Tuesday, 25 April 2017

On Board with Davy Morgan TT 2017

Although our business has been sponsoring riders since 1978, especially in the MGP & TT Classic, it's been a few years since we have had a rider in the TT itself.

We were approached by a team last winter and I'm pleased to announce that for the 2017 season The Welbeck Hotel & Restaurant will helping to support Davy Morgan.

The good news is that he is very easy to spot as he wears a shocking pink helmet.

Davy is an experienced campaigner, having begun racing in 1994 and he won several Irish Clubmans' Championships.

Sensibly, he served a 10 year apprenticeship on the roads before taking on the TT course and was the winner of the Senior Manx Grand Prix, breaking the Lap Record in 120.68mph (2004.)

He has regularly finished in Top 10 of the Main Irish Road Race Championships and being a keen two stroke man has won the 250cc class at both the premier international Irish meetings, the North West 200 in 2005 and the Ulster Grand Prix in 2012.

Davy must have a pretty big mantlepiece as he has a major collection of TT Bronze Replicas and is a regular podium man in both UK and Irish road races.

2016 was another successful year, with wins in the non-finalist Scarborough Gold Cup, another victory at Skerries and numerous escond and third placings, culminating with having been invited to the Macau Grand Prix last November.

Davy came a highly respectable 6th place at last weekend's Tandragee 100 on the ZX10 Angry Bee Kawasaki but unfortunately he pulled in because of the conditions in the second race, a decision vindicated by the cancellation of the rest of the meeting due to the weather.

Funds providing, (and if there are any more willing sponsors out there, the team would be grateful for any extra support*) he will have a very busy year, riding on our shores for the TT, the Sothern 100 and the Classic TT.

We expect that we will see him some evenings at the Welbeck and he even gives his name to the Davy Morgan Welbeck Grill which consists of pork chop, chicken fillet ,pork sausage,small sirloin, gammon egg chips and choice of sauce as an extra. 

* If you too wish to contribute to Davy's campaign, you can join his supporters club by sending a message to Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/davymorgan71/ to be sent a form or by contacting Jane Brookes manxie03@hotmail.co.uk

Monday, 10 April 2017

An Afternoon in Magnificent Maughold

A bit of a walkablog about our expedition to the North of the Island yesterday. There are lots of pictures on https://www.facebook.com/WelbeckHotel/?fref=ts if you don't fancy the full read. Basically from Port Moaar, we followed the Raad-ny-Fiollan (Way of the Gull) marked by pictures of white birds on a blue background.

The original idea was to catch the Manx Electric Railway in the morning and head off for Ballaglass Glen but due to a little over indulgence on the bed front, we eventually decided to take the car.

Opposite the Glen Mona Hotel, there is a small grassy lane which runs alongside a stream. Despite some board walk, it can me a little damp under foot here and in a few other areas of we traversed, so boots or quite sturdy trainers would probably be the best option.

This takes you across the MER track and down to the ford where the Port Cornaa Road forks off to the Cashtal-yn-Ard Road and we opted for the latter.

For those of you who don't me, I was a long distance race walker and I have used this road many times over the years in training and even directed people on occasion to the the ancient burial site, so this was a great opportunity to visit Cashtal-yn-Ard instead of thundering past as I would have when I was an athlete.

It is only 300m off the single track road and is a collection of stones, thought to date back to 2000BC. Apparently there was once a megalithic, chambered cairn which was built as a monument and though this no longer exists, it is still supposed to be one of the best preserved sites of its kind in the British Isles.

We then continued on down past the back of Ballaglass Glen (The Walk from there to Port Cornaa and down to Laxey was covered in 2013 http://michaelswelbeckblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/walkablog-heads-north-well-south.html and then up to Port Cornaa Halt

The end of daffodil season is coming but there are still plenty of late blooming examples along the roadside, as well many others, including a very pretty purple flower, we couldn't identify.

