The Raad ny Foillan (The Way of the Gull) is a 95 -mile (153 Km) path around the coastline of the Isle of Man (IOM). Simple in its outline you walk clockwise round the island with the sea always on your left side.
The island sits in the Irish Sea surrounded by the British Isles and when you land everything seems familiar but look closer and you will discover a unique place. It is a self-governing Crown Dependency and not part of the EU. It issues its own currency (but thankfully this is interchangeable with Stirling) and stamps, there are red telephone boxes that work – which is handy as your mobile thinks it’s abroad and they have very sensible laws about the brewing of beer. There is also a strong presence of the Celtic and Viking cultures.
The Way off the Gull passes a variety of landscapes from dramatic cliffs, high hills, quiet coves, extensive beaches and coastal towns. For those interested in flora and fauna there is much to see as well as the opportunity to visit extensive historical remains. There are other interests on the island namely a whole variety of Victorian horse drawn trams, electric and steam trains and a mountain railway. As well as adding to the quirky nature of the place these can be used to add a different element to your walk.
You can fly to the island or travel across to the Isle of Man on the ferry.
What better way to complete the Isle of Man coast Path than by walking the trail at your own pace with this self-guided trip.
Day 1 - Arrive Douglas Day 2 - Douglas to Castletown - 14. 5 miles (23.3 km), if walking the peninsula 16.5 miles (26.3 km) Day 3 - Castletown to Port Erin - 13.5 miles (22 km) Day 4 - Port Erin to Peel - 16 miles (26 km) Day 5 - Peel to Jurby – 15 miles (24 km) Day 6 - Jurby to Ramsey - 15 miles (24 km) Day 7 - Ramsey to Laxey - 12.5 miles (20 km) Day 8 – Laxey to Douglas – 9 miles (15 km) Day 9 – Departure Day
Sorry you can’t start this holiday in between the following dates (due to the TT races and Manx Grand Prix)
23rd May – 19th June 2020 - Isle of Man TT
15th August – 13th September 2020 - Manx Grand Prix
Day : 1 - Arrive Douglas
If you arrive by plane (Ronaldsway airport) you can get to Douglas via Taxi (20 minutes) or bus (35 minutes - £5.70 one way)
If you arrive by ferry (from Heysham, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Belfast or Dublin) it is a short walk from the ferry terminal to the first nights’ accommodation or a very short taxi journey.
Settle into your accommodation and perhaps enjoy trying an ale in the local pub.
Day : 2 - Douglas to Castletown -
14.5 miles (23.3 km) if walking the peninsula 16.5 miles (26.3 km)
From Douglas promenade the path climbs quickly to a vantage point above the bay where you have a good view across the town and harbour. The path then follows a road which was the route of a Victorian electric train track for a while. This is now either traffic free or very quiet and gives a fine introduction to coastal walking.
It is worth stopping a number of times to watch the nesting birds on the cliffs below and look at the flowers growing along the banks.
At Port Soderick the old line stops and you head inland for a short way where the path takes a diversion up Soderick Glen. There are several these Glens to cross on the coastal path and they make a pleasant change to the coast. Often, they have tumbling streams emerging at little bays on the beach and the plant and bird life is different to what you find on the coastal path. The only disadvantage is you usually have to descend all the way to sea level only to climb back up again!
You re-joine the coastal path and the route hugs the cliff tops or on occasions drops onto the down slope of the cliffs.
Due to footpath erosion, a temporary diversion takes you away from the coast but it had the advantage of taking you past Santon Church. The rest of the day was straightforward and the path soon dropped to sea level around the outskirts of Ronaldsway.
On this day you can add on the 'Derbyhaven – Langness peninsula loop’, which is at the end of this days walking just before you reach Castletown. If you choose to do this it would add an extra 4 miles (6.5km) to this days walking.
You will have an overnight stay in Castletown tonight.
Day : 3 - Castletown to Port Erin
13.5 miles (22 km)
The day starts gently enough with a stroll along the coast into the lovely town of Port St Mary. Passing the harbour headland you start to climb to part of the coast known as the Chasms. From here you can peer down these clefts in the cliffs with the sea crashing below and cliff rising above.
You now walk along a very dramatic section of the coast around The Sound. The cliffs now rise and the scenery is dramatic to say the least.
