Friday, May 27, 2011

The Manx TT starts today!!!



There is nothing on Earth quite like the Isle of Man TT Races. No other motorcycle race is held on such a challenging track as the 37-mile plus Mountain Course with its seemingly never-ending series of bends, bumps, jumps, stone walls, manhole covers and telegraph poles. The 2011 TT, from May 30 to June 10, marks the Centenary of the Mountain course, another milestone for this historic event.
The skill, bravery and concentration levels required are immense, with speeds approaching 200mph, and, while difficult to learn and even harder to come first, the rewards for winning on the world famous course are like no other. No other motorsport event can boast more than 100 years of such illustrious history, rich in tradition and legends, and to have your name inscribed on a TT trophy is to sit with the gods.
TT racing captures the imagination in a way no other race can and its sheer spectacle and uniqueness ensures thousands of fans flock to the Island every May and June for their annual fix. No other motorsport event attracts people in great numbers for an entire period of two weeks except the world famous TT Races, where fans can revel in the Island’s special mix of incredible racing and world class entertainment – and all set amongst the beautiful scenery of the Isle of Man.
Here you can find everything you need to know to experience the Isle of Man TT for yourself, whether you are spectating, racing or supporting the event in another way.


http://www.iomtt.com/TT-2011.aspx

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Exhibition of Manx Crosses at St German’s Cathedral

EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND! The Manx Crosses Exhibition has now been extended  until the end of July and will run alongside a smaller exhibition by the Fishermen's Mission from mid-June.




An exhibition of Manx crosses held at St German’s Cathedral in Peel proved to be a valuable introduction to the beautiful and intricate carvings of early settlers on the Isle of Man from both the Celtic and Norse tradition.


Although replicas of the original stones, supplied by Manx National Heritage, the exhibition justifiably awakened a natural appreciation of their value, both historically and spiritually, to our society. Examples, displayed throughout the cathedral, gave visitors the opportunity to reflect on their meaning and learn more about their evolution.

Accompanying each of the crosses was an example of the work of the Manx artist and designer Archibald Knox. Extracts were taken from ‘The Deer’s Cry’, widely believed to be his seminal work, and reflecting his personal Christian faith.

The crosses on show represented many of those scattered across the Island, including the unique Crucifixion Stone from the Calf of Man, the unusual Wheel-Headed Celtic Cross found at St Adamnan’s (Lonan Old Church) and an interesting example of an Adam and Eve Stone, a 13th century carving sculptured in the Norman tradition and recovered from the parish of Bride. Others carried inscriptions giving tantalising clues about either the carver, or the person who commissioned the work, with examples here from the parishes of Andreas, Michael and Ballaugh.

But with on-going development in design it was also appropriate to display the striking headstone of the aforesaid Archibald Knox, together with  a modern memorial from a local company bearing Celtic influence and the more contemporary design of the ‘Garwick Crosses’ by local carver Simon Capelen.

The exhibition was complemented by the use of silk hangings evoking the era of Celtic saints, silk vestments worn by the clergy and an eye-catching icon of St German, patron saint of the cathedral, placed in front of the altar.

Valerie Caine © May 2011 (inc photos)
 



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over a 1000 children studying the Manx

THE Manx language has seen a revival in schools across the Isle of Man thanks to more opportunities for young people who wish to learn the native language.

More than 1,000 pupils now learn Manx in primary schools and around 100 are studying it at secondary level.

Pupils can now sit GCSE and A-level exams on the Manx Language and two secondary schools – Ballakermeen and Queen Elizabeth II - have even established the language as a timetabled subject at Key Stage 3.

The two year A-level qualification which has been developed is based on Irish Gaelic exams and will replace the previous modular qualification which was designed for distance learning. This qualification will be more comparable to other language A-levels.

This summer a 13 year old pupil from Ballakermeen High School will sit the AS level exam. The pupil who is in year nine attended the Manx language primary school Bunscoill Ghaelgagh in St Johns until the age of 11.

Peripatetic Manx language teacher Rob Teare with a
group of pupils from QE11 who are learning Manx
They will sit the exam alongside a number of adult learners including an 18 year old student from Ramsey Grammar School who will sit the A2 part of the qualification.

Also this summer a number of ex Bunscoill Ghaelgagh pupils, who are now 11 and 12 and in year seven, will sit the Teisht Chadjin Ghaelgagh – the equivalent of a GCSE and based on the GCSE French qualification.

