[from Jenkinson's Practical Guide, 1874]
St. Johns, 8½ miles ; Glen Meay, 12 miles ; Dalby (Niarbyl Point), 14 miles ; Foxdale, 20 miles ; St. Marks, 23 miles ; Douglas, 30 miles.
This is a drive rarely undertaken by tourists, yet it is, we think, one of the most delightful on the island, for it conducts through a greater variety of wild and beautiful coast and inland scenery than is to be met with in any other single days excursion.
The journey may be varied in many ways, but perhaps the plan as stated above will be found the best. Some persons will, however, take the train to Peel, and there hire a conveyance, and send it home from St. Johns empty, whilst they return to Douglas by rail. Others will descend from the Round Table to the southern part of the island, and then return either by St. Marks or Ballasalla. Each of the various plans will be found fully described.
Those who drive from Douglas must refer to page 48. After crossing the railway at St. Johns station, enter the road which branches to the right, and runs along the northern foot of Slieu Whallin, by the side of the stream from Foxdale. Just below the point where this stream is joined by the one from Glen Helen, the two forming the Neb or Peel river, the road winds to the left, and passes through a pleasantly wooded district, to the parish church of St. Patrick, distant 2½ miles from St. Johns. Here the road is entered which runs from Peel to Glen Meay.
Travellers starting from Peel will cross the Neb river ½ mile out of the town, at Camerills Bridge, close to the Glenfaba corn-mills. When over the stream the ivy-covered bridge presents a pretty appearance, a fit subject for the artists pencil. For the next mile to the church, the Peel hill, crowned with Corrins tower, is on the right, and more distant, on the left, Greeba and Slieu Whallin.
St. Patricks parish church is a plain unpretending edifice, consecrated by Bishop Wilson in 1715. The parish had previously been united with that of St. German. The bell-turret is of the Manx type, and contains only a single bell, and the graveyard is not enriched with any Runic crosses.
From the church the road slightly ascends, leaving on the right the hill upon which stands Corrins tower, and directly in front, over the Dalby hill peers the top of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, and then again quickly disappears.
If the traveller remember that he is approaching the neighbourhood of Glen Rushen, famed in days of yore for being the favourite haunt of the Phynnodderee, he will hardly be surprised to discover, should he converse with some of the inhabitants residing hereabouts, that they have many stories, both respecting that wonderful mythical character, and the more dwarfish, but not less important people, the fairies. At Baldwin we had often been informed that the Phynnodderee used to thrash the corn and gather the sheep for the owners of the Lanjaghan farm,situated between Baldwin and Onchan, and even at the present day, when anyone is quarrelling and having high words with those residing on that farm, they taunt them with being connected with the " hairy one." Afterwards, in other districts, we found it very generally stated that the same work had also been done for the people residing at the Gordon farm, situated close to the road on the right-hand side between St. Patricks church and Glen Meay, and about a mile distant from the church. As we were now passing the place we made inquiries and found the story well known. If the corn were unbound and placed in the barn, and the flails hung upon the nails ready for use, the Phynnodderee would come at nightfall and thrash all the corn before the following morning. When a storm was approaching, the Phynnodderee would gather the sheep from the mountains, and bring them home. Once however, amongst the sheep there was a hare, and on being questioned respecting it he said it was a loaghtyn yearling, and the dogs having been unable to catch it, he himself had to chase it round Slieu Whallin three times. In Baldwin we had the same story, but with this difference, Snaefell was substituted for Shieu Whallin. Perhaps the Phynnodderee was excusable for mistaking the hare for a lamb, as the native Manx sheep, the loaghtyns, are remarkably small. They are now fast (disappearing, and being replaced by a larger and more mixed breed.
As an instance of the strength of the satyr, it was stated he met the blacksmith one night as he was going from the shop, and on accosting him and requesting to shake hands, the blacksmith gave him hold of the iron sock of a plough which he happened to have with him, and the strange visitor instantly squeezed it just as though it were a piece of clay.
The fairies often come into the neighbourhood ; and late one night, when two brothers were returning home, they saw through the window the unwelcome visitors in the kitchen eating the crowdy which had been left for their suppers. When the fairies had eaten the whole they spat on the empty plates, and instantly the suppers reappeared. One young man afterwards ate his meal, but the other objected ; the consequence was, the former took no harm, but the latter died next day.
