Our last stop in England is the Isle of Man where Kathryn found a beautiful hike along the coast that claimed spectacular views. Although five miles in length, we were game. But, we had some impediments. It was raining and the clouds were very low. The fog was so thick, we could barely see a few feet in front of us. Undaunted, we made the ascent into the clouds.

Notice the low clouds ahead – most of our hike was through these clouds.

We came across a single sheep, nearly hidden by the fog, Jokingly, I yelled into the fog, “baaaa”. What I got back was amazing. It was a chorus of “baaaa’s” right back at me. We walked a bit further and came across the source of our reply, the Isle of Man Choral Sheep. There were hundreds of them staring at us, wondering why we were out on such a day.

Sheep would seemingly appear out of the fog, “baaa” at us, and then scamper away. [iPhone photo]

We kept hiking a couple of miles into the clouds and determined we knew not where we were, even with a map and a set of hiking instructions. After some angst and some more hiking through the dense fog, we came across a major marker at the half-way point, the “derelict” building, aka an old café. It was abandoned save some sheep.

We found out they only serve sheep.

After a quick lunch in the shelter of the derelict cafe, we set out again…

We walked on and on through sheep and shite not knowing if we were heading in the right direction. We could easily be going off into a sheep farm of no return. The biggest worry, aside from our limited visibility, was the off chance that we would miss our ship departure, stranding us on the Isle of Man. We stopped often, consulting a map (and directions) that gave us no new information. Maybe, as the paper fully soaked, some invisible ink would appear, giving us the answer to our dilemma. Finally, we came across a gate. Surely there would be a sign telling us the direction to our destination of Cregneash. Many of the gates to this point had a sign with a small arrow. Would this one?

We reached the gate. There was a sign. Unfortunately, it was broken, and the pieces strewn across the ground. There was no way to determine which direction to go, up the hill to the left or down the hill to the right?

I was starting to think we were in a horror movie. [iPhone photo]

The instructions stated that we should go up the hill. But, we were very tired of going up. To the right looked easier and it was down. We flipped the preverbal coin, lost, and trudged our way up the hill. But we were still very much in doubt. I took out my compass and checked our heading, which read northwest. When looking at the map our direction should be North to Cregneash, not northwest. After some unhealthy debate, we decided to turn around and head back down the hill to the gate, then down the path in the other direction. A few moments later, we doubted ourselves again. I again took out my compass and determined we were heading northeast. We wanted to go North! Since the written instructions said we had to go up, we turned around, retraced our steps, and headed back up the hill.

After a few moments, we had no idea whether we were heading toward the town or further into the pastures. Finally, the pathway turned into pavement. We were near civilization. Up we trudged past a few horses and a thatched roof house.

We were so glad to reach civilization.

We stopped for a photo (the one above) when a man jumped out from behind the fence. “Hello!”, he exclaimed. I replied, “hi, do you know where we are?” The man paused for a moment as if this was the toughest question posed to him in quite some time. “Don’t know, too much fog for me to tell.” After a good laugh by the three of us, we learned we made it to Cregneash. We now knew we could make it back to the ship.

Once we knew we were safe, we set out again. We came across an old WW2 hut and radar station. [iPhone photo]

Going back in time we reached a neolithic stone circle. We were the only ones there.

Is there is a moral to this story? I couldn’t tell you. But I do know one thing, it’s all about the light.