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Isle of Man - Brief Guide, Facts and Weather
Isle of Man Factfile…
Welcome to the Isle of Man
Okay, where on Earth is it?
To be precise: 54° 13' 48" N / 4° 34' 12" W, or in the middle of the Irish Sea halfway between England and Ireland (83 miles from Liverpool & 90 miles from Belfast). The Island covers approximately 221 miles square, and is about 32 miles tall and 12 miles wide at it’s waist. Right in the middle is a mountain called Sneafell (Celtic for snow mountain) at 2.036 feet high. However, it’s island’s scenery and heritage is the main attraction. The Isle of Man is like a mini version of the UK full of rocky cliffs, sandy beaches rolling hills, stunning glens and fertile plains.
Who Lives there :
Until about the 1800s, the Isle of Man was a sleepy backwater, sparsely populated by Manx farmers and fishermen. However an invasion of Victorian holidaymakers, who fell in love with the wild romantic charms of the island, meant a steady rise in the population, which today stands at around 80,000. Roughly half of the population is Manx born and the rest are largely a mix of British and a varied mix of nationalities drawn to island to work in both the financial and service industries.
Sun Tan Lotion or Umbrella :
The island gets typical ‘British’ weather, so pack everything as you are going to need it. The reality of the weather on the Isle of Man, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream, is on a good day there is nowhere better, but it also has its fair share of bad weather too. It never really gets that hot in the summer (mid twenties centigrade) and has mild winters (hangs around 9-10 centigrade). When it blows, it really blows, which forces the ferries to stay in harbour, but on the flip side, days of lingering fog leaves the planes grounded. But, there are many days when the sun does shine, which showcases the island’s scenery beautifully.
Who’s in Charge?
Good question - The Queen is officially the head of state, but the island has it’s own government too, which is reputed to be the oldest government in the world. The island’s government makes its own laws, which quite often mirror the UK laws, but many are still unique to the Isle of Man. The island still has the death penalty, but this has not been in forced many years.
Don’t panic, they all speak English on the Isle of Man, although the original Celtic language of Manx Gaelic is still hanging in there, but only just.
Bureau de Change?
The Island, like the rest of the UK uses Sterling, but has its own notes and coins. However, while UK sterling can be use on the island, the Manx pounds and coins are not accepted outside the island. So visitors have to change their money when they leave the island.
Interesting Bits - just a taste :
Historic Victorian steam trains and electric trams.
Motor sports including the famous TT motorcycle races.
Cats with no tails.
Major tax haven.
Kippers - local delicacy of smoked herring.
The largest waterwheel in the world.
Horse drawn trams.
Famous local dudes - past & present :
Fletcher Christian - of the Mutiny on Bounty fame.
Bee Gees (Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb).
Mark Cavendish - sprint cyclist.
Russell Grant - Television personality, astrologer, writer.
Archibald Knox- artist and designer.
Kevin Woodford - TV chef.
Jeremy Clarkson - journalist and broadcaster.
Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine - a British novelist and playwright.
Sir William Hillary - founder of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Nigel Mansell, British racing driver.
James Toseland- the double Superbike World Champion
Mollie Sugden - actress.
Mitch Murray - songwriter, record producer.
Sheila Holland - prolific and best-selling romantic novelist.
T.E. Brown, poet & scholar.
How do I get to the rock :
Travelling to the Isle of Man can only be made by air or by sea from the UK mainland. The Isle of Man's Ronaldsway Airport can be reached from various UK airports including Belfast, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bradford, Channel Islands, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton. Sea Cat and Super Sea Cat fast craft operate from Liverpool and Ireland in the summer months, and an all year round standard Ro-Ro Service runs from Heysham twice a day. The fast craft do the crossing in 2 hours 30 minutes (weather permitting), while the Ro-Ro service takes 4 hours.
Useful Isle of Man Links
- Isle of Man Tourism Start planning your 2011 holiday now
- Arrivals/Departures - Isle of Man Airport Website
- Bus and Rail Timetables for the Isle of Man - iombusandrail.info
The Official bus and rail timetable and information site for the Isle of Man - updated frequently.
- Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Ferry Services - Ferry services to and from the Isle of Man, Heysha
More of recent Isle of Man Hubs
- Great Laxey Mines Railway : A Brief History
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