Another person, a fisherman, who maintained that he had only a slight belief in the existence of ghosts and fairies, told us that his mother, who was a very pious person, and would on no account tell an untruth, was accustomed to relate that when a young woman, she went to sleep with an aunt, who had recently been confined, and whose husband was absent at sea. During the night she was lying awake, and saw something like the form of a human being enter the room. Her aunt immediately became uneasy, and exclaimed, " The Lord bless us," and then awoke, and said that something had wanted to tear the child out of her arms.
Leaving the Gordon farm, with its strange associations, the traveller quickly enters the village of Glean Meay, and obtains a glimpse of the sea. In the village are two small inns, the Odd Fellows Arms, or Glen Meay Tavern, and, close to the waterfall, the Waterfall Hotel.
A capital view is had up the glen ; and, after descending a few yards, a lane on the right hand leads to the waterfall and the seashore.
The fall is only a few yards from the hotel, but to visit it the stranger must obtain a key at a cottage close by, the charge being 1d. ; and then he may wander in the grounds as he chooses. The fall is not large, the water having a descent of only about 20 feet down a rugged gorge. The rocks around are clothed with ivy and vegetation, and the glen for a short distance down is well wooded. It is a pleasant picturesque place, but the beauty of the fall is marred by the water being so muddy and discoloured owing to the lead washing at the mines situated higher up the stream at the foot of South Barrule. In a recent guide-book which has been issued respecting the Isle of Man, a picture is given of this fall, representing it as spanned by a picturesque bridge, which unfortunately does not exist.
The cart-road runs down the glen by the side of the stream, for ½ mile, to the beach. After passing an old lead mine, now closed, the glen becomes very wild and picturesque, the water flowing along a bare rugged bed at the base of high perpendicular cliffs. At the beach a wooden foot-bridge spans the stream. It is a secluded and charming spot, with a fine bathing-ground. On either side are grand rocks, and amongst those to the north are some large caves into which the visitor may stroll when the tide is low, but at other times one of the boats lying on the sands must be hired ; and to make certain of a boatman, it is advisable to inquire at the hotel before leaving.
Glen Meay village is situated a few yards above the fall, and it is a fit starting-point for the ascent of South Barrule, the northwestern shoulder of which is seen standing at the head of the glen. Those tourists who do not wish to go on to Dalby and the Round Table may ride up the narrow glen, along a cart-road, having the streamlet on the right hand. It is a pleasant journey, with the winding stream below, and green hills rising sheer on either side. The road, which is tolerably good all the way, branches when about a mile from the village, opposite some slate quarries. One branch leads up the glen, following the course of the rivulet, to the recesses of Glen Rushen, where formerly dwelt the famed Phynnodderee. The traveller must enter the left-hand branch, which ascends to the Beckwith Vein Mine, and then passes the Cross Vein Mine, both now very little worked, and enter the road which winds from the Round Table round the western side of South Barrule to Foxdale.
If time will allow, the tourist is strongly advised not to visit Glen Meay without proceeding on to Niarbyl Point, for there a glorious sight will meet his gaze, embracing the most magnificent part of Manx coast scenery.
After crossing the stream at Glen Meay village, a steep ascent is made, and then the road runs along the side of the Dalby hill, with a grand prospect of the sea, the Scotch and Irish coasts ever on a clear day presenting their faint blue outline on the extreme verge of the horizon.
At Dalby village is a schoolhouse serving as a chapel of ease in St. Patricks parish. There is no inn, but the tourist can put up his horses at a farmhouse, where he will see " rumpy " cats and " rumpy " poultry, taste barley bread, observe the lady of the house spinning the wool shorn from the sheep bred on the farm, and hear the Manx language spoken in all its purity. It is a curious fact and worthy of note, that around Glen Meay and Dalby we also found there were " rumpy " dogs and " rumpy " pigs. We had previously heard there were such on the island, but had been rather sceptical; however, now our doubt was converted into a certainty.
On arriving at the coast of Niarbyl Point, a few hundred yards distant from Dalby village, there will he witnessed as wild and picturesque a scene as is to be met with on the whole island. All around are rocks jutting into the sea, amongst which the waves play in all their various moods, sometimes rushing wild and furious, with loud deafening roar, and at other times subsiding into calm, and forming streaks of beautiful silvery spray.
