here is something about the ends of the world which attract people and The Sound at the southern most tip of the Isle of Man is no exception. People go for the stunning views of the coastline, the Calf of Man and the even tinier Kitterland. This is the place to come and watch for seals, basking on the rocks of Kitterland. You may be lucky and also see dolphins and basking sharks
The Calf of Man is in the care of the Manx Wildlife Trust and has a small bird observatory. There has been a successful programme to eradicate rats which arrived after a shipwreck and decimated the bird population. Local boatmen run trips from either Port Erin or Post St Mary and it is possible to stay in bunkhouse accommodation on the island.
The actual tip itself is a fairly flat grassy plateau, surrounded by rugged cliffs. The long distance footpath, Raad Ny Foillan follows the coast from Port Erin to Port St Mary and makes a wonderful walk.
The Sound Visitor Centre and cafe, which opened in 2002 and cost £1million pounds, is designed to have little visual impact with its long low building and grass roof. It must have one of the best views anywhere on the island. It also serves very good cakes.
The Calf of Man and Kitterland are separated by a narrow but treacherous strip of water known as Calf Sound. Many ships have been wrecked here. The most famous was possibly the Lily which ran aground on Kitterland in 1852. Her cargo included 60 tins of gunpowder bound for Africa. During the salvage operation, this exploded killing 33 men. The explosion was heard 20 miles away.
On the headland overlooking the sound is the lovely white Thousla Cross. This commemorates the bravery of Manxmen who went to give aid to a French schooner, Jeaune St. Charles” which was sailing to Londonderry in 1858. Two of the crew died but four mariners were rescued after clinging to the Thousla Rock during a south westerly gale.
Also overlooking Calf Sound, is the Percy Cowley memorial. A simple stone pillar, this commemorates Deemster Sir Percy Cowley, an influential and foresighted Manxman who was instrumental in setting up the Manx National Trust.
The Sound does get busy, especially on a warm sunny day (you wouldn’t want to visit on a wet and windy one!) and the car park does get very busy. It is easy to lose the crowds if you are prepared to walk a short distance. The views are equally stunning whichever way you go!
There is a lot more information and pictures about the Isle of Man “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/index.html