Having walked the last few miles on tarmac, it was a pleasure after dropping down to the outskirts of Maughold, through the dreaded, Ballajora (well it's dreaded by many travelling in the opposite direction) to turn along to Port Moaar and then to be back on the trails.

Some ares are reasonably challenging, so a fair level of agility and fitness is required.

It always amazes me how few people you meet on these footpaths; there were only two other people between here and Maughold Head, apart from some sunbathers on one of the beaches, though it was a great irony that as soon as I returned to Facebook Land later, one of my friends had covered a very similar route.

A little further along form the photograph below, we saw our only seal of the day, idly fishing just a few metres off the cliff side, though unfortunately, he (I think) seemed camera shy.

The views from the top of Maughold Head are amazing but it is a lung busting hike to reach the summit! This is the gateway to the Brooghs (For some reason the Northern Brooghs have an 'H' but the Marine Drive Broogs do not) which is a dramatic walk along the top of the cliffs, looking towards Ramsey and the North of the Island.

We finally arrived back on the bitumen for a short hop down to Port-e-Vullen which is a very picturesque little bay but be careful if you are following our route towards the North as it is only signposted for people heading South (probably South East or due East actually) and very easily missed.

Also, you have to be careful not to go at high tide as we did all those years ago and had to scale across the rocks.

When you come off the path at Port Lewaigue, it is only a short stroll back to the main road. Of course, we managed to mistime it, so that we didn't make either the bus or a tram and had to walk back into Ramsey to catch one though there would be an opportunity to either take public transport back or continue on the Raad-ny-Foillan. However, after over 3 hours, it decided enough was enough for us.

The good news is that the Glen Mona Pub is once again open, following major refurbishment. The bad news is that all the detail on Facebook and the internet from the former regime is still there and the new owners are having a nightmare failing to remove it, so make sure you use the correct FB icon if you require information https://www.facebook.com/GlenMonaHotel/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf
We enjoyed a well deserved pint there but unfortunately were too late to eat. Please support it though, as the country pubs need to be used if they are going to survive.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Langness - I'll Get to the Point, Shortly!

Irene and I spent the day at Langness yesterday.

It was ironic that having spent our first 90 minutes on a Beachbuddies clean up, that I should inadvertently have littered the beach myself by dropping my car key somewhere!

Despite searching for another half an hour, it refused to be found and I had to be rescued by our brilliant daughter, Lucy who went to our house and retrieved the spare key , then drove to Castletown to give it to us (A scary vision of the future for the poor girl?)

Therefore, the first part of our walk was into Castletown to wait for her. From Derbyhaven to the town, there is an under rated beach and it is very picturesque, if a little longer journey than you'd initially think, especially in wellies!

You pass Hango Hill where Manx rebel, Illiam Dhone was executed (shot not hanged) the Rope Walk and the exterior wall of 'Lorne House,' before you can cross the bridge into the town itself.

There is a new Costa opposite the Castle and behind the 'Glue Pot,' where even if you are not a fan of the chain coffee houses, the view is fabulous on such a sunny day.

Having somehow clung on to my marriage despite aforementioned lack of key, luckily for me, you cannot stay angry and miserable for too long, surrounded by such beauty bathed in sunshine, that's shimmering on the water.

Langness, literally means 'Long Point' and indeed it has a long history, is rich in wildlife and has some incredible geology.

We parked on Derbyhaven Bay, adjacent to the Golf Course which is reputedly the best on the Island. It is currently owned by South African businessman and 100 mile walker, Philip Vermeulen and the 'Road Hole,' featured some years ago in Peter Aliss's book about his favourite 18 holes.

There is a single track road which leads to a bigger public car park by the lighthouse.

Many of the historic sites in the Island now have signs with QR Codes on them. I downloaded the App on to my telephone and used this feature for the first time to learn more about the area.

Its greatest claim to fame and a fact known little outside the Isle of Man is that it staged the first ever Derby horse race, which I am always quick to impress on people who come here from the Epsom area. The Derby family were Lords of Man before the reigning UK Monarchs took the title.