It is worth visiting the Sound Visitor Centre to escape the wind and check out the tea and cake where from inside there are fine views over to the Calf of Man an island just across a narrow gap. Once refreshed you can walk the remaining section of cliff path before dropping dramatically into the bay at Port Erin and to your overnight accommodation.
Day : 4 - Port Erin to Peel
16 miles ( 26 km )
Leaving Port Erin you quickly gain height up to a great viewpoint at Bradda Head. The first half of the day you climb up and over three distinct hills of Bradda, Lhiattee ny Beinee and the highest point on the coastal path of Cronk ny Arrey Laa at just over 1400 feet (426m).
If the weather is good you can enjoy magnificent views all around and in the distance, make out the Mountains of Mourne in Ireland. If the weather was bad this wouldn’t be a place to get caught but there is an alternative lower path around the hilly section.
Leaving the summit, you need to keep a close eye on the map and ground as there is a tricky descent off the top down to almost sea level on the coast. An exposed section of path led to an alternate route to the pretty Niarbyl Bay (and café!).
There is a bit of road walking for a couple of miles and then the final section to Peel is delightful with the last few miles along a cliff top terrace with views now across to the Galloway coast. You will arrive into Peel after a challenging and varied day and looking forward to a good evening meal. You will be staying in Peel this evening.
Day : 5 - Peel to Jurby
15 miles (24 km)
After yesterday today is far simpler, the route split in about half along and old railway track and half along the beach.
Leaving Peel you soon picked up the railway track which wound its way along the coast, sometimes right on the cliff top with delightful views out across the sea.
At Glen Moar you dropped onto the beach and walked below boulder clay cliffs if the tides are right. If not there is an alternate around to Kirk Michael.
If you have time the curch in Kirk Michael is certainly worth a visit. If you get chance you will see the dozen or more fine examples of crosses and slabs dating back to the 7-11th century. Decorated with a mixture of Christian and pagan symbols I was to visit several churches around the route that contain such slabs and they are well worth a visit.
The next 12 km presents no problem along the wide sand flats to Jurby.
For two nights you will be staying in Ramsey on the east coast and we will transfer you over there at the end of this days walking.
Day : 6 - Jurby to Ramsey
15 miles (24 km)
This is a very different day as you are walking north east along the flat coast up to Ayre point and then turning suddenly south to Ramsey.
At the start of the day we will again transfer you back to Jurby.
This day you walk up the beach to and then further north at Blue Point on the path to Ayre following a route just inside the dunes across a broad plain of heath all the way to the lighthouse at Point of Ayre.
From here you swing south and it is wide sand flats and marching 10k (6 miles) back to Ramsey.
Day : 7 - Ramsey to Laxey
12.5 miles (20 km)
Although the route now starts to pass through the most built up and populate areas there are still some great sections.
On this day it is certainly worth a visit to the church at Maughold which has connections with St Patrick and early Christianity. In the grounds there is a shelter containing over 40 crosses and slabs dating to the 6th to 12th centuries.
Moving on there is some quiet lane walking which passes other historical sites of interest before dropping into the Ballaglas Glen and climbing out via Glen Mora then it is just a short walk into Laxey. You will have a transfer to your overnight accommodation in Ramsey.
Day : 8 - Laxey to Douglas
9 miles (14.5 km)
Laxey is a fascinating place with a history of mining and containing the world’s largest working waterwheel. This is also where the electric train along the coast and the Snaefell Mountain Railway meet.
Following the quiet old drove road between Laxey and Douglas it is worth calling into the church of St Onan, or St Adamnan’s. St Onan was an Irish Saint and Abbot of Iona in 679. Well worth a visit the church, it is in a lovely setting dating back to the 5th century and has a standing wheel cross in the grounds dating back to 7th-9th century.
Further on you climb away from a quite bay at Port Grundle and you have a short section of road before dropping back on to the cliff path.
Within sight of Douglas the path holds one more surprise as it clings to the cliff top crossing the boundaries of some very nice looking properties!
All there is to do now is to follow the promenade back to my start on the Douglas sea front. There was only one thing left to do and find somewhere for a celebratory cuppa and slice of cake.
This evening you will again be staying in Douglas.
