Isle of Man Adventure 16-21 May 2024.

16-21 May 2024.

Location: Isle of Man

Many thanks to Syd for the awesome event overview, it made for a great read. :)

LOST! - (On a small island)

So, we have this notion that a trip to the Isle of Man (Ellan Vannin to the poetic types) might be fun so three of us Middlebridges, plus one interloper, sign up with Scenic Car Tours (SCT) for their May bash.

The interloper is Colin and Mira's chariot, a Marcos LE400. Very loud, very muscular and very beautiful. It looks like a proper race car because it is a proper race car (designed for Le Mans). Don't ever park next one and expect to be noticed, it just won't happen.

Why are they with us? Well the beast does have a very practical picnic tray atop the boot which may come in handy for snacking and that's good enough for me.

Wed 15th May

All goes well and this scribe together with Peter and our lovely carers (Sandra and Marie) meet at upmarket Lancaster hostelry (Premier Inn) for nosh and over night stay.


We take ferry at Heysham to sail the Irish sea. On same day Paul with Kate, and Colin with Mira float out of Liverpool. It may be sensible for all to leave from same port but we are setting the tone here none of us are sensible!

The sea crossing was flat calm and on arrival at Douglas, Peter and I separate. He to upmarket golf club address and I to cheap accommodation (Kennels). Stupid satnav takes me into an industrial wasteland and smugly states "You have reached your destination". What rubbish. We are very clearly LOST!

Abandoning satnav and using common sense we are soon having a very acceptable chilli and rice with Bushy's fine ale in the Kennels. Anyone out there want to buy a lying satnav?

Paul and Colin arrive unseen, much after dark from their Liverpool ferry.


Scheduled for the 'Sloc' today but not until 14.00hrs so the morning is ours. I report an overnight infestation of Fiats (500's) in the car park to management with suggestion for Rentokil. Management assures they are pets and harmless. Owners of the teeny weeny creatures turn out to be affable bods, bye and large sane.

SCT invite us to advertise our presence to the natives by fixing SCT signage to front end of MB50. Gave up and lobbed it atop the dash panel! If the bloody tour firm wants me to advertise their wares for free they must supply stuff that does not require an obliging bumper or holes in the bodywork for tie wraps.

New friend Richard (has Jag) makes a special tool from welding rod and threads tie wraps though the grill. He is farming stock and thus resourceful. Does the job but swears a lot. We are agreed, bailing string and welding rod ought be part of every tool kit.

Set satnav (will I never learn?) and aim for southernmost part the island, 'The Sound'.

Why then are we in Port Erin twice? OK it's a nice place and the countryside hereabouts fabulous but it's not The Sound is it. Rubbish satnav has misled us again and we are LOST!

Ask a native. He laughs, "You're LOST mate! Miles away." His guidance tells us to go this way and that way and what do you know we end up at The Sound. I look at the sea and consider shall I chuck satnav in it?

The Sound is a desolate but lovely spot. I wander to look at the Thousla Cross (look it up. I'm not here to pamper lazy types) and Sandra is chatted up by optimistic old codger.

Young and fit she's OK with that, but old and "codgerified"? she can live without 'cause she already has one of those (me).

As we leave The Sound, Peter and Marie arrive. He later claims he saw a basking albino seal. Must be said here that he is ex-rosser, therefore all evidence offered from his sworn statement at the stand is possibly/ probably/ certainly suspect, M'Lord!

Eventually we four pairs meet up at the Sloc. A stretch of country road that SCT have conned Local Highways Dept into closing for the day so that we can play. No doubt natives, who now are barred and have to make all sorts of diversions to get home, find this inconvenient but money has changed hands(?). Local bureaucrats who care little for local peasantry are pennies richer and if the natives are caused to suffer a little for our pleasures then that's just the way it is. Get over it!

Marshals at the start of each run give clear (very, very clear) instruction to each driver as to finding the way back to start for the second run. "Impossible to get lost" they say!

Off we go! Paul and I do our first fun run and work back to the start position, to give it a second bash. But where are Peter and Colin?

Peter likes a challenge and is determined to prove Marshals wrong. Does the run, then ignores all instructions and ploughs his own furrow to goodness knows where. Colin, poor fool, follows him and both are now well and truly LOST!

Paul and I do a second run each chuckling all the way and wonder if we shall see Pete and Colin again before the return ferry sets sail.

All had previously agreed that after the Sloc we meet at the Coffee Cottage, Foxdale, for cuppa. But now two of the party are missing and as they got LOST where it is "impossible to get lost" Paul and I wonder, could they find the way to the Coffee House on their own?