To the south the sea appears to be formed in a number of charming bays by the heights of Carran, Cronk-na-Irey~Lhaa, the Carnanes, Brada Head, and the Calf Islet, which rise sheer from the water to a height averaging about 700 feet, but in Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa culminating in 1448 feet. The whole, as seen from Niarbyl Point, presents a magnificent spectacle.
A few yards from Dalby village a branch road to the right leads down into the glen, designated Dalby Lhag, and then makes a steep rugged ascent up the Carran hill, and along to the breast of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, leaving a hollow called Lhag-ny-Keeilley some distance on the right, close to the sea at the foot of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, where are the ruins of a treen chapel, said to be the burying-place of the old Kings of Man. This burial-ground is in a most romantic situation, and it is difficult to find without the aid of a neighbouring peasant.
Those who do not take this roadand for a carriage it is perhaps in one or two places too steep and roughwill, on leaving Dalby village, keep the direct road, which ascends steeply the heath-clad ground, allowing a view of the coast as far as the Stack Rock, at the foot of the Calf Islet. The little glen on the right, called Dalby Lhag, where is a small lead mine, is a pretty object ; and during the ascent a glorious expanse of sea is visible.
When round Dalby hill a wide heath-clad upland comes in sight, stretching to the summits of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa and South Barrule, between which heights is the high land called the Round Table. A view is had down Glen Rushen, and the Beckwith Vein Mine is prominent, backed by the hills Slieu Whallin, Sartfell, and Greeba.
At the top of the Round Table four roads unite ; that on the right hand leads to Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, and thence to Colby or Port Erin. By following the direct road for a few yards a fine view is had of a wide tract of the cultivated land stretching to Castletown, that town and King Williams College being very distinct, with Langness promontory and the bays of Derby Haven and Castletown. This road branches where the spectator is standing, the left-hand branch leading, by the southern side of Barrule, to Grenaby, and the other descending to Arbory, &c. The road which descends by the side of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa is a favourite with those who have travelled it, as it commands a glorious prospect of the sea and the southern part of the island, with the bays and promontories stretching from Langness to the Calf. It continues by the side of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa to its south-western end, within a few yards of the sea, to the hollow between that mountain and the Carnanes. It then bends sharply and runs at the foot of the Carnanes for some distance, where it branches, the right, and rather uneven road, leading near to Fleshwick Bay, and by the side of Brada hill to Port Erin ; the left-hand descends direct to Colby, passing on the way two large erect stones, in all probability the remains of a Druidical circle marking the site of ancient burial-grounds.
Returning to the point on the Round Table where the four roads unite, the mountaineer would find it a good point whence to ascend South Barrule.
Those who have not been tempted to descend to the southern part of the island by any of the ways just mentioned, will proceed on the road which runs along the western side of South Barrule, with Glen Rushen on the left, and is afterwards joined by the road previously referred to, which leaves Glen Meay and passes the Beckwith Vein Mine.
The traveller is now high on the mountain side, and will be braced by a pure healthy breeze, whilst to the eye is presented an extensive panorama which gradually changes and presents new features at every step. First appear Slieu Whallin and the central mountains of the island, then the St. Johns and Foxdale valleys with a grand stretch of country to the east, and the sea on both sides of the island. It is an ennobling spectacle, one that few visitors to the island are aware lies so near, and requires so little labour to be enjoyed.
When overlooking the Foxdale valley, with its mines, houses, and hamlets, backed by heath-covered upland, and higher and more distant mountains, the scene is highly picturesque, and if the sun be shining on the whitewashed cottages, and over the widespread landscape, it will prove a happy sight, and one to gladden the heart of those who have just escaped for a season from the turmoil and smoke of our large manufacturing towns.
Descending into Foxdale to the wide excellent road which runs from Castletown to Peel, the lover of the picturesque will be delighted by the appearance of the mine reservoirs, and the houses in the vale ; and the geologist will be gladdened by a sight of the heath-covered hill on the opposite side of the road, which is called the Granite Mountain, and consists almost entirely of granite composed of flakes of silvery mica, white felspar, and pinky-white quartz. The road winds along the side of the mountain for some distance, in a southern direction, and just under a large slate quarry. The main road is entered at a point exactly half-way between Peel and Castletown.
Here the tourist has the choice of routes ; he may either turn to the left to St. Johns, or to the right to Castletown or St. Marks ; or he may pass the mines, and round the northern side of the Granite Mountain and by Eairy to Mount Murray.
