Low Tide in Castletown
The tidal falls are far greater here
The Isle of Man Experience....
Over the years, I have been aware of the racing at the Isle of Man and the crazy riders that race here, including Graeme Crosby, another New Zealand rider from the 70's that I now have a lot more respect for, after winning here.
Unfortunately there were two fatalities on the track this year that included very experienced riders, so that just proved the extreme demands and concentration that is demanded here on the Isle of Man.
We enjoyed the racing from various vantage points and the weather was very kind to us all week -this also gave us the opportunity to find out what else the Island offered.
We were very impressed with the friendly people and the small villages scattered about the island, we especially enjoyed Peel, Castletown and of course Douglas and Laxey.
Nadine was keen to take the electric train from Laxey up to the highest point on the island, where on a really clear day you can see Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, but I am not sure which day of the year that is, but it was a great treat as this railway was built
Riding to Lunch
We rode to Calf Sound at the southern end for lunch.
in 1890. Today the electricity on the island is generated from a huge gas turbine, with a gas line from England, not sure how they powered this in 1890??
The ride up, went past the great Laxey Wheel, which I had never even heard of before - it was used to pump water from the iron ore mine close by. It is really good to see that they maintain this in working order.
The view at the top was not the best on this day and there was a bitterly cold Arctic blast trying to blow us off, so we got straight back on the train and headed back down again.
The island also runs a steam train from Douglas down to Castletown and a horse drawn tram will take you along the Douglas Promenade, which had been converted into side shows for family fun during TT week.
The island has a permanent population of 80,000 people and this swells to 100,000 during the TT fortnight, but most food outlets and the pubs seemed to cope alright as we had some great meals out. They even print their own money but will still take British Pounds
The Train to Snaefell
Bloody cold and barren up here.
and or give you change in Pounds, but you can't spend Isle of Man money on the ferry or in England and they don't do Euros either.....But all in all, we were very impressed with the island and would recommend a visit at least once in your life as there are many other events during the year including classic car races that we never hear about, and the island has much more to offer as the history dates back beyond the Celts and the Vikings.
Unfortunately, the day of departure dawned and we had to be on the road by 7.00am and hurry down to wait and then load the bikes and us on the ferry back to England.
On our last evening on the island, the Ride on Tour people, Rob and Dafne organised a BBQ for our group down by the old seaside swimming pools. They supplied us with a small charcoal filled aluminium tray with a a fuel soaked paper to get us going.....well there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but the setting was just great, as we all spread ourselves along a stepped down wall and cooked our own dinners.
Tom, Nadine and Bones
At the highest point on the island
It was a very innovative way to feed 80 odd bikers.
There were not so many returning today, as the final race was on, but sometimes you get the short straw.
The ferry trip was uneventful as we crossed the Irish Sea in calm, sunny conditions and sailed passed the biggest wind farm in the world, set up off the coast of England.
After disembarking in Heysham, we had to make a mad dash across England to catch our overnight ferry back to Rotterdam, TTLT (TT Leader Tom) took us off the motorway system and onto B roads that gave us a nice ride through the English country side, skirting the Yorkshire Dales - we made good time and even had time for a coffee break before boarding.
We went to our allotted cupboard, while Nadine and Tom went to pre book the dinner, they returned full of excitement, as they had secured a cupboard with a window, wow! What a difference a window makes, we had natural light and a view which seemed to make the cupboard just a little bigger (mind over matter?)
After a great dinner and a lay down, a new
End of the line
We jumped back on the same train that took us up here.
sunny day had dawned through our window (it was not a porthole as it was square?) and we made our way off the ferry and through immigration - we needed another stamp so Tom and Nadine had to wait for us.
Leaving Rotterdam, we headed South over huge dams that have been built to control the flow of sea water, on one of these we had to stop while the road was raised up to let boats in and out.
This part of Holland is just a maze of waterways and playgrounds for very expensive boats, and we made our way to a small village called Veere, where we had lunch from the local market as we were not under any pressure to be anywhere, as we were heading home to Luxembourg.
We rejoined the main motorway system as we got closer to Antwerp, so the road speeds increased along with concentration....at one stage, I was doing 130 kph and a people mover with a trailer attached passed us at least doing 150 kph, now the legal road speed here was posted at 120 kph.
During the 1946 kms we rode across 5 countries, I never
Rosco and his Cornish Pasty
I am really missing a good old Kiwi/Jesters Pie...
saw any policing along the roads we travelled, Tom did say that they have speed cameras set up and you get a ticket in the post, lucky I was riding his bike registered here in Luxembourg and of course I was just following him.....
This is now the end of our TT Tour that Tom and Nadine organised for us and we are very grateful for the use of his old VStrom that he rode with us in South America and for all the effort that they both put in to make this a unique experience of our lifetime.
So, today is a rest day, do the Blog, wash me undies, as tomorrow we head off on another adventure with Tom and Nadine to France....
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