Paul and I decide to stick with plan 'A'. Wait in the Coffee House car park to see if they turn up. Eventually, big noise in the woodland. Squirrels, much afeared are dropping nuts and scampering up trees which trees now being swiftly vacated by birds flying off in all directions. That'll be Colin then!

Here they are. No they're not. They rocket straight past! Still LOST?

Head-banging racket returns and our heroes park up alongside. Paul and I are overjoyed to see Peter and Colin again, express our deep concern they may have been captured and eaten by natives. And, because we are gentlemen and do not wish to embarrass our friends, we do not suggest they may be idiots.

Into the cafe to laugh at Peter and hear pathetic excuses for the diversionary tour. Sandra makes sport with waiter at the till. Reckons cash might have gone in pocket rather than till so demands receipt. He starts a nervous stutter but eventually accepts defeat and comes up with slip of paper. Felt a little sorry for him, he was always on a looser with the memsahib.

We all agree to meet later for evening meal at 'The Forge' which is a mere stroll from the superior golf club address of Peter and Colin. Noting the menu advertises Tomahawk stake at £60 a pop (veg extra) I do this with some trepidation. Apparently, it is only proper that we peasants make the several miles journey to our betters territory rather than t'other way round because they must not be inconvenienced.

We meet. Me ready to order two bags of crisp then cut and run for cheap curry at the Kennels but now find there are more sensibly priced offerings than Tomahawk steak. The company is far too enjoyable anyway to leave behind so we have lovely evenings with good pals.


Free day. Group decide on a steam train ride, Port Erin to Douglas and return is the thing. I've been to Port Erin twice (by accident) so know my way there and happy with that.

Excellent ride for steam enthusiasts I suppose but don't expect to see too much of the wonderful Manx countryside. Much of the journey is in cuttings or tree lined.

In Douglas someone suggests a pub, I think 'twas Peter who seems to know a lot about pubs. So off we go satnav guided. Pay respects to George Formby en route (finely clad in TT rider gear but not ever so chatty today). We go as directed by satnav before admitting it is a rubbish contraption and admit we are LOST (but this time on foot so does it count?). Never mind, someone round here will sell us a pint. Further stroll and we are back at the Station to join gang(s) of young things in party mood. Some immodestly clothed and all very jolly. We shared a carriage with a Dutch couple (from the cruise ship parked offshore and a native who was glad to be anywhere the young ones were not.

Chug, chug and off we go. Native advises the trams can get up to 35 mph after which the drivers nose will bleed and he instructs the fireman to calm it down. Personally I think the contraption is swaying and bumping dangerously much above walking speed. If you do enjoy fairground rides it could be fun I do suppose.

The Dutchman requires very little encouragement to tell us about his several heart operations and a knee joint jobbie. Cheery cove he is and by the time he leaves I'm imagining all sorts of ailments for myself.

Very acceptable evening meal in the Kennels. Paul and I talk the toot about cars and drink fine Bushy's ale. Another excellent day and off to bed with smiley face.


Scheduled for Jurby Motor Museum in the morning, afternoon tea at Creg-ny-Baa then TT pit lane for photo-shoot. The motor museum is a must! Brilliant showing of cars and super-brilliant showing of motor bikes. The day then got interesting.

Colin needs fuel (thirsty beast the Marcos) so we decide to head south, fuel up then go middle island to Snaefell and see how far up the mountain we can get by road. Then to make our way to Creg-ny-Baa for cucumber sarnies, cake and coffee. Eventually we shall end up in the TT pit lane. Paul prefers to do things slow time and invites the rest of us to push off, he will rejoin us at leisure. Wise man.

We have a plan and it is a good plan! Can't go wrong, can't get lost. You are joking! Fuelling done. Peter has satnav programmed and fully armed, takes charge and launches up the road to where?

Is this the same Jurby we left some time ago?
Shouldn't we have turned right at that last elbow?
Surely we are heading North and a lot off-piste.
Could our leader be a little pissed?
We must trust our leader.
We follow the bleeder.

On, on and further yet. We are about to fall off the land and settle in the Irish sea when Peter finally draws a halt to proceedings. Emerges from ASBO's cockpit and with ear-to-ear grin proudly announce we are at the island's most northerly point.

Pardon? But Peter, according to the agreed good plan we should be in the middle of the island and much above sea level. Thou art a plonker and we are are most assuredly LOST!

Not my fault, he claims. Asked satnav for Snaefell, it came up with the route and we gunned it. (Actually, it came up with 'Snaefell View' which is some location in a remote northern village which has a fine view of the mountain.) Peter in full denial refuses all blame and I'm thinking we've wandered into a Morecambe and Wise routine involving Andre Previn where all the right notes were played but not necessarily in the right order.