For St. Johns the road makes a gradual descent through the Foxdale village, and past the Hamilton waterfall to the railway station.
Those who take the route by St. Marks, which is the one given at the head of this days drive, will, after proceeding for ½ mile, reach the top of the hill, where the view opens to the south, with King Williams College, Langness, Castletown, and the sea in sight. The chapel and houses at St. Marks are observed on the high ground to the left.
After descending about a mile in the direction of Castletown a road turns off on the left to St. Marks. Entering this the tourist will see boulders of granite strewn on every hand, which appear to have come from their parent source, the granite hill on the left, and he will perhaps recall to mind the story told of Goddard Crovans Stone, a famous granite boulder, weighing between 20 and 30 tons, which formerly stood in a field near to St. Marks, but has recently been broken to pieces, and part of it built into the parsonage. The legend is that Goddard lived with his termagant wife in a great castle on the top of South Barrule. Unable to endure the violence of her tongue he at length unceremoniously turned her out of doors. After descending the mountain some distance, imagining herself out of his reach, she turned round and began to rate him so roundly at the full pitch of her voice, that in a rage he seized on this huge granite block, and hurling it with all his might, killed her on the spot.
Sir Walter Scott, when speaking of this stone in Peveril of the Peak, says, " The monumental stone, designed to commemorate some feat of an ancient King of Man which had been long forgotten, was erected on the side of a narrow lonely valley, or rather glen, secluded from observation by the steepness of its banks, upon a projection of which stood a tall, shapeless, solitary rock, frowning, like a shrouded giant, over the brawling of the small rivulet which watered the ravine."
St. Marks village, which consists of a few houses, a small inn, and a chapel which was built in 1772, stands on rising ground commanding a view of the immediate wild open country, a district which would perhaps have been little noticed had it not been rendered famous by Sir Walter Scott in his Peveril of the Peak.
Many strangers will look anxiously around for a sight of the " Black Fort," which the " Great Unknown " tells us was visited by Peveril, in order that he might get a sight of Alice, the object of his love. Sir Walter Scott says, " In former times a Danish or Norwegian fastness had stood here, called the Black Fort, from the colour of a huge heathy hill which, rising behind the building, appeared to be the boundary of the valley, and to afford the source of the brook. But the original structure had been long demolished, as, indeed, it probably only consisted of dry stones," &c.
The travellers curiosity will, however, in all probability receive only slight recompense. When the writer visited the spot, all lie could learn from the natives was that in the direction of Ballasalla there was a height called the Black Hill, but of the fort he could not get any trace.
It is a pleasant drive over the 2 miles from St. Marks to Mount Murray ; but there is nothing of special interest until the high ground is reached between Mount Murray and Slieu Chiarn, and then a view is had of the country reaching to the summits of the central mountains of the island ; and on the left hand, close to the road, are observed the stone circles mentioned at page 66. Presently a view is had of Douglas, and the traveller has cheerful prospects which allow of the days drive being pleasantly terminated.
Distance, 7½ miles.
For a car or carriage drawn by one horse, to carry four persons
and the driver, 11s.
For a wagonette or other conveyance, to carry six persons and the driver, 16s. 6d.
For a wagonette or other conveyance, to carry eight persons and the driver, 18s. 6d.
For a post-carriage and pair of horses, to carry six persons and the driver, 16s. 6d.
For a sociable or long car, to carry ten persons and the driver, 22s.
Starting from the iron pier, the Shore road has to be followed, which passes Castle Mona Hotel and Falcon Cliff on the left, and on the right Strathallan crescent and Derby Castle. A steep ascent is made up Burntmill hill, fine views being obtained at every step of the bay and town of Douglas, with the Tower of Refuge, Fort Anne Hotel, lighthouse, and Douglas Head Hotel in the background.
When on the hill a glimpse is caught of Bemahague, the residence of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. It is some distance on the left across the fields, and is almost hidden by trees, but a flag staff denotes its position.
A short distance farther, and 2 miles from Douglas, Onchan village is entered.
Those who reside in the high part of Douglas, in Bucks road and the neighbourhood, may reach this village by the road which crosses Heywoods or Deemsters bridge, and passes close in front of Bemahague.
When through the village, a branch road is observed on the right, which passes the church and takes to Onchan harbour and to Growdale.
