Isle of Man highlights – (4) The Manx National Glens

Environmentalists are big fans of national parks, areas of land protected by governments for their beautiful countryside, rich wildlife and cultural heritage. All civilised countries have them, wearing them like badges of honour to demonstrate their commitment to conservation.

The word “park” conjures up the idea of great size, implying huge tracts of land stretching as far as the eye can see. But the Isle of Man is tiny, less than a quarter of the area of the Lake District, England’s foremost national park. A Manx national park is out of the question, but not to be outdone the island’s government has opted for National Glens instead.

A glen is a narrow valley, the word being derived from the Gaelic language, and there’s no doubt the glens are amongst the Isle of Man’s best natural features. They are heavily wooded, featuring rushing streams, tumbling waterfalls, fizzing cascades, deep rock pools and lush vegetation. Scattered here and there along them are the remains of watermills, echoes of a bygone age.

I don’t think you’d describe the National Glens as spectacular – the scale is wrong, too small – but definitely attractive and serene. They’re a perfect getaway from the hurly-burly of 21st century living.

The Manx government has designated no fewer than 18 mountain and coastal National Glens. These are preserved and maintained in a semi-natural state by its Forestry, Amenity and Lands Division, and are freely accessible to locals and tourists alike.

Pocket-sized though they are, the National Glens are a real asset to a little island in the middle of the Irish Sea. These compact and picturesque gems give the Isle of Man an unexpected but distinctive charm. Small really is beautiful.

In my book, few things in the natural world beat the sight and sound of running water amid the myriad greens of a secluded, verdant valley. Take a look at my YouTube video for a sense of the peaceful atmosphere in Silverdale Glen, Glen Maye, Ballaglass Glen and Glen Dhoon:


  1. chalkandcheesetravels · July 22, 2020

    Looks so beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. chalkandcheesetravels · July 22, 2020

    Certainly will do

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tanjabrittonwriter · July 26, 2020

    Attractive and serene is just as–if not more–satisfying as spectacular. One can only take the latter in small doses, but a steady diet of the former is buoying (don’t you love the tumble of vowels surrounding the upsilon?) and nourishing.

    And thank you for bringing back high-school English. When I read your words “hurly-burly,” the witches’ speech leapt right back into the forefront of my memory. 🙂

    But apart from linguistics and literature, your lyrical descriptions of running water and myriad shades of green paint a vivid and inviting picture of the glens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · July 27, 2020

      Thank you for the positive feedback. Tanja. It’s always gratifying when someone looks beyond the content and spots what I’m trying to do with writing style. You’ve made an ancient Platypus Man purr with pleasure 🙂.

      Speaking of tumbling vowels, what about “onomatopoeia?” Those ancient Greeks have a lot to answer for.

      I love the term “hurly burly,” which has a gently poetic quality. It’s not much used these days, other than by dinosaurs like me, and I suspect (unless they’d studied Macbeth) members of the Facebook generation would look at me blankly if I used in their presence! Ah, the younger generation, so innocent 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter · July 28, 2020

        I’m glad to have made you purr, Mr. P.😸
        It is obvious how much time and care you invest in your stories, and I know from personal experience how gratifying it is when someone pays attention to what you want to say, and how you say it.
        I always enjoy your posts and learn something new, so I hope you will continue to feel inspired.
        I’m also a fan of old-fashioned or rare or unusual words. They exist to be used, not to be forgotten in an archive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · July 28, 2020

        Thank you so much, Tanja, I’m now purring so loud walls are vibrating 😸. I love words, I like to roll them around on my tongue to try them out for size, and to set them loose on a page and watch them dance and shimmy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter · July 28, 2020

        Ditto (so much for eloquence). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · July 29, 2020


        Liked by 1 person

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