Monday, 26 August 2013

A Day Spent With Loulee

We have no real plans of what to do from day to day, just deciding each day after breakfast.  The other day we decided to head north, so gave Loulee a call to see if she was free and care to join us.  Yes, she would like to tag along.

Our first port of call was Jurby Junk.  This is an island institution and lives up to its name.

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No treasures to be found here.

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Next door is Jurby Books.  There may be some treasures there, but you’d never find them.

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Our next port of call was the Transport Museum.  Although only relatively small, there were some interesting items on display. 

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It was great to see the little train that ran along the Queens Pier in Ramsay that we had learnt about only a couple of day before.  It was good to see that it hadn’t been scrapped.

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There was also a great range of buses that have worked on the island since their inception in the late 1920s.

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The northern area of the island is quite different to the south, being flat and sandy.  It had been the location of an Air Force base during WWII and in the years following that time.  There are still quite a few reminders, the Jurby AIrfield, which housed Jurby Junk and the Transport Museum, to concrete roads and bunkers.

We had to visit the Point of Ayre.  This is the most northern part of the island and we have visited there each time and written our message with the stones.

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The sea here is quite rough as the currents from both sides of the island meet.  Lou informed us it is known as “the strews”.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really show up here, but the current is incredibly fast.

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Strangely enough, there were two lighthouses and a fog horn.  Fancy that.  More lighthouses to photograph.

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The reason there is the second lighthouse (the one at the front of the above photo) is that the island is growing here and the first one became too far inland. 

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The fog horn is no longer used.

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Apparently, most of the lighthouses in this region and western Scotland were built by the Stephenson family (father and uncle of Robert Louis Stephenson).

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It was fun wandering along the beach seeing what had been washed up among the stones.  No sand here.

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Loulee wouldn’t let me take a photo of a dead sea gull, but that was there too, as was quite a bit of plastic.  I didn’t take photos of that either.

Speaking of birds, the Ayres are a popular bird breeding ground and an area is fenced off for the arctic terns.  We were lucky enough to see one.

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While we were there we also saw the Sea Packet car ferry go past.  Boy, it sure travels, but Lou informed us that it was just cruising and can go much quicker.

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By then we were a bit peckish, so time to have a nice lunch in a little tea rooms.  OK, ready to keep on exploring.

We enjoyed wandering along the beaches.  I just hope that Lou wasn’t too bored with us.  She was an absolute mine of information about the area that increased our enjoyment of our time there immensely.  I think she surprised herself with how much she remembered about the area.

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The other two beaches we visited were quite different from the Point of Ayre, in that they were flatter and sandy, with dunes behind them, creating nice, protected areas for families to set up camp for a day out.

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More beach combing.

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A dog whelk egg case. A dog whelk is a spiral shellfish. I think I’ve remembered the name correctly, but maybe not.  There is so much to take in.

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A sea weed root, but it’s not called that.  I’ve forgotten, but I think it is a hold fast, or something like that. I’m sure Lou will correct me in her comments (please).

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I may not have taken a picture of the dead sea bird,  but I snuck in the dead fish.

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We saw quite a few seals.  They seemed to be rather inquisitive, watching us as we watched them. 

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There were also gannetts.  They are spectacular to watch as they tuck their wings right behind them as the nosedive into the water.

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And oyster catchers.

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Of course, I found some more wild flowers.  I was pleased to find an interpretive board which named a few of them and Lou knew some others.

I’ve now learnt that this is the national flower of the Isle of Man.  I can’t remember its proper name, but it is also known as ragwart.

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This is white heather.

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“Sea Holly” was one that I recognised, as it was something that we had grown in our garden at home.

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Marram Grass.

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Streng Bow, although Lou has grown up knowing them as heartsease, which makes sense, as the top petal is heart shaped.

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Sea Sandwart

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I’ve no idea what this one is, but it is tiny, smaller than your little fingernail.

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These little roses were minute.  Think of commercial miniature roses and shrink them to about quarter of the size.  The were just like a ground cover grass.  See the blades of grass, they are fine, like rye grass or something similar, to give you some idea how tiny they were.

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We were surprised when we looked at the clock after our exploring.  We had spent about six hours just moseying around the north of the island.  It was a really relaxing time.  However, as practice was to start before too long we thought we had better deliver Lou back home and get ourselves track side.

Thanks Lou for spending your day with us.  It was a real treat.


loulee said...

I had a lovely day out with you guys. It's been great to be able to spend so much time with you.

Fairy Floss Stitches said...

I love lighthouses too!
sounds like you are having a fabulous time!

Jennifer Reynolds said...

Seriously, you two girls could be twins in that photo! I love it!
Such an interesting day our dream will come true.