On the main road, mile beyond Onchan, the Growdale stream is crossed at the White Bridge, and 1 mile farther are two rival inns, each calling itself the " Half-way House." A few yards beyond the second house there is a road on the right which leads by the old parish church of Lonan to Growdale harbour, and thence to Onchan. The church is 1 mile and the creek 1½ miles distant.
Those who drive from Douglas to Laxey and back are advised to vary the journey by following this lane on the return home. It adds 2 miles to the distance, and the way is not quite in such good order as the main road ; but the tourist will be amply repaid if he make the detour ; for besides the satisfaction derived from knowing that the same ground is not being travelled twice, the Lonan old church and the Growdale harbour deserve a visit. Should the traveller, when returning, adopt this plan, he will find the old church in the fields a few hundred yards on the left of the lane. It is one of the oldest, smallest, and most primitive looking parish churches on the island, and could not be distinguished by a stranger from a farm building, were it not for the bell-turret. It appears to have formerly been larger, but half of it is now without roof, and in a disgracefully dilapidated condition. The graveyard is also in a neglected state, although still used as a place of interment. In the yard stands a large ancient wheel-cross, like the one at the foot of the Braddan old church tower, but less richly ornamented. It is plain on one side, and carved with knot-work on the other. A similar but smaller stone which was here a few years ago is now missing. We were informed by a resident that it had been placed under a hedge by some strangers, who vainly endeavoured to persuade a farmer to cart it to Douglas for them, and that afterwards it disappeared. On mentioning this circumstance to a native at Maughold Head, he told us that this very stone was in a photographers garden at Ramsey, and calling there we obtained a sight of it. The person who has it in his possession states that one day when strolling near the Lonan old church he accidentally found the stone under some briers, and took it home with him. A similar history might be told of many other relics on the island. Evening service is held in the church every alternate Sunday during the summer months. The church is said to derive its name from Lomanus, son of Tignida, sister of St. Patrick, wise was Bishop of Man A.D. 518, said by some to have been first Bishop of Trim, in Ireland.
Leaving the church, a rather steep descent is made to Growdale harbour, a charming little spot, with a beautiful pebbly beach, and rocks stretching away to the north and south at the feet of Clay Head and Banks Howe, where are wild water-worn caves which can only be visited by boat. In the glen, close to the bay, stand a flour-mill and the millers house. It is to be regretted that an hotel is not built here. It such accommodation were provided the spot would, ere long, be as great a favourite and as much resorted to as Port Soderick. It might be reached by boat or by carriage, the distance by road from Douglas being only 3½ miles. The tops of Banks Howe and Clay Head could be visited, and excellent views obtained, or a delightful stroll made a short distance up the ravine, where there are rocks which form a wild and beautiful gorge.
From Growdale the road ascends and allows of views up the glen ; and after passing, first a lane leading to Onchan harbour, and then Onchan church, the village is entered.
We now return with the tourist to the main road to Laxey, and note that, after passing the half-way houses previously mentioned, the new church of Lonan is a prominent object, and the sea is seen washing the rocks at the foot of Laxey Point.
Five miles from Douglas, at Ballagawne, in a field close to the road, are the " Cloven Stones," and a narrow lane, ½ mile long, conducts to the pretty little bay of Garwick.
The " Cloven Stones " consist of a tiny circle of ten stones, two of which present the appearance of having been in one, and afterwards cloven from top to bottom. These two stones seem to have given rise to the name by which the circle is popularly known. It has, however, been conjectured that the word cloven is a corruption of the word clovan, and this again from Kirk Lovan or Loman, the ancient name of the parish. The tradition of the spot is that a Welsh prince was here slain in an invasion of the island, and that these stones mark the place of his interment. In old hooks relating to the island it is stated that an excavation in the centre of the circle disclosed a vault containing considerable quantities of human bones and teeth ; and from the same source we glean the following story : " The proprietor of the land on which the stones rest, being desirous of removing them, took some labourers to accomplish his object. Being arrived at the spot, and looking back, he saw his house on fire, and consequently returned in haste. Having arrived at home he found his house as it should be, but saw the stones on fire. The man was too wise to disregard so clear an omen, and the stones have ever since remained undisturbed."
Another writer suggests that it was the sepulchre of the ancient inhabitants of the adjoining gill, named Glen Gawne, and that it also was used as their temple of worship.
When on the high ground at Lonan, 6 miles from Douglas, the sea is seen beneath, washing the shore from Clay Head to Laxey Point.