This exam will also be taken by older students from secondary schools and the Isle of Man College who have been taught by Dr Brian Stowell.

Dr Stowell was the Island's first Manx language officer and led a team of three in teaching Manx to a small number of primary and secondary school pupils in 1992.

Good prices to Ireland - and it's a short hop from there to the IOM

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cav wins in Italy but declines the inclines


Mark Cavendish claimed his second victory in three days as he bowed out of the 2011 Giro D’Italia in style on Thursday afternoon.
Along with many other sprinters, Cav has opted to leave this year’s Italian tour after the 12th stage, ahead of a series of mountainous stages over the next nine days,
Thursday’s stage was a pancake-flat, 184-kilometre trek from Castelfidardo to Ravenna and predictions of a sprint finish proved accurate, despite a crash within the final kilometre.
Having survived the incident, the Manxman was once again led out perfectly by HTC-Highroad team-mate Mark Renshaw before launching a blistering attack 350m from the finish.
Although Team Sky’s Davide Appollonio and rival Alessandro Petacchi reacted well and surged towards the line, the Manx Missile was able to hold off the challenge and crossed the line half a bike length ahead of Appollonio. Petacchi had to settle for third while Renshaw was able to stroll home in ninth position.
The earlier spill occurred during a tight, left-hand bend but afterwards Cav insisted his team were prepared: ‘We knew about the tight bends - we had seen it in the route-book - and so we made sure we were on the front of the bunch.
‘Mark Renshaw did a perfect job. The whole team was incredible. I had a quick look behind and went for it.’
Cav will now take a short break from competitive action before preparing for this year’s Tour de France which runs from Saturday, July 2 to Sunday, July 24.
Fellow Isle of Man rider Peter Kennaugh was also heavily involved for Team Sky right up until the final minutes of the stage but, with the aforementioned crash happening within the last 3km, was given the same time as most of the peloton.
As a result, he therefore did not lose any ground in the general classification and remains 66th overall and in the top 16 in the running for the young rider award.  IOMToday

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Isle of Man Railway – The Travellers’ Companion


Published by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association this souvenir guide will appeal to both the committed enthusiast and the occasional passenger.

Compact and colourful this slim, but informative volume, packs easily into a knapsack for reference and includes bite-sized paragraphs about the history of the Island’s railway. It briefly charts the steady decline of the Manx railway network during the 1950s and 1960s, but paints a positive picture about the southern line which remains today.
Bursting with colourful photographs of proud engines and black and white images of yesteryear, this aptly named companion helps the traveller to take ‘a trip along the line’ by way of its pages between Douglas and Port Erin. However, there’s nothing like taking the actual journey itself as you steam towards Port Erin, where the book encourages its readers to visit the local railway museum situated next to the station.

And for those who like a little more detail about the engines there’s a comprehensive listing of the locomotive fleet with short biographies nestling within its back pages.
Priced at £5 ‘The Travellers’ Companion’ is the perfect memento of your trip on the Island’s historical railway. The book is available from the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association, the Railway Museum at Port Erin, or from manned stations on both the Steam Railway and the Manx Electric Railway routes.

www.iomsrsa.com

Valerie Caine © May 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Obituary for Ean Wood by Victor Schonfield, The Guardian


Ean Wood
Ean Wood had a broad knowledge of film and music and
set questions for the King William's college annual quiz
My friend Ean Wood, (and mine to, Kelly) who has died aged 73, was the author of A Cheerful Book of Misfortunes, which has just been published. He would have relished the coincidence.
His first book was Born to Swing: The Story of the Big Bands (1996). Then followed a series of carefully researched and highly readable biographies, George Gershwin: His Life and Music (1996), The Josephine Baker Story (2000), Dietrich: A Biography (2002) and Headlong Through Life: The Story of Isadora Duncan (2006). He was a contributor to the journal the Skeptic and had recently been working on a philosophical study from his viewpoint as a lifelong atheist.
Ean was born on the Isle of Man, where he attended King William's college. He read mathematics at Hertford College, Oxford, but did not complete his degree. After training at the London School of FilmTechnique (now the London Film School), he worked in documentaries, becoming a writer and director for the National Coal Board Film Unit. When the unit was disbanded, he became a sound editor. He worked in the sound department on John Schlesinger's Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) and Derek Jarman's Edward II (1991).
Ean set up Landfall Productions, which issued spoken-word cassette recordings of stories by authors including Edgar Allan Poe and Muriel Spark. He adapted the stories and directed the readings by actors such as Judi Dench and Christopher Lee. Another of his ventures was producing anthologies of classic jazz and popular music.
Ean was a long-standing member of the panel setting the fearsome King William's college annual quiz, which has been regularly reproduced in the Guardian. Every year he set off with a friend to tackle a few more of the Munros (the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft). He managed to climb around half of the 300-odd total.

