Snaefell mountain road

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A18 shield

Route information
Length: 15.30 mi (24.62 km)
Major junctions
North end: Ramsey
54°19′14″N 4°23′06″W / 54.32056°N 4.38500°W / 54.32056; -4.38500 (A18 road (western end))
South end: Governor's Bridge, Douglas
54°10′18″N 4°28′06″W / 54.17167°N 4.46833°W / 54.17167; -4.46833 (A18 road (western end))
Road network

The Snaefell mountain road[1] or Mountain Road, designated as the A18, is a primary road of 15.30 miles (24.62 km) length which connects the towns of Douglas and Ramsey, the two largest towns on the island. It carries two-way traffic at most times, but may be closed for racing or in extreme weather. As the name suggests, it is a high-level route. It is used by many in preference to the low-level route along the coast as it is much less winding, and higher speeds are possible.


The mountain road is part of Snaefell Mountain Course or Mountain Course,[2] a road-racing circuit used for the Isle of Man TT and Manx Grand Prix races, which have been held in the Isle of Man from 1911 and 1923 respectively. In the races, it is one-way from Ramsey towards Douglas. The racing is held on public roads closed for racing by an Act of Tynwald (the parliament of the Isle of Man). It is the oldest motor-cycle racing circuit still in use. The highest point of the course is on the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road between the Bungalow and Hailwood's Height at Ordnance Survey spot height 422 metres (1,385 feet) above sea level.

The A18 Snaefell Mountain Road was described in the publication Classic Motor-Sport Routes as:[3]


The A18 Snaefell Mountain Road runs from the A2 Governor's Road at Governor's Bridge in Douglas north to Ramsey, and includes the A18 Bemahague Road from Governor's Bridge to Signpost Corner. As part of the Snaefell Mountain Course, in reverse direction it passes through Cronk-ny-Mona, Hillberry Corner and the junction with the C22 Little Mill Road, Brandish Corner, Creg-ny-Baa, Kate's Cottage, Keppel Gate, Windy Corner and the B10 Sartfield Road road junction with Brandywell. Continuing north, the A18 Mountain Road passes over the Snaefell Mountain Railway tramway crossing at the Bungalow and the A14 Sulby Glen Road, Bungalow Bridge, Verandah, Stonebreakers Hut, East Mountain Gate, Mountain Box, the Mountain Mile including Guthrie's Memorial, 26th Milestone, the D28 Hibernia Road junction at the Gooseneck, Water Works Corner, Ramsey Hairpin and Whitegates. The A18 Snaefell Mountain Road at its northern end includes two small sections of road previously held in private ownership between Cruickshank's Corner and the road junctions with the A9 Ramsey to Andreas Road and the A2 Douglas to Ramsey Road situated in the town of Ramsey.

Origins and History[edit]

A18 Snaefell Mountain Road sign in Ramsey

The A18 Snaefell Mountain Road was developed in the mid-19th century from a number of pre-existing roads, cart-tracks and bridle paths. This included installation of a number of sheep-gates including the East Mountain Gate, the Beinn-y-Phott sheep-gate at Brandywell and Keppel Gate.[4] The section of the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road from Keppel Gate northwards to the Gooseneck corner near Ramsey was built on common grazing land that was transferred to the Crown following the sale of the Island's feudal rights by the Duke of Atholl after the Disafforesting Commission of 1860.[5]

As the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road is purpose-built, it reflects typical 19th century highway and railway construction practices, with many small-scale cuttings, embankments and revetments, and follows land contours with purpose-built graded sections intersected by right-angle bends, road junctions and sheep-gates.[6]


The A18 Snaefell Mountain Road has small metal milestones[7] from the period of James Garrow as Isle of Man Surveyor-General;[8] they are numbered numerically from Douglas to Ramsey.

National Geographic Top 10 Drives[edit]

In 2014, the National Geographic magazine nominated the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road as No 8 in the Top 10 Driver's Drives. [9]


  1. ^ Isle of Man Examiner pp33 dated 8 July 2008
  2. ^ Isle of Man Centenary TT – ACU/MMCC Official Race Guide pp67 Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure (2007) Mannin Media Group Ltd
  3. ^ Classic Motor-Sport Routes page 57 by Richard Meaden 1st Edition (2007) AA Publishing Ltd ISBN 978-0-7495-5225-1 Oriental Press Dubai
  4. ^ Isle of Man Examiner page 5 dated 5 June 1969
  5. ^ The Isle of Man by Train, Tram and by Foot page 57 by Stan Basnett (1990) Lily Publications ISBN 1-899602-72-0 Walk 10 - Abbeylands and Nobles Park to Laxey
  6. ^ Manx Milestones pages 13–17 and pages 57–58 by Stuart Slack (1st Edition)(2003)The Manx Experience ISBN 1-873120-58-3
  7. ^ Manx Milestones by Stuart Slack pp56-57 (1st Edition)(2003)The Manx Experience ISBN 1-873120-58-3
  8. ^ Isle of Man Examiner dated 3 May 1913
  9. ^ "National Geographic Top 10 Drivers' Drives". National Geographic Online. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata