Adrian Cowin's #MyBiosphere
The Isle of Man is the only entire country to boast UNESCO Biosphere status, reflecting it is a special place for people and nature. In our regular feature, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Adrian Cowin writes:
There are so many things about our special Island that are important and loved by me, my family and my friends.
Many of these things have been successfully and correctly captured for the UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man project and status.
The quality of our environment, with diverse wildlife, heritage and culture, are rather unique, as is our weather.
As a locally based meteorologist for more than 36 years, I know how much variation we can get in our climate. It really is true that the Island can see four seasons in one day.
And all folk inherently know that if it’s dull and damp in Douglas, we can easily find a brighter slot for a delicious ice cream in Peel and, of course, the sun always shines in Ramsey.
I’m actually a Castletown lad, although I migrated a few miles to live in Colby shortly after returning from three years of studying Applied Physics at Preston Polytechnic to start work in the Meteorological Office at Ronaldsway Airport.
I still cherish my boyhood years in what is the ancient capital of Mann - ‘Balley Cashtal’. My grandfather was the custodian of Castle Rushen, which is the impressive fortified centrepiece of the town. This afforded me an endless opportunity to explore and play with my brothers and friends in such an exciting and well-preserved location.
I continued to revisit the castle for several years later and, eventually with my son, Adam, who loved sitting on the cannons.
We managed to seek out all of the medieval rooms, spiral stone staircases, the ramparts, dungeons and ghosts. We heard the heartbeat of the ‘White Lady’, which sent a cold shiver down our spines as a spooky draught invaded the drawbridge tower.
Of course, the rest of Castletown and the south of the Island have so many other natural and man-made places to be enjoyed.
I’ve lost count of how many wonderful days we’ve had on the sandy beaches and rocky sections of coastline, or in the parks and glens. Each location offers a safe and pleasant place of beauty and a degree of tranquillity that is truly calming at a personal level.
But, for me, the most beneficial impacts on my physical health and feeling of well-being are gained from being on our green and pleasant hills or wonderfully exposed coastal footpaths.
One of my favourite walks is on the dramatic section of the Raad-ny-Foillan /‘Way of the Gull’ from Port St Mary to Port Erin.
Away from the splendid coasts and peaceful glens and plantations, my number one spot for a scenic walk with my wife and two Beagles is to the summit of South Barrule. What a wonderful view in all directions while enjoying excellent visibility and the clean Manx air.
I also enjoy watching the clouds from this top vantage point, as you’d expect from a weatherman: observing the fresh quality of the atmosphere with bright colours and contrasts in the sky, land and sea.
Adrian Cowin is the Senior Meteorological Officer for the Island, with a keen interest in climate change and weather impacts. He’s also a school Governor, an Arbory Parish Commissioner and a committee member of the annual fayre Laa Columb Killey.