Praying the Keeills 2011




‘Praying the Keeills’ is a unique opportunity to discover some of the Island’s rich heritage of early religious sites whose remains lie scattered across the Isle of Man, and share in moments of quiet reflection and informal prayer.

Organised by a taskforce of representatives from each denomination, ‘Praying the Keeills’ was the brainchild of the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, a previous Lord Bishop of Sodor and Mann, in 2006.

Viewed as a time to reflect on the beauty and significance of these ancient sites, ‘Praying the Keeills’ has now become established as an annual pilgrimage with a full calendar of events to tempt a cross-section of the community. Keen walkers will be encouraged to put their best foot forward and combine a number of walks with visits to a wide selection of keeill sites across the Island at the Cringle Reservoir, Fort Island (St Michael’s Isle), Corrody and St Patrick’s Chair which is thought to be one of the Island’s earliest Christian monuments and possibly a heathen burial site or meeting place. There will be lots of opportunities for picnics, faith suppers and to learn more about Manx history relative to religious sites on the Isle of Man, courtesy of local historians Frank Cowin and Liam O’Neill.

Keeills were built of earth and stone and often situated on a mound surrounded by a circular burial ground and are associated with pre-Christian sites. A number were either built over, or transformed into Bronze Age Cairns, but few survive intact and many have been ploughed over by industrious farmers. Once an important part of Island life they served as family chapels, wayside shrines and places of retreat, or hermitage. It is estimated that as many as 250 keeills marked the land at one time with none of them thought to be older than the eighth century, although the site itself and surrounding burials may be dated back to the sixth century, or earlier.

This year’s celebration will be launched with a service at Ballagarey Methodist Chapel in the village of St Mark’s, followed by a circular walk from the village to the keeill known as Cabbal Dreem Ruy near the Cringle Reservoir, before heading back through the Corlea Plantation.

St German’s Cathedral in Peel will also be providing a number of special events and services during the month of May to complement those provided by the organisers of ‘Praying the Keeills’.



Valerie Caine © May 2011 (inc photos)

Pan Celtic Winners from the Isle of Man


Manx musicians and singers, with the financial support of the Isle of Man Arts Council, made a big impact at the 40th Irish Pan Celtic Festival this year, providing a strong challenge against their Celtic cousins and enjoying the sweet taste of success in some of the competitions.

Local trio ‘Falga’, comprising Clare Kilgallon, Margaid Bird and Fiona McArdle, set the pace by taking first place in the group traditional singing competition. All members of northern based Manx Gaelic choir ‘Cliogaree Twoaie’  they caught the judges attention by singing ‘My Chaillin Veg Dhone’ (Little Brown Girl) arranged by Frank Woolley and ‘Cadlee ny Moidyn Moirrey’ (Lullaby of the Virgin Mary) incorporating a new arrangement in close harmony by David Kilgallon, which the inter-Celtic audience particularly enjoyed. Members of ‘Falga’ were then invited to perform live on RaidiĆ³ na Gaeltachta the following day and a podcast was made by Mazz O’Flaherty of the Dingle Record Shop which will be available later this year.

But there was more to come on the following evening as Manx group ‘Ny Jinnyn’ represented the Isle of Man in the prestigious New Song Contest. Winners of the local heat Arrane son Mannin held in Peel at the end of last year, ‘Ny Jinnyn’ sang a jointly composed song entitled ‘Sy Ghrianane’ which focused on the tragic events of the Summerland disaster and one family’s agony as the drama unfolded. Voting was very tight and by the end of the evening the Welsh entry snatched victory from the Manx group by just one mark! All of the Manx competitors, however, will feature on a special Pan Celtic CD which will be issued towards the end of 2011.

Valerie Caine © May 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

National Mills Weekend 2011


During the middle of May, Kentraugh Mill will unlock its doors to the public as part of the annual celebrations for National Mills Weekend, with an open invitation (albeit at your own risk) for everyone to come and see the mill in action.

Organised by the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, National Mills Weekend continues to grow in popularity, demonstrating continued interest in the practical side of food production and fascination for a largely forgotten part of our industrial heritage.