During the descent to Laxey valley, a beautiful view is had of the Bay with its pebbly beach, few houses, and little harbour. Presently the whole of the glen comes in sight, and very pretty it looks, with whitewashed houses dotted in every direction in the hollow, and on the sides of the hills, from the sea to the foot of the mountain range culminating In Snaefell, the large wheel being a prominent object in the distance.
The houses around are mostly occupied by persons working at the mines. Close to the shore is Old Laxey, and higher up the glen New Laxey, whilst on the north slope, directly opposite the traveller, is a cluster of houses, called Minorca, and a little higher another cluster, named King Orry, which derives its appellation from an ancient lot of stones existing there, known as "King Orrys Grave."
In Laxey are two comfortable hotels, the Commercial and the Queens, where good dinners may be obtained ; and while a meal is being prepared the traveller might stroll to the far-famed water-wheel, which is not quite ½ mile further up the glen. It is said to be the largest wheel in existence, and every year to many thousands of visitors forms the chief attraction of the place. It belongs to the Great Laxey Mining Company, and was designed to keep the mines clear of water, and it performs its work admirably. It was constructed in 1854 by Mr. John Casement, a native of Laxey, and was called the Lady Isabella, after the wife of the Hon. Charles Hope, who was then the Lieutenant-Governor. It is 72 feet in diameter, 226 feet in circumference, 6 feet in breadth, contains 188 buckets, and 48 spokes, 24 on each side. The balance at the wheel-shaft is 10 tons, and the top balance 7 tons. It is 200 horsepower, and is supplied with water from a reservoir in Glen Drink, a short distance up the adjacent hills. The platform above the wheel is 75 feet high, and ascended by 95 steps. No charge is made, but few will leave without giving the man in attendance a trifle, or without obtaining something at the adjoining refreshment hut. Eight hundred people are employed at the Laxey Mines, which are very productive, and yield lead, blende, and copper. The lead ore is rich in silver.
On returning to the village the visitor might go round the washing works, which are situated just below the bridge which spans the glen, and there see the operations of crushing the rock and separating the ore.
Pleasure and fishing boats may be obtained at the beach at the bottom of the glen, the distance from the Commercial Hotel being ½ mile. The road descends direct by the side of the stream and the tramway, but it is well to take a circular walk by entering a rugged lane in front of the Queens Hotel, which makes a steep ascent, and commands a fine view of the whole of Laxey, from the bay to the foot of the mountains. Passing a road on the right leading to Riversdale at the head of Glen Roy, take the first turn to the left, and then cross the main road to Douglas, and descend direct to the shore.
The bay is a very pleasant spot, with a fine sandy beach suitable for bathing, and stretches away from the rocks called the Carrick, on the north, at the foot of Laxey Head, to Clay Head, on the south ; including the pretty creek of Garwick. Close to the Carrick rocks is a tiny harbour capable of admitting a small steamer of 360 tons burden, which brings coals and takes away the produce of the mines. In March, 1874, the steamer Blende, which left Laxey laden for Swansea, was lost in a storm with all hands, seven in number. Nothing was known of the wreck except that relics of the vessel were afterwards picked up in the south. Granite, from the Dhoon Granite Quarries, is also shipped here.
If the sea be calm a pleasant sail may be had southwards for 1 mile to Garwick Bay, or northwards to the mouth of the Dhoon, 2 miles distant, where a landing may be effected for a visit to the Dhoon Waterfalls.
Some strangers who have read old histories of the Isle of Man will search on the Laxey beach for Lord Henrys Well, which was much resorted to by the native inhabitants in ancient times, but it is now almost dry, and filled with loose stones. It is situated a few yards beyond the wall which stretches past the cottages to the south.
An hour may be spent very agreeably by strolling from Laxey up Glen Roy, the ravine in which is situated the large flour-mill close to the Commercial Hotel. From the hotel walk over the bridge, turn to the right, descend a few yards, then cross the stream, and proceed up the glen. After passing the mill, the stranger finds himself in a pleasant secluded spot, and strolls by the side of the streamlet with the green and gorse-covered banks of Lhergy Grow on either hand, and Cairn Gharjohl visible in front.
A mile from Laxey the stream divides, the right-hand branch flowing from the hollow of Ballaquine, and the height of Slieu Muilagh Oure, and the left-hand branch from the upper part of Glen Roy, where is situated a house called Riversdale, and a lead mine.
