Friday, 11 October 2013

Manx Lit Fest trip in photos

I was recently invited to the Isle of Man for the second Manx Lit Fest. I had a fabulous time, and when not going round schools, signing books or giving talks on writing and Tudor fiction, I was driving about the beautiful island where I was once a resident and snapping photos in some very familiar spots.

My grateful thanks go to the various sponsors of the Manx Literary Festival, especially the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and the Isle of Man Bank, and to the very generous sponsors of my individual events, Lingua Franca, a translation company run by the charming Franca Fritz. Without such generosity, literary festivals could not be run, and authors like myself could not attend them.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip. I'm afraid I didn't snap any pics during actual events, but perhaps I will be sent some photos taken by other people, and be able to blog them later. If using any of these elsewhere, please attribute them to this blog.

All these photos were taken by yours truly with a humble iPhone. None have been edited, they are straight from the can.


Between Heysham and the Isle of Man. Aboard the Ben-My-Chree, or Woman-of-my Heart in Manx Gaelic.

An inspired mirror tile ceiling on the boat over. It took my mind off the incessant pitching ...

Port Erin beach, Bradda Head in the distance. An iconic scene from my 23 years on the island, living just a few minutes' drive from this spot.

Further along Port Erin beach, the small harbour and headland.

A fantastic indie bookshop opposite Port Erin beach, always there for as long as I can remember.

This is the Darrag. A tiny hilltop cut-through for locals between Port Erin (straight ahead) and Cregneish (behind). Above this spot is an ancient stone circle and burial ground with fantastic views around the south of the island.

View from the Darrag (towards Cregneish) looking at the Calf Sound, a famous bird sanctuary.

Hango Hill, Castletown: site of the execution by firing squad of Illiam Dhone, popularly considered a Manx martyr, for his part in surrendering Castle Rushen, last Royalist stronghold in the English Civil War, to the Roundheads. I wrote a poem sequence about him once.

Next to Hango Hill, a selfie with King William's College in the background: I didn't 'quite' go to school there, it was the all boys' equivalent to the all girls' public school I attended nearby. So we mingled a lot, you know ...

Castletown beach, from the head of the promenade at Hango.

This was the best view I could get of my mother's old home, Crogga Castle, on the Old Castletown Road. They have a miniature railway running round the grounds there now. Shock, horror!


Under the railway bridge ... taken while driving. Tsk, tsk.

The view from my hotel bedroom. I stayed at the Station Hotel, Port St Mary. I could see my old cottage up at Glen Chass from the back landing window. A nostalgic visit ...

I went back on the faster craft to Liverpool, the Manannan. The sea was very choppy. Meh.

See the man on the ceiling playing cards ... ?

Quocunque Jeceris Stabit: 'Whichever way you throw, it will stand.' The motto and 3-legged symbol of the Isle of Man, spotted on a glass panel in the ferry cafeteria; that's the food counter behind it.

The chairs on the Isle of Man Steam Packet ferries are chained to the floor. This should give you an idea of how rough the seas are in winter. Just as well the Manx Lit Fest - who very kindly invited me back to the island for this 2013 visit - is held in early autumn!

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