There are many birds, including herons, choughs, oyster catchers and a litany of gulls. There are lots of grey seals and I managed to catch a baby swimming on video, see Welbeck FB page https://www.facebook.com/ and lots more pictures.

The geology is amazing all around the promontory but of particular interest are the Arches which have apparently been formed relatively recently by sea erosion. They have what is known as 'Unconformity,' the lower halves having been formed 480 million years ago while the upper halves were caused by flash flood depositing gravel only 350 million years ago.

Replacing the Herring Tower which is unlit, the lighthouse was built in 1880 after requests from mariners and to this day you can see why, with the jagged, partially hidden rocks around the coastline.

It was formerly the home of erstwhile Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson who was married to Manx lady, Frances Cain who still owns the property.

There was controversy when Clarkson blocked off a popular footpath, so people wouldn't pass immediately by his kitchen window. Happily, the path has been re-opened and the living accommodation is now used as a holiday cottage.

Ms Cain's father Robert was a war hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Carrying along around the footpath, we eventually came to the area where a flock of the famous Manx Loaghtan sheep graze. Unfortunately, there was a recent case of sheep worrying in what is a clearly delineated place.

The golf course is re-joined at the famous 17th hole where players have to tee off across a cove, into which I imagine there are many, many balls!

We passed the sadly dilapidated Golflinks Hotel, on this occasion, we decided that we'd had enough and decided not to go on to St Michael's Isle which is another interesting visit.

A great day out and two sun burnt faces. Well worth exploring if you are in the the Island!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Legally Blonde at The Gaiety Theatre

Irene didn't fancy listening to fake American accents all night but I had insisted that we go and watch 'Legally Blonde' because we hadn't done anything 'Different' for a while even though I hadn't a clue what it was about.

To be honest, when the opening number started, I wasn't sure if we would make it to the interval, as everything was pink, the accents were indeed a little grating and it looked like being a saccharine version of 'Grease.'

We stayed with it and were both extremely glad that we did because it was very funny (particularly after the interval) and uplifting, with great singing, dancing and athleticism (How anyone can skip at full tilt and still sing is mind boggling.) It even has a bit of a plot and though you'd basically guess the ending after a few minutes, there's murder and suspense along the way.

If anyone is familiar with the director and choreographer, Anthony Williams' and/or his work, you could see his personality shining through this musical, with its humour, big dance numbers, costumes and the slick professionalism with which it was performed and staged.

Anthony's sense of fun pervaded the cast and they all seemed to enjoy being there; as usual with these local productions, you have to constantly remind yourself that they are all amateurs, with the exception of the brilliant, Harry Lydon, who is hilarious as Kyle B O'Boyle.

The lead role is played by Ann-Marie Craine and there are other starring performances by Lisa Dancox and Liam Kaneen.

My mother also saw the show but was very near the front in the stalls and found it a little noisy for her taste, so a tip may be to be a little further back or sit in the dress circle where we had no issue.

This show deserves success, so make sure it's a sellout.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Irene & Mike Do Pilates 1020 Where It All Began

Today a and I had our ever first Pilates class and it was one with a difference!
Some 100 years after its creator Joseph of the same name developed what he at the time labelled 'Contrology,' while interned at Knockaloe, near Peel, 1020 of us gathered to exercise in the very same part of the field where it all began.

Born in Germany in 1883 to a German mother who was a naturopath and a Greek father, a gymnast, his early years were blighted by asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, leading to a lifetime dedicated to improving his physical strength and fitness.
He formed a belief that modern living, bad posture and inefficient breathing were at the root of poor health.

His father had introduced him to gymnastics, body building, boxing and martial arts such as jiu jitsu and by 1912 he had emigrated to United Kingdom where he became a professional boxer, circus performer and trained the Police in self defence.

Despite having worked at Scotland Yard, he was first interned at Lancaster, then Isle Of Man, one of 30,000 to be held during that period.

