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Around the Island in 5 days – tackling the Raad ny Foillan like a local

The Isle of Man’s coastal path, the Raad ny Foillan, loops the entire coast of the Island. Rather romantically, it means way of the gull and measures around 100-miles.
Raad Ny Foillan Sign

Dip in to encounter precipitous cliffs, endless stretches of beach, secret tracks, castles, masses of wildlife, and always, the sea. Breaking the Raad ny Foillan into twelve manageable stages will also give you a moderate walking challenge of six to thirteen miles each stretch, which can be split across your weekends, or if you’re a hardened adventurer, the Isle of Man’s coast can be walked in just five days. Here are some of our top tips to doing it safely.

Coastal walking essentials

Time of year, weather, daylight hours and tide times.

Raad ny Foillan is a coastal path. Slippery tracks and misty clifftops can be tricky, as can strong winds, high tides and darkness, so check the weather as part of your planning process. Plan when you walk carefully and set off early. Apart from anything, you want the light to take in the amazing scenery!


How difficult is the Island’s coastal path?

The Raad ny Foillan could be described as undulating rather than mountainous. If you’re a strong walker with a good pace you can hope to manage each section in eight to nine hours.

Weather and blisters are your biggest enemy. Keep an eye on both and consider rest days – especially if the weather is bad. Walking around the Isle of Man is beautiful. You want to enjoy it!

 

Travel to and from

Most sections are off the beaten track. Organise lifts or taxis in advance, then indulge in the luxury of having much of this incredible coastal walk to yourself. Find out more about transport in the Isle of Man here:

Transport on the Isle of Man

Coastal path equipment list

Being an Island, you’re rarely far from civilization. Most sections of the Raad ny Foillan pass through the Island’s towns and villages [https://www.locate.im/living/finding-a-home/isle-of-man-towns-and-villages]. Here you can stock up on snacks or grab a bite to eat at one of the Island’s many coastal cafes. What you will need however:

  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Good quality socks
  • Sturdy, worn in walking boots
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Money
  • A powerful headtorch
  • Fully charged phone
  • Map
  • Bag for your rubbish
  • Compass
  • Walking poles
  • A light rucksack

The Isle of Man’s coastal path in 5 stages

Theoretically, you can start the Raad ny Foillan from anywhere along the coast. Moving South from Douglas Head is a popular choice, but to master it in 5 days, we’re going to start from Peel.

1. Peel to Blue Point

Beginning at the historic Peel castle, this mostly flat stretch will take you through the town. From here you’ll join the old railway track, progressing onto the striking dunes and flat beaches of the North-West shoreline.

Advice and safety: Some sections are impassable at high tide. Pick up from Blue Point.

Peel Castle

2. Blue Point to Glen Mooar

Seabirds, beach and rare lichen heath. Largely flat. Enjoy the views at the Point of Ayre where gannets plummet into the sea. Heading back South, grab a bite to eat in Ramsey, then take care on the rambling clifftop paths around Maughold.

Advice and safety: Cranstal is impassable at high tide. Drop off and pick up. 

3. Port Mooar to Port Soderick

Hilly. Mostly tracks and quiet roads. You’ll also walk along Douglas’ sweeping promenade, and across the quayside swing bridge. From here progress to dramatic views over the precipitous cliffs of Marine Drive.

Advice and safety: Drop off and pick up.

4. Port Soderick to Port Erin

Mostly flat. The second half of this walk passes through the towns of Castletown and Port St Mary. You’ll want good light and weather for the breath-taking cliff walk around the Sound. Keep an eye out for seals at Langness.

Advice and safety: Avoid Southern cliffs in poor weather. Drop off.

5. Port Erin to Peel Castle

Arguably the most challenging section. The views to the South are impressive, as is the descent into Peel which gives you ariel perspective over Peel Castle.  

Advice and safety: Steep. Walking poles advised around Fleshwick. Public transport available. Beware of mist.

The Sound, Kitterland and the Calf of Man

Feeling inspired? Check out some of the Island’s other famous walking challenges, such as the Parish Walk and the End 2 End.

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