Day : 9 - Departure Day
This day you will depart the Island after a great journey around a special Island
WHAT THE PRICE INCLUDES
(A) Bed and Breakfast accommodation (twin or double share basis). (B) Route map, guide book and trip notes specific to your trip, including emergency contact numbers. (C) Luggage transfers between accommodation. (E) Transfers from Jurby to Ramsey and back again (F) 24 hour emergency back-up service.
WHAT THE PRICE EXCLUDES
(A) Any additional transfers not mentioned in the dossiers. (B) Personal clothing and equipment. (C) Insurance (D) Lunch and Evening meals. (E) Single room option (if required, see single supplement) (F) Pick up and drop off at airports or sea terminal.
The Shepherds Walks Representative will : B) Provide you with maps, guidebook and talk you through the route over the phone if you request this. C) Provide you with information relating to events in the area during your time there. D) Arrange the transportation of your luggage. E) Be available should you have any problems during your trip.
We are here to offer you the best holiday you could ever imagine and we aim to do this through the personal service that we offer.
Make your holiday run smoothly – We are here for you. Our sole objective is for us to help you. We are here at any stage of your holiday and even in the planning stages. We tailor things to your requirements, not those of the masses.
We don’t cut corners - We want to see you again and want you to speak highly of Shepherds Walks Holidays. This is why we are literally willing to go that extra mile. The information you receive at every stage will be clear and leave you asking no questions.
We have personally walked all the trips we offer - We know exactly what you are going to embark on and can advise you on any aspects of your holiday over and well above what many of our competitors can.
Press choose to walk with us – Shepherds Walks Holidays are asked to deliver a very high percentage of the trips for journalists in the region. When the Tourist Boards are approached by a journalist wanting to visit the area who do they ask to provide their holiday or take them out walking? Shepherds Walks.
We have had press trips on all our routes and the articles speak for themselves.
Protected Holiday - All our holidays are protected through the operation of a Trust Account.
We are close at hand if you need us – We are a local business and if you need us at any time during your holiday just ask. If you are on a self guided trip we often will catch up with you, even over a drink one evening, just to make sure everything is going well. It’s better to iron out any little problems during your holiday, rather than hearing about them when you are back at home.
We enjoy great relationships with your accommodation providers and they will help us to help you
As we are literally on the doorstep we know the best places to stay. Often we will have block booked the best accommodation the previous year. We want our customers to stay in the best possible accommodation. As we know the proprietors personally and we liaise with them regularly they will go that extra mile to help us to help you whilst out on your route.
That is why Shepherds Walks has won awards and has helped people relax and totally enjoy their visit to this wonderful part of the country. We are willing to go that extra mile!
Can I add an rest day into my walking holiday?
Yes you can at any point, just get in touch and we can discuss the best options for this trip.
What type of accommodation will we be staying in - self guided trip
The accommodation on the tours are in Inns, family-run hotels, and Bed and Breakfasts. We endeavour to provide en-suite accommodation.
Do you move our bags for us on our walking holiday?
Yes, we move your bags for you everyday. You just leave your main bag at your accommodation and we will move it for you, so it will be at your next nights accommodation waiting for you.
You just carry your day pack.
Your baggage allowance for the trip is one main piece of luggage which should be preferably either a backpack/rucksack or sports bag, and one small daypack. Try to travel as light as possible. It is best to avoid large solid hardtop suitcases as these cause difficulties on transfer vehicles etc.
The larger piece of luggage will travel on the vehicle between accommodations and the daypack should be suitable for carrying any additional outer-layer clothing and items you will need on your walk during the day. As a general rule, we would recommend that your main piece of luggage shouldn't weigh more than 15 - 20 kilos.
Do I need travel insurance?
If you are coming to the UK from overseas it is a condition of our tours that you are covered by medical and personal travel insurance that includes repatriation to your home country. If you are a UK resident medical and personal travel insurance is also recommended. If you have not organised appropriate insurance yet, please do so before you travel.
Do you provide maps and a guidebook of the trail?
Yes we do, we provide the Harvey Map for this route and also more detailed maps to guide you to your accommodation each night. You also will receive detailed trip notes that we have compiled which has everything you need in it to really help you make a great walk into a holiday of a lifetime.
I see I get 15% off any purchases at Cotswold Outdoor, how and where can I use this?
Shepherds Walks Holidays have negotiated this special discount for you to use.
Four weeks before your departure, when you receive all your holiday info you will also receive full information about how to get 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor.
This you can use In-store, Online, Click & Collect and Mail Order.