Isle of Man 2010

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The Isle of Man sits in the middle of the Irish Sea, which has a well deserved reputation for being a rough stretch of water.  However, we arrived and left in sunshine, with light winds.

We spend several days in Peel harbour, and travelled around the island by bike, with one leg on an old steam train.

The Isle of Man is more or less part of the UK, but not really.  We never could get a local to explain the relationship, so gave up since it is not important to us.

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Peel harbour sits below Peel Castle, which covers about 2 hectares.

This old cannon seems to be threatening the us in the harbour.

The TT races, one of the major,  and probably longest running, motor bike races in the world was scheduled for the following week, and the main road around the island was closed every evening for practice.  About 30,000 motorcyclists come for the races/festivities.  Many try the race track outside racing and official practice times.  Unfortunately, a dozen or so are killed every year. We met a group of Paramedics form England who volunteer to assist the (overloaded) local teams.  Apparently there are hundreds of such volunteers.
I went to watch the practices one evening, and found it very difficult to take photos from the roadside, due to the speed.  These guys are practicing for the sidecar race.
The Isle of Man must have been a dynamic and prosperous place in the Victorian era.  Despite its small size, a steam and an electric railway were built.  A dozen stations of the steam railway still operate.

Buying a ticket was just like British Railways when I was a kid, and the train rather similar, although smaller and more colourful.

After a few days in Peel,  we left in a light wind for Portpatrick, in SW Scotland and had an easy run up there assisted by the strong tidal currents around the Mull of Galloway.
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