The Isle of Man!

Coastal Path Day 8: Point of Ayre to Ramsey,

Go to: Day 1: Douglas to Castletown, Day 2: Castletown to Port St Mary, Day 3: Port St Mary to Port Erin, Day 4: Port Erin to Dalby, Day 5: Dalby to Peel, Day 6: Peel to Kirk Michael, Day 7: Kirk Michael to Point of Ayre, Day 9: Ramsey to Laxey Day 10: Laxey to Douglas.
A shorter lighthouse, and redundant foghorn, at the Point of Ayre mark not only a literal turning point in the walk but also a figurative one as we head south again towards our original starting point of Douglas. The heavy shingle beach dips rapidly into deep water as this point moves ever so slowly north-eastwards into the Irish Sea...
Looking beyond the useful sign at the short lighthouse, the heavy shingle is quite obvious. This is not easy stuff to walk on.
Fortunately, the first part of this section of the walk is on top of the bank - which has been levelled and supports some plant growth. This makes walking much easier than it would be on the beach.
There comes a point however, when you have to descend to the beach. Some bits of shingle are easier to walk than others and we each find our level. The ominous black clouds in the distance are over Maughold Head, the mountains and our destination, Ramsey - almost visible in the distance.
As we progress south, the shingle gradually diminishes. Near Phurt the remains of a former gravel jetty are visible amongst the other stones.
There is even a whole section of brick wall which is gradually being eroded by wave, wind and tide.
Phurt is the nearest place to visit Bride.
Like those at Kirk Michael, Andreas and elsewhere, the little church at Bride contains a collection of old celtic and saxon crosses.
Just a sample are shown here.
Bride church is also the location of the grave of the late Norman Wisdom. The comedian lived out his last days in a nursing home on the island but previously lived in his own home not far from here.
The coastline from Jurby to the Point of Ayre is generally convex. This means that one is forever trying to look ahead round a corner. On the other hand, the coast from the Point of Ayre to Ramsey is largely concave - except from a short section near Bride which stops you seeing from end to end but allows you to see either end from the centre! The intervening hills at Bride are the remains of a glacial moraine which came originally from the mountains to the south - hence the large quantities of clay here :-)
Ferries regularly round the Point of Ayre - for example this Steam Packet Co catamaran en route from Ireland to the English mainland via Douglas. The engineer in me though recognises, and is irritated by, the waste of energy indicated by the white plume at the stern!
It is around this same point in our walk that we see the last significant shingle and we are left with this vast expanse of sand - stretching northwards....
...and southwards - as Ramsey gets closer.
The gently shelving beach also means that the water is shallow for quite a long way out and more strange underwater formations appear.
Some of these underwater formations however might be alive! In this photograph three seals are watching us. Two are heads, just poking out the water beyond the rocks, whilst the third watches from the last sand bfore the main rocks - just to the right of centre.
The bride hills are actually quite substantial - but it is quite amazing to think that all this earth came from around Snaefell in the distance during the last ice age.
As we have seen, some parts of these hills are clay - but here they are just sand.
A dead dogfish on the foreshore.
Not a giant animal vertebra - just an unusually weathered piece of rock.
This appeared to be part of the side of a wooden vessel - presumably the remains of some wreck.
Passing Dog Mills, a small stream heads towards the sea and there is a footpath here up to the hamlet.
Looking across Ramsey Bay towards the route of tomorrow's walk along Maughold Head.
The view back towards the Point of Ayre - now with the Bride hills in the way.
Coming to the end of 7 miles of magnificent, and varied, beach we approach the northern end of the promenade at Ramsey.
As we approached, we were vaguely aware of something red on the first post. Bizarrely, this turned out to be a fez - held in place by a large stone. Naturally we had to adorn it in the style of our friends the Fabulous Fezheads before returning it to the position in which we had found it.
At the north end of the 'prom' the Grand Island Hotel was boarded up - yet another victim of the island's obsession with having everything in Douglas?
A good promenade took us down to the north side of the harbour.
On the way we pass the site of the 'Ramsey Sprint'. This is a TT week event...
03062008-002-ramsey.jpg which all comers can queue to have a go at getting their fastest time over a short straight track.
Reaching the north side of the harbour, a new sports centre contains an interesting, but useful combination of cafe, chinese restaurant and ice-cream parlour!

Here you can see the swingbridge to cross to continue the walk.

However, this is the upper end of Ramsey Harbour - near the fixed bridge you may choose to cross if the swingbridge lower down is unavailable. On the hill to the right is the Albert Tower.
A little lower down on the north side and the swingbridge is now in view.
Ramsey Harbour is fully tidal. This is the start of the deep water section on the south side. The sea lies beyond the furthest buildings.
Looking the other way - at high tide - with the main road bridge visible.
Across on the north side is a busy shipyard.
Right on the harbourside is this signwriter's fine, err, sign!
Beyond the buildings, the harbour entrance is protected by two long stone piers. This tug is heading inward.
Walking along the promenade at Ramsey shows what a fine resort this is. However, in the distance is the sadly derelict Queen's Pier - and beyond can be seen the hills toward Maughold Head where the next days walking takes us.
Go to: Day 1: Douglas to Castletown, Day 2: Castletown to Port St Mary, Day 3: Port St Mary to Port Erin, Day 4: Port Erin to Dalby, Day 5: Dalby to Peel, Day 6: Peel to Kirk Michael, Day 7: Kirk Michael to Point of Ayre, Day 9: Ramsey to Laxey Day 10: Laxey to Douglas.