Boredom was the main enemy of the men in the camp but Joseph used his time to study yoga and the movement of the Manx cats and other
animals and he had a captive audience to test his techniques and regime.
He moved back to Hamburg following his release but disillusioned with the political and sociological landscape at the time, set off for New York, meeting his future wife on the sea passage. They set up a studio, soon establishing a major following within the performing arts and dance community.

Knockaloe Mooar Beg farm became the biggest detention centre in the British Isles, becoming a small town, being three miles in circumference, guarded by 4,000 old soldiers and served by 250 locals with 695 miles of barbed wire surrounding the 23 compounds.
It even had its own railway line, the 1:20 gradient being the steepest on the Island, thus requiring a mighty engine, The Caledonia.

However, looking at the area now, there is virtually no clue of what was once there but a group of enthusiastic locals has banded together to rectify the situation by turning the former Patrick School into a visitor centre and setting up a brilliant website www.knockaloe.im
The concept for the event was a both to act as publicity for Pilates, the history of Knockaloe, as well as being a fundraiser because the condition of building isn't very good and will need lots of money.

The 1020 was the number of internees held in the one quarter of the field we were in.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Michael - Submariner

These days, I'm finding it much easier to take a few pictures and wang them straight up on Facebook, with a word or two of explanation, rather than write a full blog, so I only discovered the other day that I hadn't actually completed writing this one which is not far shy of two months old!
Six weeks ago, we had a visit from our daughter and son-in-law along with the 18 month old child, Jack.

As many of our Facebook followers would have seen, this gave us the opportunity to play holidaymakers for a few days and for us to experience the visitor stay. Although I still had to cover a few breakfasts, it was very enjoyable and on our first morning, I cycled to Port Erin to join the rest of the family who'd taken the train. Incidentally, it costs just £3 to put you bicycle in the Guard's carriage should you not have the energy to retrace your tyre tracks.
On our second morning the Douglas weather was atrocious, so we were a little slow off the mark (nothing to do with the previous evening's beverage consumption. Honest!) What holidaymakers often fail to appreciate is that especially due to Snaefell Mountain (other slieaus ((Manx for mountain or fell)) can also be apportioned blame,) there can be different weather systems operating at the same time over such a small area. One of the most extreme examples of this was the huge snowstorm of March 2013 which devastated the West of the Island, leading to the loss of some 15,000 livestock despite the endeavours of the farmers and volunteers but hardly affected the East coast at all.
The forecast for that particular day was for sun in the North. Though I've encountered this phenomenon many times in the past, as the bus began the descent into Ramsey, though I had boldly informed everyone of impending blue skies, even I once again began to doubt the wisdom of my old chum Adrian Cowin, the Chief Meteorological Officer and his team at Ronaldsway!

And then! And then, although even most of Maughold was grey, we rounded the bend to see wonderful brightness over the Northern plains and up to the Point of Ayre.

After a lovely afternoon, mainly with Jack, nearly daring to splash around in the children's water feature in Mooragh Park, we took the Manx Electric Railway tram back to the gloom at Laxey before finishing the journey back to Douglas.
Another train trip, another cracking day at Ballasalla and Silverdale on the Sunday.
Our luck didn't quite run out with the weather but somehow, we had managed to mix up the date that the family was returning home, so on Tuesday, we had a spare day to ourselves. Time to re-introduce ourselves to the kayaks! It was the first time we'd been out from Peel on our own and we arrived at Fenella Beach looking forward to perhaps seeing some sharks and seals. The wind was blowing a little but it wasn't too choppy and nothing that we hadn't experienced before. I was quite annoyed at myself as I'd forgotten my spare spectacles but I like to be able to see what's going on, so I just thought I'd keep my vari-focals.
Unfortunately, we didn't see any of the cetaceous marine life or seals but there were guillemots, black backed gulls, cormorants or shags (I always forget which is which) and quite a few birds we couldn't identify.

Although we had to go through the waves and into the wind, it was quite good fun, though we didn't go quite so far as we'd intended and didn't find a beach to eat our packed lunch on. Typically as we turned back, the breeze seemed to ease off a little and we didn't quite have the push we had had been expecting.