Kentraugh Mill, near Colby, is owned by Canon John Sheen and his wife Elizabeth who inherited the property from her father, Mr. R. M. Nuttall. Buying the miller’s house in 1965 Mr. Nuttall was more than a little surprised to discover the derelict mill hidden behind the closed doors of what he thought was a garage.

Over the course of the next five years he lovingly restored the three storey building to its former glory and soon became aware that the mill also had an interesting history.

Early records show that the mill, owned by Robert Qualtrough, was functioning as far back as 1506 and likely to have been a working mill for several centuries. It is believed that the mill was largely rebuilt in approximately 1832, or possibly earlier, when the current machinery was installed. Prior to this date everything would have been of wooden construction.

Kentraugh Mill remained with the Qualtrough family until 1904 when the two surviving sisters of William Qualtrough sold the building to another miller, John Woods of Ballabeg. His family, or tenants, continued to work the mill until 1943 when the miller locked the door of the building for the final time and left everything untouched for over twenty years.

Visitors will have an opportunity to take an extensive tour of the mill, learn more about the processes involved and see the machinery in action, before heading across the road to visit the remains of the miller’s store room which later became a temporary meeting place for the Primitive Methodists. Now known as the Chapel Garden it was recorded in 1851 that the chapel had 16 members with 83 children and 11 teachers attending the annual Sunday School Anniversary celebrations.  

Older residents of the district recall being sent to the mill as children for oat meal, or barley meal, or to be weighed on the miller’s magnificent scales. But local folklore relates that when the miller was short of workers he would alert drinkers at the nearby Shore Hotel by hanging out a red flannel petticoat from an upstairs bedroom window.


Admission to the mill is free, but donations welcomed for the work of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, a mission society of which Canon Sheen is a council member and long term representative for the Isle of Man. Home-made refreshments will also be available at the miller’s house during the weekend. If you would like further information about visiting, or organising a group tour of Kentraugh Mill, telephone 832406.

Valerie Caine © May 2011 (inc photos)

ISLE OF MAN GEARING UP FOR RECORD BREAKING WALKING FESTIVAL

A record number of walkers will take part in the Isle of Man’s annual Walking Festival, which starts this weekend and runs throughout next week.

With a total of 230 walkers this year, and a record number of walk leaders, the Festival is growing in popularity amongst Britain’s walking enthusiasts and gaining a reputation for its scenic routes.  The event is also becoming a significant boost to the Isle of Man’s visitor economy with more than 1,300 hotel room bed nights booked over the six days.

Registration and a welcome to the Festival will take place on Sunday before the walking festival gets underway on Monday morning.  Each day has a number of different routes which are pre-booked in advance and all are fully subscribed.

This year we are pleased to announce that www.isleofman.com will be posting a daily update on the scheduled walks and the action-packed programme of social events taking place in the Villa Marina each evening.

Routes include walks covering areas such as Cregneash, the Chasms and the Ayres as well as many of the Island’s glens, the Ballaugh Curraghs and hill routes, with an emphasis on heritage sites including notable landmarks such as Tynwald Hill and Rushen Abbey.  There is also a separate event where a group of 20 experienced walkers will tackle the 95 mile Coastal Path, covering the entire coastline of the Isle of Man in five separate stages.

There are two more new walks in this year’s programme which has again been put together by Festival organiser Mike Salmon. They are the Millennium Way which is completed over two days and the Herring Way (Bayr ny Skeddan) which takes place on Thursday but is for experienced walkers only.

Social activities are being supported by the Department of Economic Development, including Manx dancing, a jazz night, and the final night with an Oompah band and presentation of certificates to all those who completed the coastal walk.

Department of Economic Development Member with responsibility for Tourism, Geoff Corkish, MBE, MHK, said:

‘It is a major tourism success story and we are delighted that the Isle of Man Walking Festival continues to grow every year attracting visitors worldwide. We have a wonderful team of experienced volunteer guides who make such a difference to the walks by providing interesting information and stories of folklore and Manx history, all under the leadership of Mick Salmon. It is a marvellous showcase for what the Isle of Man has to offer.’

ENDS

Contact: Mick Salmon, Festival Organiser, on 331369 or via e-mail at office@manxwalks.com.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Manx for the memories

There is a wonderful article in the Sun here all about the eccentric joys of the Isle of Man

Maundy Thursday and the senior citizen who had never left the island before.

