A walking trail following the Colby river will be launched tomorrow (Thursday).

It is entitled the Romance of the Colby River Heritage Walking Trail and it was inspired by a June 1981 article in the Manx Life magazine by Cecil McFee.

The article followed the Colby River from the sea at Kentraugh to its source on the slopes of Cronk-ny-Arrey Laa. Packed with historical knowledge gems, it makes fascinating reading.

The Romance of the River Colby River Heritage Trail project uses some of the article to help create a signed walking trail along the Colby River.

This trail passes through beautiful countryside and a map of the trail will be published along with a booklet of the information.

Part of the trail passes through an area that was once owned by the late Donny Collister, so gives the perfect opportunity to recognise and remember him in one of the signs as his legacy is the main sponsor of the trail.

Donny had hoped for a museum to be built in Colby. He wanted the heritage of the island and his community to be preserved.

When he originally wrote his will, he had planned to leave his house, Colby Croft, to be held by his trustees ‘for the benefit of the people of Colby’ to be preserved as part of the heritage of the Isle of Man.

However, this property was disposed of during his lifetime so meant this was not possible.

But this is the first project in his home village to be awarded a grant from the Manx National Heritage Donny Collister Fund.

This project currently consists of five sign boards along the route from the outlet of the river at Brewery bay to Colby Big Glen.

They will be located at Brewery Bay, John Moore’s Claddagh, Colby Clock and Colby Big Glen.

They capture historical snippets in text and images.

The map and logo for the project were designed by Colby resident and local artist Euan Mort.

The route will be officially launched on March 30. Governor Sir John Lorimer and Lady Lorimer will walk the route and open the exhibition.

The exhibition will take place in Colby Methodist Chapel displaying historical articles, photos and postcards in the coffee lounge.

There will also be paintings displayed by the chapel by artists Hoggatt and Cecil McFee.

Learn about history of years gone by including:

•The ice box, bone mill and corn mill at Kentraugh

•The story of escapees from Knockaloe being rescued in the claddaghs by a farmer

•The legendary ‘hooping days when local tradesmen crafted cart wheels in Colby village, cooling them in the river’

•The industries and businesses that thrived near the river including the tales of Creer the Weaver

•Artists inspired to paint by the beauty of Colby Glen and the VIctorian tourists who travelled by train to visit

Entry to the exhibition is free but donations to Colby Methodist Chapel are welcome.

Dates and details are below:-

Thursday, March 30: Official opening by Sir John and Lady Lorimer.

They will walk the first half the route starting at 2pm at Brewery Bay and stop at Colby Methodist at about 2.45pm to view the exhibition and enjoy an afternoon tea served by Arbory WI with other guests and sponsors.

They will then walk the remainder of the route to Colby Big Glen.

This part of the launch is by invitation only.

The exhibition will then be open to the public as follows:-

Thursday: 5pm to 8pm

Friday: 10am to 4pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Sunday: 1pm to 4 pm

For further details contact commissioner Jane Glover on 07624 492010

Arbory and Rushen Commissioners thanked Manx National Heritage and all sponsors and supporters which include TE Leece, the Costain family, the Looney family and the Department for the Environment, Food and Agriculture for their support and enabling this project to happen.