The Longest Day - in so many ways.....
And the Shortest Night. The beauty of the Parish Walk is the day it is held. It is usually very close to Midsummer’s day and that is a magical time of the year.
On a nice day the experience is sometimes overwhelming. You walk round the Island - as the sun goes round the Island. When dusk comes, the golden light stays in the sky all night. The walk towards Bride, where the hedgerows are at their wildest and ripest, is wonderful with the sun setting almost in the north as a golden background. The glow gradually moves round and by the time you get to Ramsey the golden glow hovers over Queen’s Pier. Of course for Robbie and the rest they are almost home and miss that experience.
The first year I finished I was walking with Dermot O’Toole, and more of him later . The walk started later then, maybe 10am or 9am, so most people got to see the sunrise. As we rounded the Dhoon corner and headed towards Bulgham, the sun rose over the sea, and it was a fantastic sight. By that time I knew, in the good company of Dermot, that I was going to finish, and that knowledge combined with the beautiful sunrise, gave me a memory I will always have.
Mind you, thinking about it, there have been some days where it is not so pleasant, it is cold, dark, wet and windy. Thunder and lightning one year through Maughold was particularly depressing. For those who bravely managed 2008 maybe there will be a golden glow all night this year.
Top Tip: If it is sunny, your left side is always exposed to the sun, so make sure you have plenty of suncream on your left leg. The year I finished with my particularly bad feet, as I went on crutches to the Presentation that Sunday night, I asked my walking partner, Kevin Graham, how he felt and his only complaint was "Me left calf is a bit sunburnt"
More of Kevin later as well.....