the Iron Age fort, Viking ship burial and a Celtic/Norse chapel. From here we walk to Close ny Chollagh where we explore the promontory fort and continue around Scarlett Head to Castletown where we meet our bus and drive to Rushen Abbey. In the afternoon we visit Castle Rushen, a well-preserved medieval stronghold before heading to St Michael’s Isle where we explore St. Michael’s Chapel and Derby Fort.
Day 6 - Tynwald Hill & Douglas
We travel to the village of St. John’s where we visit St. John’s Chapel and Tynwald Hill. The chapel replaced a string of earlier buildings and is probably on the site of an early Christian keeill and the land which surrounds it was important to Viking settlers as the focus for the midsummer open-air assembly where judgements were given. The Tynwald still plays a prominent role in Manx government. Next, we visit the Manannan Museum with its exhibitions depicting the Celtic period of the Isle of Man to the modern era, including a life size reconstruction of a Celtic roundhouse. From here we take a short walk to Peel Castle originally constructed by the Vikings in the 11th century. Our last visit of the day will be to the Manx Museum to view its excellent collection of artefacts unique to the Isle of Man.
Day 7 - Douglas
After breakfast this morning, our tour comes to a close. We say our goodbyes and we make our way home independently from Douglas.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Professional Tour Manager
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
- All taxes & gratuities
- Field notes
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Availability|
|3 September 2024||AISM240903||3 September 2024 (Tuesday)||9 September 2024 (Monday)||Dr Andrew Foxon||£2,720
|£750||£0||Book your trip|