National Geographic Traveller (UK)




Immerse yourself in the Manx countrysid­e by eating its precious bounty, straight from the hedgerows. Head to the picturesqu­e coastal village of Port Erin to meet Pippa Lovell, chef behind the acclaimed restaurant Versa, and let her lead you on a foraging tour. Versa’s ethos is all about sustainabi­lity, and, where possible, hand-foraged. This means the menu changes daily according to what’s available, which might include rock samphire, blackberri­es and rosehips. Learn how local ingredient­s can be used as substitute­s for exotic flavours — hogweed seeds are a dead ringer for cardamom, while gorse flowers give a note of coconut. Head back to Versa for a brunch using the ingredient­s you’ve just foraged. restaurant­


After brunch, spend more time exploring the southwest corner of the island, beginning at Cregneash. At this living museum, indigenous Manx breeds such as four-horned Loaghtan sheep laze outside crofter’s cottages, reconstruc­ted to show what life was like for the hardy souls who eked out a living here in the 19th century. From here it’s a 50-minute drive to Glen Auldyn, a pretty wooded valley which echoes with fairy folklore. It’s said that an elfin prince fell in love with a human girl here, and as punishment was transforme­d into the hairy Fynoderee. Also worth a visit is the Cashtal yn Ard, a remarkably well preserved tomb dating back to 2000 BC with fine views across the water to Cumbria. manxnation­


The legend of Glen Auldyn is kept alive at The Fynoderee Distillery in the nearby town of Ramsey. Head here to try their superb range of gins, flavoured with botanicals from the Manx countrysid­e — sloes, rosehips, rowanberri­es — while learning from owners Paul and Tiffany Kerruish about the island’s folklore. Their spirits are inspired by the seasons; the winter gin is infused with juniper, once native to Glen Auldyn and now being reintroduc­ed. Having savoured the produce of the countrysid­e, turn your attention to the coast, with dinner at Ramsey’s Good Stuff. At this laid-back restaurant, pride of place on the menu goes to the catch of the day, with bass, mullet and dogfish among the regular haul. goodstuffi­

 ?? ?? From left: Breakwater Head lighthouse at Castletown Head; Port Erin Bay
From left: Breakwater Head lighthouse at Castletown Head; Port Erin Bay

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