Trails and trials of the writer who walks
I hadn’t intended to wild camp my way around the Isle of Man as the coastal path isn’t ‘wild’ , in the sense that it’s never far from farmland or habitation. I thought there would be campsites available. During the TT season, farmers open up fields for camping in the way that they might for a music festival, but none of these are open all the year round, and none are on the coast. Apart from those, campsites seem to be run by the local council and are situated in large fields in the middle of town. I kid you not. The one in Peel resembled your local playing field bordered by a health centre and a large Asda. It wasn’t open until April anyway, but I wouldn’t have pitched there. Laxey was the same, but at least Laxey is a small village and the site was in a quiet road next to a primary school.
In Peel, I wasted another afternoon trying fruitlessly to find some accommodation. Gave up. Consoled myself with a couple of pints and headed on out. Have I mentioned Okell’s Manx Pale Ale? Absolutely yummy. Fragrant and hoppy.
I am now in, possibly, my worst pitch ever which is a narrow railway cutting (Disused, I’m glad to say). The reason I’m here is because it’s now dark and when the railway cutting ends, the footpath will take me back into civilisation so this is my last chance of the day. The verge next to the footpath is almost big enough to take my tent but one side is right up against the brambles and nettles. There is also almost no soil for the pegs as the railway was, of course, built on grit and cinder. The only advantage is being sheltered from the wind on both sides. I am not getting much sleep because, despite my location, the wind is so fierce, my tent keeps partially collapsing as it pulls up its own pegs. Also I am expecting a midnight dog-walker, or perhaps a poacher, to come wandering down the path with a torch (or a gun!) and frighten me to death. What a luxury it will be on my next trip to wild camp properly in the wild.