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Snaefell and Mines

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Snaefell and Mines
Author: Vic, Published: 20 Jan 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide star0 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide star0 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide star0 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide star0 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide
Isle of Man, Snaefell
Walk Type: Mountains
Snaefell and Mines
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide boot Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide boot Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide boot Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide
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0003_white_cloud Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Today's weather
18 °C, Cloudy, Wind: 12 mph SSW
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This is a comparatively short walk of just under 4 miles, but it covers a steep climb to the highest point on the Isle of Man, gives a view of the mountain railway at its peak and a chance to examine the site of what was a thriving mine some 100+ years ago.

SPECIAL NOTICE: On motorcycle race days in June and in August please ensure you know the times of the races in the area (widely advertised on the Manx Radio, local press, and tourist offices), because you will not be able to park at the start or cross over the mountain road when the races are in progress, as it is a part of the race route.

The walk route takes you for a climb at the start to the peak of Snaefell, the Isle of Man’s highest mountain. At the top of Snaefell, on a clear day there is a 360 degree view of the whole of the Island, as well as views of Cumbria, Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales on an exceptionally clear day. Food, drinks and toilets are also available at the summit. After your descent and a further short climb, you will descend to the disused zinc and lead mines that were thriving more than 100 years ago. The route back is steep, across moorland to the start, where you will also be able to see some of the Manx Railway trains which go from Snaefell to Laxey at the end of the valley.

The total height climbed over the course of the walk is 1780 ft and there are several steep sections. The paths are remote and indistinct on the moorlands so you will need a map and the live GPS map on the App will be particularly helpful. You will need to negotiate a few gates and stiles (some of which have wire fenced surrounds so dogs will need a lift over) on the route. Sheep run free on the hills, so dog owners are advised to keep their pets on a lead. Allow 2-2.5 hours for the walk.

The walk starts and finishes at The Bungalow, at the junction between the A14 and A18 and alongside the Bungalow Station for the Mountain Railway. Whether you are coming from Douglas or from the north of the Island, take the mountain road, the A18. Go as far as the turn off marked to Tholt y Will. This is known as the Bungalow, where you will see a Mountain Railway halt, a footbridge over the road, and a free car park. Park here. Alternatively, you could go a different route to Laxey on the A2, where parking is easy, and then get on a Snaefell Mountain Railway tram at the tram station close to the centre of the small town. This gives you the chance of a stunning journey up the mountain, and eventually back, along the valley of the Laxey River.

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Walk Sections

Start to Snaefell Summit
Start to Snaefell Summit

Start point: 54.2518 lat, -4.4632 long
End point: 54.2632 lat, -4.4617 long

The start point is a well-marked path near to the Manx Electric Railway stop. Take the clearly trodden path through a kissing gate marked ‘Snaefell’ and climb steadily up Snaefell, getting steeper closer to the summit.

Views from the top of Snaefell down the Laxey River are shown on the photograph for this section. On a clear day there is a 360 degree view of the whole of the Island, as well as views of Cumbria, Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales on an exceptionally clear day. At the top there are facilities where food, drinks and toilets are available.

Snaefell Summit to Moorland Path Turn
Snaefell Summit to Moorland Path Turn

Start point: 54.2632 lat, -4.4617 long
End point: 54.265 lat, -4.4414 long

At the top of the mountain you will see a white trig point marking the highest point on the Island. Descend from the peak on a narrow path, which is less well-defined than the one used for the ascent. This path heads east-north-east (standing at the trig point, it leads you away from the hotel restaurant). Though it is not marked on an OS map, it is still a fairly clear path, which you should use to cross the railway line and then go on to the Black Hut, (shown on the photograph), at the side of the A18 mountain road. This is clearly in view from the path on the way down.

From the Black Hut, take the path which crosses the road, over a stile, and on to an initially marshy path. Follow the remains of a wall along it, climbing away from the road. Take the path right and, part way up the hill where it splits into two, take the lower, right-hand path. This path is level for 100 yards and then starts to climb.

Follow this path until a branch off to the right which you need to take. This right turn off is not obvious, as it is not walked frequently and the path is not particularly distinct. However, there is a small footpath sign just after the junction to confirm you are on the right track.

Moorland Path Turn to Snaefell Mines
Moorland Path Turn to Snaefell Mines

Start point: 54.265 lat, -4.4414 long
End point: 54.2576 lat, -4.4461 long

Follow the path, which is marked by several waymarkers in the moorland, but is not particularly clear. Take the fairly steep descent, eventually across a stile to the disused lead and zinc mines, where there is a range of derelict mine working buildings. Look for a useful aiming point when crossing the moorland which is an isolated and dense group of pine trees, which are close to the mines, and come into view first. If you missed the turn, so long as you are descending fairly steeply in the vicinity you will see the pine trees, and will be able to adjust your direction.

Snaefell Mines to End
Snaefell Mines to End

Start point: 54.2576 lat, -4.4461 long
End point: 54.2513 lat, -4.4629 long

From the mine there are several routes. These include one to the left down the hill to Laxey, several unmarked paths towards the right, and an unmarked path which goes back to the Bungalow through an often boggy and wet route. The intention of this description is to take you on the reliable route, a path to the right through the moorland. This chosen path, although it is steeper, is generally drier and takes you over the moorland. Take a steeply climbing direction towards the mountain road. Initially go through two or three barrier gates above the mine workings on the ascending path, (shown on the photograph). These gates are marked with a crossed motorcycle sign and are there to prevent scramblers accessing the hillside.

After you pass through these gates, choose a direction diagonally left across the moor towards the general direction of the starting point of the walk. There is not a clearly defined path, but there are several sheep tracks which give that impression. At this stage it is more important for you to take an appropriate direction than to search for a path. You will see in the distance a footbridge over the road, close to the Bungalow, as a reassurance you are heading in the right direction. The ground is generally dry and fairly easy to walk, but it is steep in parts, particularly on leaving the mines.

You will eventually arrive close to the mountain road where you will see a monument to a motor cyclist. Alongside the road, but below and parallel to it, take the rough track which is dry and fine to walk. Follow this track, over a stream, and stay fairly near to the road until reaching the Bungalow. At the motorcycle racing time, the road forms the highest part of the race circuit. This pathway will take you back to the Bungalow rail stop and near to the car park where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author Hartley1947 and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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4 gallery images for "Snaefell and Mines"

7103_0Hartley19471484083821 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Image by: Vic
Uploaded: 10 Jan 2017
This is a rail car close to the summit of Snaefell, with views to west of the Island.
7103_1Hartley19471484083821 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Image by: Vic
Uploaded: 10 Jan 2017
This turn off is a little tricky, on the stretch prior to the descent to the mines. But note the small waymarker close to the ground at the turn off.
7103_2Hartley19471484083821 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Image by: Vic
Uploaded: 10 Jan 2017
This is the clump of pine trees which are a useful aiming point on the descent to the mines.
7103_3Hartley19471484083821 Snaefell and Mines Walking Guide Image by: Vic
Uploaded: 10 Jan 2017
This is above the mines on the way back to the start. It shows the right path, together with the signs prohibiting motor cyclists.

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