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Parts of the Isle of Man suffered some of the worst March weather on record last week. The west of the Island was hard hit with hundreds of homes without electricity while places like Cronk-y-Voddy and Baldwin are likely to be isolated for days yet. From a photography perspective I would have loved to have been closer to the snow but, as I realise having seen video of farmers digging out sheep from under the snow, I was one of the lucky ones who remained in a warm house for most of the weekend.

But perhaps this photo, taken on Sunday morning, captured so many aspects of life in the Isle of Man.

In the background is the real beauty of the Island – the snow covered mountains. Although they are not to be seen, the land in which the photo was taken is grazed by sheep which, with the decline of dairy and beef farming, is the most common use for the 227 square miles of Manx land.

Immediately beyond the fields you can see the industrial parks which are mushrooming out from Douglas – a sure sign of the Isle of Man’s economic miracle. Although the loss of 40% of government revenue (caused by the UK changing the VAT sharing agreement) is causing pain to many Manx residents, we continue to grow the economy at one of the fastest rates in the world and hopefully the wealth generated will be shared equitably in the years ahead.

Just visible are the lights and the roof of the indoor section of the National Sports Centre which we have enjoyed so much during the past 21 years.

Yet one thing dominates the skyline – the Manx Electricity Authority’s power station. Its the blight on the landscape and with £400 million of debt the MEA is the blight on the economic landscape.  And yet, even with so much building in Kirk Michael in the last 50 years parts of its landscape are unchanged – when the south east winds bring the snow the electricity supply breaks.

Murray Lambden – 24 March 2013



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