Laxey and Mount Snaefell

Just a quick electric train ride from Douglas and I’m in Laxey. There, to take me up the mountain, is the Snaefell Mountain Railway (also electric).

Mount Snaefell

After 30 minutes of ruggedly beautiful scenery, I’m on top of Mount Snaefell having morning tea and a Strawberry and Apricot Victoria. Aren’t English cake names fabulous? Like Jam Roly Poly, or Seed Cake, or Raspberry Charlotte? Or how about Puff Fancies? I’m always curious to try new ones. But as often as not, they sound better than they taste, I’m afraid. This Victoria is no exception: too sweet and sticky. Also, at 5 pounds, the mediocre morning tea is a bit overpriced. But I suppose you pay for the experience of having tea and cake at the summit of the island’s highest mountain.

At 617 metres (2 036 feet), I’d say Mount Snaefell barely qualifies as a hill. But I mustn’t be unkind. Snaefell means Snowy Mountain. This I know, because I speak Norwegian. The Norwegian word for Snowy Mountain is Snefjell (“j” pronounced like “y”). Another remnant of Man’s Viking past.

At the summit, the winds are harsh. I stand with my arms outstretched for quite some time, just feeling the forces of nature. But just as I’m about to walk back down the hill mountain, rain sets in. Walking from the summit is only 1 ½ hours, nothing for a Viking. However, this Viking has pink satin trainers on. Not about to ruin them, stumbling into puddles and cow manure. Back to Laxey by train then.

Laxey is a green and pretty little village…

Mines Road in Laxey, Isle of Man Laxey, Isle of Man

…with a great wheel as the major attraction. The Lady Isabella is the world’s largest industrial water wheel, built to pump water from the nearby mines. I amble about for ages, absorbed in mining history and thankful I’ve never had to work in one. Climbing the dizzying spiral staircase to the top of Isabella, I feel an odd mixture of exhilaration, vertigo and the hypnotic effect of the giant wheel splashing past me.
Lady Isabelle, the giant Laxey waterwheel View of Laxey from the top of Lady Isabella


Mine at Laxey Mine at Laxey

I go inside a mine – well, 40 – 50 metres inside one; wearing a blue hard hat – and getting my shoes wet. But they survive the ordeal relatively unscathed. Very inappropriate footwear, I know. But you should see them. They’re gorgeous.

Next is Calf Sound, a fab filming location, and so much more.

Meanwhile, have a look over at DeliciousBaby for more Friday photos.



21 Responses to “Laxey and Mount Snaefell”

  1. Christy @ Technosyncratic 18 June 2011 0520 #

    Wow, the Lady Isabella is so cool – that’s a HUGE water wheel!

  2. Lisa 20 June 2011 0341 #

    It sound like an interesting visit. Your shoe experience made me laugh.

  3. Lorna - the roamantics 20 June 2011 0818 #

    wow sophie- this places looks gorgeous! and like just what i need right now after the tbex frenzy and vancouver mayhem 😉

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 June 2011 1036 #

      @Lorna – not a lot of frenzy and mayhem on Isle of Man. that’s for sure 🙂

  4. The Travel Chica 23 June 2011 1037 #

    I didn’t know the English got so fancy with their cake names. For some reason, things just taste better if they have fun names.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 June 2011 1058 #

      @Travel Chica – I know what you mean. One day, I’ll make a list of all those fanciful names.

  5. Kim A. 23 June 2011 1101 #

    I’ve always been a little intrigued with the Isle of Man, right there in the ocean, between the UK and Ireland, but have never had the time to stop by when I’ve been in either. Looks gorgeous from what I’ve seen in various films. Look forward to more posts!

    Oh, and Puff fancies – love that name 🙂

  6. Randy 23 June 2011 1638 #

    Both of the sites look really cool! I had no idea about either one. And the desserts don’t look too shabby either. 🙂

  7. Italian Notes 23 June 2011 1744 #

    Fascinating place – but I wonder what’s it must be like to live there?

  8. Mark Wiens 23 June 2011 1845 #

    Looks like a real fun day activity – I want to see the picture of those shoes!

  9. Christian 24 June 2011 1034 #

    I’ve been there and climbed on that giant wheel! Great views!

  10. Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 June 2011 1043 #

    Everyone – thanks for your comments 🙂

    @Kim – Isle of Man is used as location in many films. I talk about that a bit in another post –

    @Italian Notes – I was wondering about that, too. Luckily, I got an opportunity to chat with a local lady. She adored living there – a bit more about that here if you’re interested –

  11. wandering educators 24 June 2011 1528 #

    i think you need to include a pic of these shoes! what a beautiful day – thank you for sharing it with us!

  12. Sonja 24 June 2011 1655 #

    Very interesting – thanks for the insight!

  13. Sabrina 24 June 2011 2210 #

    I love these little railways 🙂 Cute picture!

  14. Wanderluster 24 June 2011 2320 #

    Laxey, Snaefell…sounds like names out of a Dr. Suess book!

  15. Kerry Dexter 25 June 2011 0016 #

    a musician I know just finshed teaching a course on the Isle of Man — I’ve yet to go there, so nice to see what it looks like. thanks for sharing your trip.

  16. Leigh 25 June 2011 1908 #

    Hills versus mountains – I guess it all depends on where you live.
    What a lovely outing and I like the idea of some odd sounding cake to top off the train experience. I have never figured out what a seed cake is – do you know?

  17. Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2011 2356 #

    @Leigh – Interesting question. From what I gather, it’s a cake with crushed seeds in the dough, often caraway seeds. Sounds a bit odd, but it tastes quite nice. Seems it has a history as well: when wheat was sowed in spring, seed cake was served to symbolise the occasion.

  18. Jason 4 July 2011 1434 #

    The waterwheel looks impressive; too bad the cakes weren’t!

  19. Lucy 10 September 2011 1141 #

    This brings back memories – I visited with my family when I was a child. I can’t even remember how old I was but I remember being very excited by the enormous wheel!

Leave a Reply