Snaefell, Isle of Man

Snaefell is the highest mountain on the Isle of Man and the only summit higher than 2,000 feet on the island. Its actual height is generally given as 2034 ft above sea level. The name Snaelfell, or Sniaull in Manx, derives from the Norse for Snow Mountain.

There is a saying on the Isle of Man that on a clear day six kingdoms can be seen from the top of Snaefell. These are England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Heaven. Some versions add a seventh kingdom, that of Neptune, the Kingdom of Sea.

A main road, the A18 from Ramsey to Douglas , snakes along the slopes of Snaefell. Each year the world famous Isle of Man TT motorcycle races are held on the island and the road across Snaefell forms the legendary, very fast and challenging section of the course known as 'The Mountain'. Every June the banks of the famous stretch road are lined with thousands of race fans who have gathered from all over the world to witness the unique spectacle that is the TT.

The opening of the Snaefell Mountain railway in 1896 quickly made the mountain a popular tourist resort. The Snaefell Mountain Railway , Britain's oldest surviving mountain railway still in operation, climbs the steep 1 in 12 gradient as it runs the four miles from Laxey to the mountain's peak. There is a cafe with an exhibition of the railway's history, and several communications masts nestling on the summit. Breathtaking panoramas can be had if the weather stays fine. Riding on the train grants you a view of the Island's largest glacial valley and the beautiful Sulby Reservoir. Spectacular glimpses can be had of the north of the Island looking over the Tholt-y-Will glen to the sandy plains of Jurby, the sand cliffs of Bride and on to the Point of Ayre.

The Snaefell weather is as famous as the railway. While it may be all sun shine and warmth down in Douglas, the weather on the mountain can be totally different. Mist, wind and rain and even snow can descend in moments to transform the weather from pleasant to dangerous. Many a TT race has been called off due to the mountain weather.

The combination of remoteness with accessibility make the area a favourite with walkers and ramblers. There are several paths crossing the mountain that lead the walker in from the likes of Laxey or Sulby village. Observant walkers may catch sight of hen harriers, kestrels, peregrines, curlews and ravens, especially over high ground

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