Report on The Royal Maundy at Westminster Abbey, the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s BBC broadcast, and a report on Bishops who became shoe shiners. The Queen has celebrated her 85th birthday by handing out Maundy money in a traditional royal service at Westminster Abbey.
The monarch handed out specially minted coins to deserving recipients in a ceremony dating from the Middle Ages. Among the 170 people – 85 men and 85 women – who received Maundy money this year were 40 from the Isle of Man.
Buckingham Palace said it was the first time the Queen’s birthday had fallen on Maundy Thursday. Each year the Queen chooses a different church to distribute the coins, known as Maundy money.
This year the venue was the abbey, which will also host the wedding of the Queen’s grandson, Prince William, to Kate Middleton, on 29 April. When the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at the abbey’s Great West Door, a trumpet fanfare was sounded. The Queen and the duke were presented with the traditional nosegays of sweet herbs as they walked inside.
The royal couple and a series of colourful processions featuring musicians, senior clergy and delegations from the two dioceses involved then made their way through the nave into the heart of the church. The groups were joined by members of the Royal Almonry – an office within the Royal Household that enables the monarch to distribute alms. The service began with the 19th Century hymn “Praise To The Holiest In The Height” and was followed by a series of prayers.
Sodor and Man
The Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Right Reverend Robert Paterson – whose district is one of the ancient Celtic dioceses of the British Isles – gave the first lesson, reading the passage from the book of John which describes Jesus washing the feet of his followers.
Afterwards the Queen handed out red and white purses – from trays held by a Yeoman of the Guard – in the centuries-old tradition.
The red purse contained a £5 coin commemorating the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday in June, and a 50p coin marking the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The white purse held uniquely minted Maundy money made up of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which added up to the Queen’s age.
One of this year’s recipients was Dorothy Boyde, 75, who had never left the Isle of Man before.
She told the BBC: “I wouldn’t go for anything else. It’s a big adventure
===============================
A Manx pensioner who has never left the Isle of Man will travel to London later in the year to receive Maundy money from Queen Elizabeth II.
75-year-old Dorothy Boyde from Kirk Michael was nominated after years of looking after her local church.
"I was awe struck really until I'd read the letter through. It has taken a while to sink in," she said.
Forty island residents will receive purses from the Queen on Maundy Thursday at Westminster Abbey in April.
It is the first time a large group of Island residents have been invited to the ceremony in 300 years.
Cake baking
Dorothy grew up on a farm in the north of the island and has been a warden at Kirk Michael church for the last 19 years.
She is renowned for her cake baking skills, and has provided catering for almost every church occasion during the last decade.
The QueenThe Queen will celebrate her 85th birthday by giving the Maundy alms to 85 people
When asked why she thought she had been nominated she replied: "I have no idea why this has happened.
"I've been involved with the church for thirty years. I open and close the church everyday, do the flowers, the cleaning, the cooking and polish the brass.
"I suppose its just because I've been here for a long time," she added.
Dorothy will be among 85 recipients who will receive the Queen's Maundy alms on 21 April, Her Majesty's 85th birthday.
But for her it will be the first time she has ever left the island.
'Unsung heroes'
"When I read the letter I thought I can't do that. I'm a back room kind of person."
"My little world is here in Kirk Michael. I've never been off the island, by choice. I've just never wanted to go," she explained.
Dorothy is taking her closest friend with her to London.
Maundy moneyManx residents will be attending along with people from the Anglican Diocese of Europe, based in Gibraltar
"This is really something special that has got me to go. I wouldn't go for anything else. It's a big adventure!"
Reverend Canon Malcolm Convery, at Kirk Michael Church, says it is a chance to recognise the "unsung heroes" of the Manx community.
"Dorothy's been nominated, not just because of her service as a church warden, but also for helping in the community. She deserves recognition for that," he said. From 1699 the Maundy money was distributed by a royal representative but it became customary in the 1930s for the reigning monarch to distribute the coins.
Dorothy says she will put the coins in the China cabinet when she gets back.
May I just say that "Auntie" Brenda Watterson from St. Mary's in Port St. Mary was also in attendance. A worthy recipient of the coins as she is a stalwart of the Church and has given much time to the little ones as well as the wider church in the village over many, many years.


With thanks to the BBC, the Church of Ireland and Rushen Parish News.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

ISLE OF MAN WELCOMES FIRST CRUISE LINER OF THE YEAR

(Venice not Douglas but we can understand the confusion.)

