Post 4 – Part 3.

Custodian M.

The rain is getting heavier as I continue the ascent…all this for a peice of rusted metal. If i get across this seemingly vertical field, I might make it to the cottage. I’ll put the ol’ pad away for five minutes as the ink is running all over the show.

I can make out the shadow of a building through the misty rain on the horizon. I’m getting closer. I’ve got to get up there if it’s the last thing I ever do on this earth.

Twenty minutes later…

I’m walking on the outskirts of the ruin. I wish I’d brought a Grid metal detector with me. I’ve got another twenty minutes to find the goddamn grille before mother becomes understandably impatient.

Ten minutes later…

I’ve looked around the grounds and inside the cottage. Nil Grid evidence.

I can hear a trickle of water…a small waterfall is hidden in the undergrowth to the rear of the ruin. I’m pulling the grass aside…and there is a small puddle of water containing some slate. No mythical grate or Grid. I did, however, photograph a rusted cog…a futile attempt to create a new legend…’The Cog.’ I try to numb the dissapointment of another Gridless venture.


I recall wandering around some more, turning a few stones here and there. I recall walking down the mountain – briefly glancing back at the old cottage as the sun burst through the Manx clouds.


A month later…

A conversation between myself and Custodian R on the social networking site facebook.

Custodian R: ‘Is this the pivot (cog) you showed me?’

Custodian M: ‘I don’t think that is the cog in question. Although I’m unsure that I went to the right cottage. If you google ‘Ballamish’ there are some photo’s that looked similar to mine. I also found this info below (possibly on Flickr) that may be pointing in the right direction. ‘

Custodian R: ‘Some gridhunter you are…the grid is at Ballaskella, not Ballamish! I just checked and the google earth images you have been using of of (Fig B) Ballamish…back to the drawing board for you mate lol!…This is (Fig A) Ballaskella from above…’

Custodian R posted an image of the correct site.


The May 2012 Grid pilgrimage ended in failure. Not only did I return from the mountain empty handed, it also transpired that I went to the incorrect location.


Post 4. Part 2.

Custodian M.

I recall travelling along this road as a teenager in the back of a white van in the 1980’s as an ex-player of the mythical ‘Douggie’ or Douglas Boys under 14’s football team on our way to yet another thrashing at the hands of Ayre Utd or Ramsey Youth Centre.

Sign: A18 Ramsey. Seven and a half miles. B10 Kirk Michael. seven and a half miles.

Snaefell mountain now looms on the horizon. I’m thinking back to my childhood when ‘Auntie’ Mollie would take me and my sister to the top of the mountain with her dog Jamal.

I can see the masts on top of the mountain…

Sign: Tram crossing one hundred and fifty metres ahead.

Sign: Sulby reservoir one and a half miles.

Sign: Tholt Y Will Glen two miles.

Under the footbridge and onto the A14 around the perimeter of Snaefell mountain.

Cattle Grid. Helicopter landing point.

Starting to rain.

We are moving on down towards Tholt Y Will now…

Mum: ‘Where do I drop you off?’

Me: ‘I think it’s a bit further along the road, there was definately some room to park a car.’

5 minutes later…

I watch as the car drives off. Mother has gone to a nearby village to get herself a newspaper and something to eat.

I’m confronted by a fast flowing river separating me from the foot of the mountain. I’m sure that it was a lot shallower the last time I was here.

I’ve spent ten minutes now trying to find a suitable crossing point without any success. There’s only one thing for it…

I’ve just walked through the river complete with shoes and socks on. Nothing quite compares to the feeling of soaked squelching feet.

I’m beginning to climb the lower section of Snaefell Mountain.

The rain is persistant now as I grapple with branches and heather.

5 minutes later…

My breathing has already (alarmingly) become somewhat laboured.

I’ve stopped for a rest temporarily and am looking down towards the road.

I hope I’ve come to the right bloody place. I think I’ll walk along the side of the stone wall.


Post 4. Part 1

Custodian M.

The following extract is taken from a diary entry from the last expedition to The Grid.


It’s raining. R just sent me a text to say he can’t make it this year. I’m on my own. This will be my first visit to the site of Grid for nine years and Ishould prepare myself for the unexpected.

I’m currently sat in my mothers car in Strang (on the Isle of Man) whilst she’s getting a newspaper from the local spar shop.

I’m watching the rain drops race across the windscreen and can hear mums dog on the back seat adjusting itself into a comfortable position.

‘Are you a good boy Prince?’

