Dr Andrew Foxon's #MyBiosphere

In a new series of article in Manx Life magazine, produced by Mannin Media, authors from different walks of Manx life write about what makes the Isle of Man special to them. The May 2018 article is penned by Dr Andrew Foxon.

I was born in Coventry, brought up in the west of Scotland, am married to an Irishwoman, worked in Orkney, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hull...but I've never lived longer in any other place than I have on the Isle of Man.

In fact, I have just passed the 21st anniversary of me becoming a comeover

Now, the Isle of Man is definitely 'home'.

We came on holiday in 1995. At that time, we lived in Hull and thought the Island would be a good place to holiday with the children.

Within two days of arriving we knew we wanted the Isle of Man to become 'home': a place we'd love to live, bring up a family, work and contribute to Island life.

We spent time trying to see how to make that dream possible and then, as often happens, we realised that we just had to be ready for opportunities to arrive. Which they did. For me, a job with Manx National Heritage and, for Jane, a teaching post.

Fast forward to 2018...

As an archaeologist with a strong interest in landscape history, heritage, wildlife and just being out in the countryside, with other people or on my own, what a great 'home' we have here in the Isle of Man.

All those interests are more than satisfied here and there are plenty of people, clubs, groups and societies who are equally passionate.

For the last five years, I've worked as a Blue Badge tourist guide and walking guide, introducing people to what the Isle of Man has to offer.

One day it's a tight cruise ship schedule; the next it's the opportunity to walk with local people on part of the coastal Raad ny Foillan.

I take pleasure in the places we visit, but I positively glow when people tell us how lucky we are to live here or say 'I never knew this was here'. There are so many 'Oh! Wow!' moments.

It's hard to write down what makes me so passionate about this place. Words don't always express the power of feelings and emotions, but I'll try.

Think of being at the Sound. Close your eyes. Do you hear the waves, the gulls, the choughs, the call of the seals? Do you feel the kiss of the sun on your cheeks? Do you feel the brush of the wind on your face? And do you feel that growing sense of calm and that it is enough just to stop and take pleasure in being here? That's what it's like for me.

In principle, it's about walking routes that are different every day and season: coast, cliff, flowering plants, sand, birds, seals, basking sharks, marine life, glens, waterfalls, woods, moorland, hills, views, cairns, ancient burial sites, forts, keeills, churches and chapels.

In practice it's about being there in the moment and sharing the richness of the cultural heritage and wildlife at a pace that allows 'time enough'.

Sign off:

Andrew Foxon runs Go-Mann Adventures which offers guided walks and tours in the Isle of Man, hill skills and navigation training www.go-mannadventures.com

Posted up on 11th May 2018


If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

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