From Riversdale the tourist can follow the mountain road to the right, and enter the Keppel Gate road ; or he might turn to the left, and gain Laxey, or the Douglas road, in the direction of Lonan new church.
King Orrys Grave should be visited before the tourist leaves Laxey; it is only ½ mile from the village, and is reached by following the Ramsey road, which is seen ascending the high ground on the north side of the glen, and which commands fine views of Glen Roy and Laxey Glen, with Snaefell at the head of the latter. When at the top of the hill a few yards short of the King Orry Hotel, the old Ramsey road branches to left, and the grave is situated about 20 yards up the old way. On the left of the road, in front of two cottages, are some rugged stones, forming a kind of large grave, and at their head stands a larger and much taller stone. They reminded the writer of the Giants Grave in Penrith churchyard, which Sir Walter Scott used to take such an interest in visiting. They appear to be of the same character, the stones being similarly placed. A few years ago the owner of the property, being little careful of antiquarian matters, removed some of the lesser stones from the central heap, for the purpose of building a fence. He broke in upon a vault, inside of which were the teeth of a horse and some brittle bones. The residents in the cottage close by have in their possession a small piece of old rusted iron, in the shape of a horseshoe, which they say was dug out of the grave. If their statement be correct, and they appear to tell a straightforward story, this fact, and the character of the teeth which were discovered, would help to bear out the supposition that here was buried some Scandinavian warrior with his charger ; it being the custom in those days for the old heroes to have their favourite horse interred in the same grave with themselves, imagining it would be of service in the future world. The popular belief is that it is the burial place of King Orry (the founder of the Norwegian dynasty on the island, and the originator of the House of Keys), the most noted personage in Manx history. Such being the traditionary account of the place, it argues little for the conservative feeling with which the Manx people are said to be so strongly imbued, when they leave a spot, around which centre so many associations, utterly uncared for, and at the mercy of the neighbouring villagers or any passing traveller. But this is no solitary instance, for the writer met with similar neglect in many other parts of the island. Almost within sight of this spot are two notable instances, the old parish church of Lonan, previously noticed, and the antiquities at Maughold Head. At the latter place, one of the most sacred spots on the whole island, many of the stone crosses, old Norwegian swords, and other mementoes which have made Kirk Maughold so famous in Manx history, have been broken to pieces, taken away, built and covered in the walls of cottages, or stowed in barns, utterly regardless of their historical and antiquarian value. Fortunately the present Vicar is interesting himself in the preservation of the relics. Whilst referring to this subject we cannot refrain from dwelling upon the unpardonable neglect evinced in this respect by all classes of Manxmen, a neglect which will be apparent to every reader when they learn that there does not exist a single museum on the island, although few people possess more precious relics suitable for such a collection. If they are alive to the benefit of such an institution it behoves them to establish it at once, for owing to the great number of visitors resorting to the island, the increasing value of such relics, and the constant reclamation of waste lands, perhaps more damage is now done to antiquities in one year than during a century previously. Those who take little notice of such matters would throw off their lethargy, and give a helping hand, if they were made aware that that neglect will eventually recoil on themselves and injuriously affect their pockets, by depriving the island of those antiquities and historical places which are so interesting to many visitors.
Before leaving " King Orrys Grave " the stranger should cross the road and look at a similar, but rather more irregular, lot of stones, on a plot of ground directly opposite. It seems as though the two spots had in ancient times been one, but afterwards separated on the making of the road.
If the tourist have time he ought to take this opportunity of visiting the Dhoon Waterfalls. They are undoubtedly the largest and most beautiful cascades on the island, but hitherto they have been very little known, and not noticed in any guide-book ; in fact, hardly a dozen people seem to be aware of their existence. They are deeply recessed in a romantic and well-wooded glen, and are not more than 1 mile from the Ramsey road and the same distance from the sea. The tourist may visit them from Laxey either by carriage or boat. During the excursion by sea there are passed some imposing cliffs presenting rugged rocks and sea-worn caves. With a carriage the Ramsey new road must be followed for 3 miles beyond " King Orrys Grave." The road overlooks the shore for some distance, the ground being very steep, with the sea washing amongst the rocks in Bulgum Bay below. Three miles from Laxey the Dhoon stream is crossed, and a road branches down to it. Perhaps, however, it is best to take the long sweep round the Dhoon Glen to the Dhoon Granite Quarries, situated close to the road, 3½ miles from Laxey. These quarries were opened in the spring of 1873, and are worked by a newly-formed firm, called the Isle of Man Granite Company, Limited. The granite is very compact, the different particles of quartz, felspar, and mica being small; in some parts of the rock it approaches the condition of a syenite, the flakes of mica being substituted by hornblende. At present the company are confining themselves to preparing it in small blocks of about 12 inches by 4 inches, which they cart to Laxey harbour and there ship to Liverpool, where it is used in making and repairing roads. It is intended to open another quarry a little lower down the hill, and in all probability a small harbour will be constructed at the mouth of the Dhoon stream, when the granite will also be prepared and sold for building purposes. The granite extends in a horseshoe shape from the south side of the Dhoon mountain, and across the road to the Slieu Lhean range of hills on the opposite side.
