The Isle of Man is for the most part a hilly island. Only the Northern Plain and some parts of the South are relatively flat.
The main hill land lies down the island’s SSW to NNE axis along the band of the hardest of the Manx Group of rocks, which are of Ordovician age (around 480 million years ago).
The hills offer solitude, fascinating wildlife and spectacular views.
The North Barrule ridge running from near Ramsey towards Snaefell this is a spectacular high level traverse.
Snaefell is of course the highest point on the island at 621m (2036ft). It is a fine view point which can be climbed from the near by Mountain Road or more satisfyingly form sea level on Laxey Beach and other interesting routes can make use of the Snaefell Mountain Railway and the Manx Electric Railway between Douglas and Ramsey.
The hills above Kirk Michael in the NW of the island include Slieau Freoaghane and Slieau Dhoo, both superb view points across the island and towards Ireland and Scotland.
Above Laxey there is a broad ridge of three hills including Slieau Ouyr where Mountain Hares and Hen Harriers can often be seen.
The central hills vary in character from rather wet and grassy to rocky with small crags. Personal favourites are Slieau Ruy, Colden and Carraghan.
South of the central valley which runs from Douglas to Peel the ridge continues with highlights being South Barrule with its Iron Age hill fort and Cronk ny Array Laa which has arguably the best views of all, north across the island and south to the Calf of Man.
Some years ago I drew up a list of all the summits on the island above 300m and now each year I make a point of climbing each one (except for a couple which are on private land).
Here is my list:
A blog about walking on these hills can be found here: http://www.walkingonmanxhills.blog
John Barker has lived on the Isle of Man for over thirty years and in that time has walked, cycled, run, climbed, dived, watched wildlife and studied the geology of this fantastic rock in the Irish Sea. A qualified Mountain Leader, Mountain Bike Leader and Blue Badge Tour Guide for the Isle of Man, John will help you discover some of the Island’s finest trails and tracks.