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A Heavy Cob

Richard Bell’s nature diary Wednesday, 9th July 2008, Isle of Man


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I COULD happily have spent a whole day drawing at the Cregneash Folk Museum in the south-west corner of the island. A pair of heavy cobs had just been brought in after ploughing. We were also intrigued by the native Manx sheep, the Loghtan which has fairly coarse light brown fleece. Some of the rams have four horns.


We had an opportunity to taste a traditional form of bonnag, a scone-like bread of buttermilk and coarse flour, cooked on an iron griddle by an open peat fire, and, in the cafe, a sumptuous modern version of the traditional recipe with sugar & spice and raisins added, which would have been a rare treat for the crofters of this small community.

Sound Bites

Lunch at the Sound, just down the road; a herring gull swoops down to a table on the terrace and snaps up a discarded gold foil butter wrapper from a tray. There’s no stopping these gulls.

True Colours of Erin

‘You can see the mountains of Mourne on a clear day,’ a passer-by in Port Erin tells me as I sketch the head-land. He has painted this scene at sunset (this west coast is famous for its sunsets).


‘If the sun was out you’d see lots of colour on the hillside; if you pop in that shop,’ he advises me, ‘you’ll be able to buy a postcard and paint it in its true colours.’

Church in Port Erin