Some will desire to make the ascent of Snaefell from Laxey. The distance to the summit is 3½ miles. Leaving the hotel, walk over the bridge spanning the Glen Roy stream, and when a few yards farther, at the bridge which crosses the Laxey Glen, close to the washing works of the Great Laxey Mine, the large water-wheel is observed about 600 yards distant, at the foot of the Agnaish glen ; behind it are the heights of Slieu Reay and Creg Agnaish, the latter hiding Slieu Lhean. Do not cross the bridge, but continue straight forward, with the stream on the right. Presently the road crosses the water near the large wheel, and a rugged lane is entered which branches to the left. Here Snaefell appears, and it gradually becomes a prominent object at the head of the glen.
On the right hand, close below, is the Agnaish stream, and near to a building connected with the mine a small glen is observed, called Glen Drink, which the inhabitants say was formerly a favourite resort of the fairies. About fifty years ago a Primitive Methodist minister began to hold a service every other Sunday in a private house in the glen, and at this the fairies, not admiring Dissent, appear to have taken umbrage, for they then departed, and have not since revisited the neighbourhood. We suppose their flitting would resemble that made by a troop of the little folk in another part of the island, and which is thus described :.
" Early one spring morning, being employed in household duties, there came floating on the air a low murmuring wailing noise. When going to the door to see what occasioned it, behold there were multitudes of the good people passing over the stepping stones in the river, and wending their way up the side of the hill until they were lost in the mist that then enveloped the top of the mountain. They were dressed chiefly in Loaghtyn, with little pointed red caps, and most of them were employed in bearing on their shoulders articles of domestic use, such as kettles, pots, pans, the spinning-wheel, and such like, evidently having been disturbed, and seeking fresh and more quiet quarters."
Close to the hamlet of Agnaish is another large water-wheel, called Dumbells Wheel (Mr. Dumbell, of the Isle of Man Bank, Douglas, being Chairman of the Directors of the Great Laxey Mine). At the hamlet care must be used not to take the wrong road, but turn to the left. Presently a fine view is had of the bare, solitary-looking glen, with Snaefell standing at the head of it ; and on the right the Craig, and on the left Lhergy Dhoo, and beyond peer Cairn Gharjohl and Slieu Mullagh Oure. In the rear is a good view of Laxey, Lonan new church, and the sea.
Two cottages are passed, and then a farmhouse is reached, where a demand of id. is made from each traveller, as it is a private road, and the owner wishes to maintain his right. Complaint is made that many strangers leave open the gate and allow the cattle and sheep to get astray. The old couple residing at the farm are firm believers in fairies, and can tell some funny stories. The woman once saw two of the little people, like little boys, dressed in red trousers and blue coats; and the man one night was met on the Slieu Reay hill by something as white as snow, resembling an unicorn. He at once said, " Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," and it departed.
At the foot of Snaefell are a few cottages and offices connected with the great Snaefell Mine. There is also a large water-wheel 52 feet in diameter. The mine yields lead, blende (black jack), and a little copper.
From the mine it is a very steep climb up a smooth green part of the mountain. About half-way up is a road which goes round the breast of the mountain. It leads from Douglas by Keppel Gate, and takes in the direction of Ramsey, but soon ends, as it has never been finished. From this road the top of Snaefell is quickly gained.
Another way from Laxey to Snaefell, which is about ½ mile nearer than that just described, may be taken by entering the first road on the left, after leaving the. Commercial Hotel and crossing the bridge spanning the Glen Roy stream. It makes a steep ascent, and then runs up the breast of the hill and over Slieu Mullagh Oure to the refreshment-house at the foot of Snaefell