We dried our tears, gave Peter the sack and I'm commissioned to lead us south. They're looking for me to be the next Patsy.

Expertly following road signs (sod the satnav) I lead the troupe to Laxey where M'Lady begs for wee-wee stop. OK, it's anyway a good place to seek a native to ask for onward guidance up yonder hill. A tram station hoved in view, good place to suit both needs methinks so I pull in. Bumpty, bumpty bump, bump, bump. What a silly place to put railway tracks.

Moor alongside platform, Sandra bolts to the conveniences which are conveniently placed and a native comes forward to meet me. How nice of him, how very pleasant people are in Laxey.

"You can't come in here. Didn't you see the NO ENTRY signs? You can't park next the platform. What happens if a tram is coming through?"

Oh dear, it seems I've met the Station Master and he's a bit peeved at my entrance. Not at all the nice man I first thought.

NO ENTRY signs sir? Surely such things are mere suggestions, optional, not to be taken literally. As for trams on the move, they have brakes do they not and can stop to give way to my greater need! Oh, and by the way which is the most direct motor car route up yonder fine hill?

He seems taken aback, but still makes stuttering instruction that I leave. This won't do at all as Sandra not yet returned so I continue to discuss this and that until she appears at which point I follow the Station Masters very pointy finger and depart his lovely little station. Bumpty, bumpty bump, bump, bump.

Find troupe on the High Street. Follow me gang, a native has instructed best route.
Three miles out of town it's clear 'the native' is a vindictive bast**d and has deliberately misdirected me. We are LOST! Colin takes charge, guides us though a capillary artery to the main track and shepherds us to the Victory cafe near top of Snaefell. Good man Colin.

Meet Paul, chin wag for few minutes. Down to Creg-ny-Baa led by Paul who, according to Peter, has hand brake issues (as said earlier, Paul does things in the slow lane). Partake of afternoon tea and agree that after the TT pit lane shoot we shall go round the TT course in one shot. Another good plan which cannot go wrong?

All is well until quarter mile of our destination. Peter suddenly decides he has better route, leaves the main drag and takes off into residential area. Is he on house hunting expedition or is he LOST?

The ever reliable Colin takes him by the neck, leads us back on course and with the grandstand and pit lane in direct frontal view takes us into the local Police Headquarters! We are so close to the pit lane that we can throw a brick at it and although it is impossible to now get lost, Colin does get us LOST! How we laugh.

After the pit lane photo-shoot three of us set off to do The TT course in one. Paul, like tram driver (related?) gets nose bleeds over 30 mph and has opted out. I'm pushed to the front because the others are frightened to lead. Each is worried that if they lead and get lost they may lose 'street cred.'. I have no 'street cred.' to lose so couldn't care less.

We do the circuit in very law abiding manner in less than 55 mins (5 mins stop at Cre-ny-Baa to arrange evening meet up). 'Though lap time record for crazy TT rider is less than 17 mins he wasn't constrained by 20/ 30/ 40mph speed limits. Reckon we did OK and didn't get lost once.

End of day we all meet at cheap Kennels to say good byes. Return Ferries tomorrow for all but me and Sandra. We decided to extend our visit an extra day to do our own thing.


Does not exist on the Isle of Man! First we shall go to the Aviation Museum. No you won't. It's closed Mondays. OK we shall go to Laxey and take the electric tram to the top of the mountain. No you won't. It doesn't run on Mondays.

Fine! We'll visit the Laxey Wheel. Oh no you won't. Didn't anyone tell you it's closed to the public on Mondays.

Take my advice when on the Isle of Man stay in bed Mondays.

Undeterred Sandra and I go village hopping. Fish and chips in Port Erin, this time not lost and I'm now on nodding terms with locals.

Flagged down in Castletown by smartly dressed geezer who asks "Is this really a Middlebridge?" Amazed that MB50 is recognised I answer "yes it is and I'm looking for somewhere to park and enjoy your township." "Over there and tell me all about it." I park the car and we talk car toot.

Turns out he knows a bit, owns an Alvis, is local big wig barrister and Coroner to boot. Gives me his card and invites me to look him up next time on the island. Funny old world ain't it. Who'd have thunk a Middlebridge would be recognised in sleepy old Isle of Man?

All in our gang but Paul did at some time get LOST! Clearly Paul is defective the valuable Get Lost Gene, is to be pitted and we pray for his sake it is treatable. The award for most miles LOST! belongs without doubt to Peter. He is to be congratulated but, I suggest, not encouraged.