The beast returns my gaze briefly before resuming it’s position of hiding under a blanket. How can the beast seem so sulky and yet so endearing?

The blackbirds are singing. A Shoprite van passes by.

Waiting here in the car for the return of mum I question whether the great crusaders of bygone era’s also ferried their late thirty something offspring on holy grail type quests. Doubtful.

Mum returns to the car sighing.

‘There’s a fella in the shop…his face is all scarred – these lads never seem to grow up – do they? He was about thirty…’

So continues the monologue as we drive through the remainder of Strang, up Ballaoates Road and past the poor mans Fairy Bridge towards Abbeylands.

Me: ‘I used to think of this bridge as being a bit like the Fairy Bridge on the Castletown Road when I was younger.’

From Wiki:

The “Fairy Bridge” better known to tourists, is that in the parish of Malew on the A5 roadfrom Douglas to Castletown just below Ballalonna Bridge in Ballalonna Glen on theSanton Burn.54°06′52″N 4°35′43″WCoordinates: 54°06′52″N 4°35′43″W

A superstition is to greet the fairies (an English term for the Mooinjer Veggey; never called fairies or ferrish by the Manx and not of similar disposition to the English fairies) when crossing the fairy bridge; it is supposedly unlucky not to.

Mum: ‘Oh right? Really? Ha Ha.’

We are now moving north of Abbeylands and onto the good ol’ Scollag Road.

This is an infrequent opportunity to find The Grid but just another day on The Isle of Man. I recall the last visit with friend R. We got a train from Laxey to the summit of Snaefell and then onto the site of the lost Grid.

Grid centrale.

Well my fading memory is somewhat fragmented now. Was that a different visit? I really cannot be certain.

I’m regarding the gorse in the hedgerows and know that I’ve returned to the home of the original Manx legend Manannin.

I’m thinking about how (as the so-called legend has it) that a great giant threw a rock into the Irish Sea and formed The Isle of Man.

We’re now making our way along the TT course towards Creg Ny Baa on the A18.

Mum: ‘There’s quite a lot of bikes over already.’

Me: ‘Well I suppose they want to have a bit of a trial run around the course before the races next month.’

Mum: ‘Aye, I suppose so.’

I’m looking to the skies in the hope of spotting a Grid shaped cloud.

We’re driving in the opposite direction that the motorbikes race on TT week. I can make out the Creg Ny Baa pub on the corner and the Manx Telecom mast looming behind a makeshift iron grandstand or GRIDstand.

Mum is continuing her monologue as we venture beyond Kate’s Cottage in our ascent along the mountain road.

Cars, vans (predominatley white) and a few motorbikes nicking about here and there.

Passing a Punch and Judy style booth, a brick shelter, the heather, road chevrons, yellow salt bins. Grey skies and a gentle sprinkling of rain.


Post 3

By Custodian M.

I’ve been grafting full-time so find it harder to make stuff. We could probaby do with less stuff in the world anyway, hence my blogs now make up the bulk of my practice.

I went to my father in laws tonight to pick up an OHP from my now temporary studio/storage space.

His cat is called ‘cat.’ She didn’t appear to be interested when I told her that The Grid still remains lost on The Isle of Man.

It’s a shame that she had an apparent lack of concern in relation to the matter. I’ll try again next week.


Post 2.

By Custodian M.

May 2012.

I paid another visit to the site known as Ballamish on Snaefell Mountain.

I wandered about with a notional GRID detector, scanning the area in the hope of finding the mythical grate – but to no avail.

I photographed a rusted cog in a futile attempt at creating a new legend ‘THE COG’ to numb the disappointment of yet another GRIDLESS venture.

A month later – back in Lincolnshire, UK.

A conversation between myself and friend R on the social networking site Facebook after I posted a series of pictures from my latest Grid visit.

Friend R: Is this the pivot you showed me?

Marc: ‘I don’t think that is the cog in question. Although I’m now a little uncertain that I went to the correct cottage. If you google ‘Ballamish’ there are some photo’s that look similar to mine. I also found this info below (possibly on Flickr) that may be pointing in the right direction.’

Friend R: ‘Some gridhunter you are… The grid is at Ballaskella, not Ballamish! Remember we went to the manx museum that time? I just checked and the google earth images you have been using are of (Fig B) Ballamish… Back to the drawing board for you mate lol! This is (Fig A) Ballaskella from above…


On the latest GRID pilgrimage to my homeland on the Isle of Man. Not only
did I fail to locate the said artefact; it would also appear that I went to the
incorrect location…the wrong side of the mountain.