The Isle of Man will welcome the first cruise liner of the year this weekend.  Any visitor to Douglas on Saturday, 7th May, may well take a second look at the cruise vessel mv Discovery anchored in the Bay on the basis that it might appear to be familiar. Familiar it will be to those who follow certain U.S. sitcoms, specifically a series that is often credited as one of the reasons for the current popularity and growth of Cruise Tourism. 

Earlier in her life the mv Discovery operated as the ‘Pacific Princess’ and attained instant recognition amongst TV viewers when she and her sister, the Island Princess, both served as the set for the popular U.S. television series ‘The Love Boat’, which was broadcast by the ABC channel from 1977 until 1986.  Re-runs of the popular series are still seen regularly on TV channels worldwide.
Member for the Department of Economic Development responsible for Tourism, Mr Geoff Corkish, MBE, MHK said:

‘During the call of the 20,000 ton Discovery the majority of the 623 passengers have the choice of a variety of shore excursions, including coach trips to both the north and south of the Island, trips on our vintage transport system, including the Snaefell Railway, and for the garden enthusiasts onboard, a tour which will highlight Milntown and its award winning gardens.  In addition there will be an opportunity to visit St John’s where details of the Island’s Wildflower Project will be showcased.

‘Those passengers not on excursions, and many of the 300 strong crew, will undoubtedly enjoy their visit to Douglas, both to experience our capital as well to indulgence in a little retail therapy.’

If you have ever wondered how others view the Isle of Man’s attributes, this cruise line’s brochure describes the Island: ‘Starkly beautiful hills, lush glens, rolling countryside, rugged cliffs and hidden coves, this ancient landscape shaped by man, the elements and relentless force of the Irish Sea, holds clues to a fascinating place.  Castle Rushen tells the story of English nobles who ruled over Mann for centuries. Lady Isabella, the world famous Laxey Wheel, which testifies to Victorian splendour.’

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jurby -- The Final Frontier


Schools and the public could soon be going to Jurby for an experience that would be out of this world.
And in a few years’ time, a space station owned by Manx-registered Excalibar Almaz could be operating as a hotel – 400km up in space.
The company is storing two former Russian space stations in a hangar at Jurby Airfield. Measuring about 11 metres long and four metres in diameter, the Almaz space stations are directly related to earlier Russian Salyut and Mir space stations, which have a proven track record in space.
They feature the largest window ever developed for a spacecraft – providing a panoramic two-metre-wide view.
The eventual plan is to have a permanent orbital platform which tourists would travel to and stay in.
The first step is to develop a Reusable Re-entry Vehicle (RRV) that would transport people into orbit and back.
The next step is for tourists to be able to stay in space for a few days aboard a small habitat module attached to the RRV.
Once that’s proven to be economically viable the company would establish a permanent space station, using the newer of the two Almaz modules at Jurby.
It could be visited by up to six groups per year, some of which may run scientific experiments.
Cosmonaut Colonel Valery Tokarev, who was commander on the 2005-2006 Soyuz mission to the International Space Station, said he could be the commander on one of the test missions into space, which it is hoped will take place in about 2014.
Colonel Tokarev, who is a Hero of the Russian Federation, said people with the money – expected to be about $30-35 million – would be ready for blast off after about six months’ training.
And only ‘normal’ fitness levels would be required, compared with the rigorous training cosmonauts undertake.
Colonel Tokarev, who was also part of a 1999 mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station ahead of the arrival of the first crew to live there, said going into space wasn’t scary.
He said: ‘If you know your job it’s not scary.
‘Every time you have to be careful because it’s risky.’
He said being in space was a ‘great feeling’ – with weightlessness meaning ‘it’s so easy to move’.
The other space station at Jurby was ready to go into space.
Almaz, which means ‘diamond’ in Russian, was a Soviet Union military space programme and comprised an orbital manned space station, transport vehicles, reusable spacecraft designed to carry a cargo of three, a cargo capsule delivering information to Earth, and ground support facilities.
While parts of the space complex were successfully tested both on the ground and in space, the space station didn’t make it into orbit. This space station will be refurbished as a display piece.
Tim Craine, business development agency director of the Department of Economic Development, said: ‘It’s great for the island to have this type of equipment here. It’s tangible evidence of the direction the Isle of Man is going in, in terms of developing its space industry.’
The public will be able to visit the space stations in the summer.
For Excalibar’s launch in 2009, the company displayed at King William’s College, Castletown, an ex-Soviet RRV purchased from Russian space company NPO Mashinostroyenia. The company is a truly international venture, gathering astronauts, cosmonauts and technical experts from Russia and the United States.