A Very Different A3!

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Day 7 - Wednesday 6 September

Today's plan is a day's cycle ride. We're going to take a cycle path - well, we think it's a cycle path - and some quiet country lanes down to Corrin's Tower, near Peel, via the site of the ancient Manx parliament, Tynwald Hill. The parliament still carries the name "Tynwald", although it's now physically located in Douglas and nobody gathers around the hill any more except for a once-yearly ceremonial meeting.

Well, it's a bit rough, but not impassible by bike. Not here, anyway. We'll find much rougher terrain shortly.

That looks like it's worth a short diversion on foot.

Not enormous, but a nice little detour for a few minutes.

At the end of the track we find a machine for mowing rabbits. We'd not previously been aware that they needed mowing, still less that it was a job requiring substantial machinery. What an educational trip this is proving to be.

Technically, this is now an actual road.

Oh yes, Feb is coming with us for an adventure.

Not quite sure what the brown sign is for, let's go see.

It turns out that it's been converted into an arts and crafts centre and Amanda finds a little retail therapy opportunity.

We buy a couple of local ice creams, but sad to say, they're rather disappointing. We make better ourselves.

And so to the Tynwald site itself. Fewer tourists than, say, the Houses of Parliament in Westminster would expect.

The picture should just about be readable, but I'll transcribe a few of the key points.

The word 'Tynwald' is derived from the Old Norse word Þingvǫllr meaning "assembly field". The Icelandic parliament today is called by almost exactly the same name, Þingvellir, and there's some dispute between the two as to which is the earliest.

The traditional date of the annual assembly was Midsummer Day, 24th June. However, when Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, they kept the same actual day even though it was now the 5th of July, on which date it has been celebrated ever since.

[That letter 'Þ', by the way, is called "thorn" and is pronounced as 'th' is in modern English. It's generally been supplanted by the latter in modern languages other than Icelandic. And because early printing presses were developed in Belgium and The Netherlands, which didn't use this letter in their languages, English printers took to substituting the letter 'y' instead, though still intending the 'th' pronunciation. "Ye Olde Whatever" is not meant to be pronounced 'yee'.

Read more about it on this Wikipedia page.]

A subtle hint that this is the entrance to a dairy farm.

Aha. that's Corrin's Tower up ahead.

We'll tie the bikes up and walk; if there's a cycle track to be found, it's not here.

Sadly it's not open to the public.

Looking down, we can see Peel castle and the town and harbour.

Some sheep want to join us on our walk.

And this sort of thing is the reason we can't take the bikes.

After a pleasant stroll, we take the more direct route back to base, cycling through the town of Peel and bombing up the A4. But as I said before, it's not the A4 as we know it. I don't think we'd be keen to ride our bicycles there.

And before I start dinner, time for a beer in the sun with my new friend.

We can see rather more stars here than in Esher. This picture doesn't really do it justice.

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