C. H. Cowley - Peel to Port Erin

[This is taken from a manuscript diary by permission of his granddaughter - C. H. Cowley was born in 1874 - his hand is quite difficult to read in places]

19th August 1934

The day having cleared up after a night of rain I decided to walk to Port Erin. Ernest gave me a run in his car to Glen Maye which place we arrived at 10 30am.

Still mist on the mountains.

Going up Baare ny Pashyder, or as it is now known as "the Sound", the road was muddy but drying up quickly. Blaeberries were still on the bushes, flowers & ferns in profusion.

Stopped at Thieyn Cashen to view the land. The houses are all in ruins and soon there will be no sign of their having existed, and then people will forget where the Cashin family once lived.

It is now 11 am. Across the valley towards the sea is a circle of white quartz stones in a field. Looking backwards a delightful view of Peel and district is obtained. I met Mr Irving at Dawlish Cashin (Cashen's Gap) at 11.20 and he preached his sermon on the awful punishment deserved by the rascals who burnt down his gorse hedges. I agreed with him.

Strange to say he mentioned nothing about the famous "Spook", and so much has been told about it in the newspapers that it will not be necessary to relate about it here. Suffice it to say that in my opinion from first to last the thing is pure humbug. I might however record how Irving came to live at this desolate place.

Before the great war he was an agent in Liverpool for a piano firm, probably German, as he had a smattering of one or two continental languages. Business in pianos was dead of course during 1914 so he & his family came to reside in Peveril Road, Peel.

His wife had relations here which probably was the reason of Peel as choice of residence.

Being at a loose end & going out with hunters & shooters occasionally he one day dropped into Glenmay at the Waterfall Hotel where Dawlish Cashen was being offered for sale - and he bought it at, I believe, a reasonable price.

He was no farmer but moved into the place with his family & has been there ever since. Very nice people, and excepting for this "Spook" business normal. At times I have had long conversations with him & Voirey about that affair, very interesting but mad all of it.

Capt R B Quirk, Raby, had a very funny time over it with Irving, but this is getting away from my walk.

Further on I happened upon a large covey of partridges in the heather on Dalby Mountain over which I wandered until 12 o'clock, passing Ballalaa quarry during my wanderings.

Crossing the Dalby-Castletown road near John Corris the Clieau's on to a pliece of ground which had previously yielded me flints I gave an hour to searching for more, only finding however 5 small pieces of no value.

There was a swarm of native wild bees in heather here, nice little fellows they are too a long time since I saw any.

I arrived at Boayl ny Thrutch [Cowley's own name for the spot after his friend Mr Thrutchley] at 1 o'clock and struck through the fields on the right of the road at the top of Eary Cushlin, picking up a small bunch of bell white heather, and several patches of white ling. At 1.40 began to feel hungry so sat on the the turf alongside the path on south, or sea side of Cronk ny Ierey Laa where there is a sheltered spot facing the Calf of Man & Mull Hills - with Fleswick below me in the distance.

The path I am now on is one I have at several times brought friends & it is without rather dangerous in places, as it just skirts the top of a narrow gully running down the face of the mountain to Lag ny Killey (the hollow of the Church). Once I was taking my three companions whom I picked up on my trip to France along here and it became foggy & made me very unhappy until I got them safely past the danger spot. My friend Thrutchley would not think it a holiday now unless he went this journey.

Looking down upon Lag ny Killey the enclosure of the little church may be clearly seen but very small & isolated.

A range of purple heather on either side of me, and on my right it covered a line of rock outcrop. This I lifted to deposit my two empty baby stout bottles out of sight & found I was not the first to occupy this delightful spot as therein was an empty Downward mineral water bottle.

Away from here at 2.10 still following the track over which so many feet have trod in past years as during the palmy days of the herring season this was the short cut used by the south side fishermen to go to & from Peel otherwise they would have to keep to the main road to the Round Table or the road by Eary Cushlin behind the Cronk.

Leaving the path a little further on I swing towards the sea to obtain a different view - a track leading down to Lag ny Killey, Traie Een, Erinin Mooar, Gob ny Ushtey, Traie Een, Niarbyl, Slock etc, fortunately still described by their beautiful native Manks names.

Passed a couple of Ravens & Choughs on my way, thankful to know that in spate of prediction these beautiful creatures are still to be found in fair numbers as I seldom go on any journey without seeing or hearing both of them.

Arrived at Slock 2.40 & on to the main road where I sat on the bank to charge my pipe. Looking inward to spread out a blanket of purple & gold down to the stone wall dividing the easement from arable land.

Lighting up my pipe I set off & away.

Several people were strolling about on Lhattae ny Buigee on my right presumably looking for white heather and the wind from that quarter was blowing a strong smell of burning towards me.

I was thinking it a shame for them to start a fire in the heather when I felt a warmth in my hip & looking down found the pocket & inside of my jacket was on fire and burnt out through a spark from my pipe having dropped into it.

Such a mess & such a smell, my hands already sticky through eating an orange had now become filthy by crushing out the burnt cloth & there was no water to wash them in.

On past Tom the Dipper's & arrived at BallaKillowey cross roads at 3.40, through Ballafesson to East Bradda at which place I arrived 4 pm.

It was not until I arrived in Port Erin that I was able to have a wash as all the spouts and little streams were dry through the hot waether.

It was windy when I got on the promenade at Port Erin but I sat there watching the bathers until 4.50.

At 5.25 Ernest & Dorothy picked me up in the car & we drove home to Peel.


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