Break Camp – Day Out in Douglas – Trip Home

“Take only pictures and leave only footprints”

After 5 nights under canvas at our Café 26, Derbyhaven / Castletown base, it was time to pack away the camp beds, roll-up the sleeping bags and try (and find some clean underwear) before heading back to Douglas for a day of ‘touristy stuff’ a hot shower and a night in a hotel! The Café 26 en-suite facilities (outdoor cold tap) were used for the final time and we set about leaving the site as we’d found it. You’ll recall from our previous days blog that we’d had a taxi ride home and left the car in Castletown and we’d booked the same cabbie for 9am this morning and at the appointed time, after a quick brew, we duly despatched the EPD (Eric) and Jim to Castletown to get the car whilst the rest of us set about packing up and loading the trailer. It didn’t take too long to take pack everything up but on removing the tent-poles, our decision to stay in one place soon took on a whole different perspective when we discovered that of the four poles, three had split / shattered, and after taking it down, we’d not have been able to put it back up! Now that would have put the (tailless) cat amongst the pigeons. It is also worth noting for future trips that when taking a tent down, make sure everyone is out of it 😉

By 9.45am we’d packed and were headed back to Castletown for a second hot breakfast in two days and it’s worth mentioning that the Curry Pastie did not make a second appearance! Suitably fed and watered, a plan was hatched to get us all back to Douglas – we couldn’t all get in in the car AND hitch the trailer as the Panzer was already at the limits of its suspension and so we decided that three of us would head to Douglas in the Car, check-in to the hotel, get showered and changed and the other three would catch the bus.

Again the Premier Inn staff couldn’t have been more helpful and an early check-in was possible on two of the three rooms and showering commenced. By the time the bus-w*nkers had arrived, we were able to rotate the rooms and by about 12 Noon we were all freshened up and ready for our big day out.

We didn’t have many items on the days ‘must-do’ list but we thought a horse-drawn tram and a Manx kipper based meal would be two worth ticking off. The tram start / finish point was at the Northern end of Douglas and we set off for a walk up the Prom and duly arrived at the appropriately named ‘Terminus Tavern’. We purchased our tickets for the tram and set about imbibing several rounds of Manx Pale Ale before making the 10metre walk from pub to the tram.

The tram ride was very pleasant and like many others things on this trip, reminded us all of simpler and slower paced times. 20 minutes later and we were at the Southern terminus of the tramway, disembarked and set out to find some kippers. we’d spoken to some locals and they’d all signposted us to Deverau’s who didn’t just sell kippers, they’ve been selling ‘Superior Manx Kippers’ since 1884.

Unsure as to how we’d get our fill of Kippers, we soon had our appetites wetted by the enthusiastic chap on the counter who asked if we wanted their famous hot kipper barmcake – fresh bread, butter and a warm kipper couldn’t be bettered…or so you’d think and until he asked if we’d like a spread of orange and lime marmalade on it. I have a history with Lime marmalade and it’s not a happy one and it was with some trepidation that I agreed to go with the experts recommendation and he wasn’t wrong – The sandwich was simply mouth watering and if you’re ever in Douglas you need to go and get yourself one.

We continued working our way back towards the harbour and an appointment with the comfy settees at the Britannia and yet more Manx Pale Ale – it wasn’t strong enough to get drunk on and was just a nice pint. Much fun was had over the course of the way back and like the creatures of habit we are, we headed back to Isola for our ‘Last Supper’ and again it didn’t disappoint. We were slightly less tired on this visit and were better able to enjoy the hospitality of the owner and he was able to talk cars with Simon; Simon had spotted an Alfa Romeo SUV parked outside and immediately said that would be the restaurant owners and he was right. It also turned out that the restaurant owners brother was the Islands Nissan dealer and Simon knew him – what a small world!

With a belly full of food and a whole belly full of laughs, we headed back to the Premier Inn for a comfortable nights sleep and a prepared for a relatively early start to catch the 0845 Douglas to Heysham and complete the journey home.

We all managed to make it down to reception for 7am and headed off to the ferry terminal – as for the outward journey, myself and Chris were foot passengers and got ourselves some papers and a coffee whilst the others joined the car queue.
Unlike the outbound journey, we were on the brand new Manxman and we were to travel home in luxury as the vessel had only been in service for 8 weeks. The purser had also had a ready smile which made a refreshing change!

The Isle of Man football team “The Ravens” were playing away at West Didsbury in the North West Counties and there were around 50 supporters on the ferry and they’d be catching the 0215 on Sunday morning on their return journey – that’s dedication for you!

We had a lovely chilled sailing back, read a few newspapers, had a lovely breakfast and took in the sights on a bright and blustery October morning with an accompanying escort of Black Legged Kittiwakes – what’s not to like about that.

Four relaxing hours later, we docked at Heysham and disembarked – we had one final rendezvous at Bippy Village to unload the trailer and then complete the final few miles home.

We’d managed to write another fabulous chapter in the My Left Foot story, seen parts of the World we’d not have seen if we’d not been part of this group and somehow managed to have another week of great My Left Foot weather. We’ve also raised a not too shabby £4000 (at time of writing) that will be distributed to our chosen Charities, SANDS and Streetlife.

Thanks to each and every one of the people who have kindly made donations and for taking the time to red these bogs. You’ll be delighted to know that we have plan for at least three more challenges, some crazier than others and we’ll certainly keep you posted on which one we chose to do first.

Until next time. Cheers.

Joe, Simon, Jim Chris, Knocker and Eric. Together, The My Left Foot Society

My Left Foot – IoM 100 Mile Hike – The Last Leg

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