I had my camera, which whilst it wasn't waterproof, I was pretty confident I wouldn't let it drop in the sea. Irene spotted a couple of puffins but frustratingly, every time I seemed to get in position, the boat would be pushed round and I wouldn't have quite the shot I was looking for. Although it wasn't as rough as when we paddled out, it wasn't pan flat and I just couldn't manoeuvre and hold the camera to find the picture I wanted. Therefore, I twisted right round in the kayak. Obviously, my shift in weight, combined with a bit of a wave hitting from behind meant that my balance wasn't quite what it should have been and the next thing I knew, I was upside down in the Irish Sea.

Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock, I was very wet, the first pair of expensive glasses I'd ever owned had floated off to the bottom of the briny and my non-watertight photographic apparatus was as soggy as me!

And then there was re-mounting the kayak!

I've done this many times on sit-on versions and even managed many times on the one occasion I was taken paddling on a surf-ski, so assumed this would be very easy.

After about twenty minutes trying, I discovered that I was wrong to assume this would be very easy and my arms were starting to tire somewhat from dragging myself up, only for the the thing to roll over at the last moment.

Admittedly, I was beginning to fear that I'd have to be rescued but instead opted to swim for a reasonably flat rock.

Once again, I became a little worried that I'd taken the wrong option as a few waves slammed the boat into be and the barnacles were cutting my legs but eventually, I succeeded in jumping in and sliding off my slab, though the water still in the kayak made the return journey to Fenella Beach a little wobbly to say the least!

We've since discovered how to re-enter a kayak, bought a bilge pump and soon will be booking a safety course but it is a cautionary tale and I'd certainly urge any other would be paddlers to respect the ocean a little more than I did.

Putting the boats back on the car roof was certainly tough with arms like jelly but we headed off to the Peveril for a much needed beer with only minor grazes, bruises and the pride a little dented, though still in tact.

However, life obviously had other ideas and felt my inflated ego still needed further pricking because a Dutch couple had been watching us from the Raad-ny-Foillan on the cliffs above and approached us to check that we were okay as they had been on the verge of ringing the emergency services.

You understand what I mean? The first thing you do when you fall over in the street is to look around and check if anyone has seen you and if the coast is clear, it doesn't seem to hurt half as much.

AND the picture of the puffin didn't even turn out after all that!


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Oliver at the Gaiety Theatre

Every August, Taylorian Productions, the company founded by Matt James and the late Patrick Taylor, put on a fantastic show and this year they are especially excited to have been given the opportunity to bring us the World's favourite musical, Lionel Bart's Oliver!

Professional director, John Cumberlidge is a regular guest at the Welbeck and the quality of his collaborations with local performers has led many people to compare them with their West End counterparts.

Last year's superb 'Phantom of the Opera' was a record breaker, so it's great to have secured permission to do another modern classic so soon.

The show opens 8th August and continues until 20th nightly from 7:30 with matinées on both Saturdays @ 14:30.

Tickets cost £22.50 for adults and £20 for concessions and you can book through https://villagaiety.ticketsolve.com/shows/873555194/events?TSLVq=accf5602-2450-4614-ba17-733aee698b7e&TSLVp=c199ba09-9291-458c-99bc-9296ba9726a5&TSLVts=1470221056&TSLVc=ticketsolve&TSLVe=villagaiety&TSLVrt=Safetynet&TSLVh=4d583ea825451e677fa2bbf511a9f1cc

The cast is headed by Joe Locke and William Shooter starring as Oliver, Benjamin Heath as Fagin and Georgia Maddocks playing Nancy and although I'm sure you won't need me to outline Charles Dickens' famous story, all the information and full details are on the website: http://taylorianproductions.net/oliver!-2016.html

As one of the show's sponsors, The Welbeck Restaurant also offers a 10% discount for pre-theatre dinners (bar meals start @ 5pm, Restaurant @ 5:45) , so please book by ringing 675663 or online @ http://www.welbeckhotel.com/restaurant/