Onchan is the first place the Electric Railway stops at on its way out of Douglas. Nowadays it is effectively an extension of Douglas, but it used to be a village outside the capital. Evidence of Stone Age habitation turned up in the 1890s when an axe was found near the Onchan wetlands. The unusual name of the village derived from St Connachan, a 6th century bishop. Although on the outskirts of the island's capital, Onchan is the location of Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man. Captain Bligh, of Mutiny On The Bounty fame, was married in the parish church of Onchan in 1781. His intended was the daughter of a Customs Collector who was stationed on the island.
Much of Onchan is in an elevated position, clinging to the clifftops of Ochan Head at the northern end of Douglas Bay. As the Electric Railway wends its way from Onchan down towards Douglas passengers are treated to a magnificent view of the bay. A similar view can be had by golfers making use of the King Edward BayGolf Club. On the outskirts of Onchan is the charming Groudle Glen, which has its own stop on the Electric Railway. The glen was created in the Victorian era with tourism in mind, and down at sea level there were six sea lions which had been imported from California. For walkers, footpaths lead from the station through this wooded valley which runs down to the the sea. For the less energetic, the glen has its own railway, with steam trains taking visitors from the glen out to the clifftops where there is a visitor centre and tearoom.
Map of the area.
|Onchan Head, photo by David Long, via Wikimedia Commons|