Discovering a film location on Isle of Man

Isle of Man is frequently used as film location. Read on to find out more…

I spent too much time in Laxey, and, annoyingly, too much time waiting for buses and trains. My bad – you really can’t fault a service that runs every 30 – 40 minutes. Ambling over to the Douglas-bound train, I discovered I just missed one. At the bus stop nearby, I discovered I had just missed that, too. It was now 1 p.m. and I realized all of a sudden I didn’t have all day, as everything closed at 5. So it now seemed I had to choose: Either go west and see Peel Castle (featured in I Capture the Castle) and the supposedly fabulous House of Mananan. Or go south to Castletown and onwards.

Laxey, Isle of Man

For 40 minutes at the bus stop in Laxey, surrounded by flowers, I pondered this. I wanted to do both! Today! Plus, I was hungry. On the bus to Douglas, I got into one of my internal, silent pet peeves. I’ll share it here with you: Why is it that we, in this advanced age, haven’t come past having to eat? Oh, we can still have dinner parties, romantic meals for two and all that – but on a daily basis, why can’t we run on, say pure energy? All this having to take breaks to put stuff in – and out, as it were – is a bloody nuisance. Not least now.

Meanwhile, the bus stopped at Douglas harbour and I ran like a mad woman to the bus station. All of a sudden I saw the Peel bus at one stop and the Castletown bus at the next. I had loosely planned to let fate decide: whichever bus was at the station first – there go I. Now I was torn, looking from one bus to the other. Both drivers looked expectantly at me. But I couldn’t decide, so finally they both took off, leaving me there as the bloody Queen of Indecision. Damn!

Laxey, Isle of Man

Two seconds later, I noticed the southbound bus wasn’t only going to Castletown but all the way to Calf Sound. And two seconds after that, after a quick peek in a brochure, I realized that’s where a special part of Keeping Mum was filmed.

Isle of Man as film location

Keeping Mum, if you haven’t seen it, is a fun film with peculiar and slightly scary morals: If men misbehave, kill them. The film stars Patrick Swayze as a sleazy golf pro, and Kristin Scott Thomas as a frustrated, neglected wife of an asexual vicar (Rowan Atkinson – the Black Adder!), mostly concerned with God and his congregation in Little Wallop.

In one scene, Kristin and Patrick sit in a restaurant, discussing their plans to run away together, leaving poor Rowan behind, not knowing what hit him. Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen. Kristin’s mum (played brilliantly by Dame Maggie Smith) found out Patrick was secretly video-taping Kristin’s teenage daughter naked and whacked him dead with an iron. Then, she proceeded to give Rowan sex advice based on Biblical scripture – and everyone was happy; well, all but Patrick and some other men who didn’t behave.

Calf Sound, Isle of Man

When Kristin and Patrick discuss running away, they’re in a restaurant with panorama windows through which you see the most stunning scenery. And I’ve seen heaps of stunning views. It was so gorgeous, I had to look up the film location: Isle of Man.

Recognizing the film location in the brochure, I immediately knew where I had to go. This particular location, along with the fact that the Isle of Man is for all intents and purposes a separate country, is what drew me to the island in the first place.

Calf Sound, Isle of Man

While the restaurant had seemed significantly larger in the film (that’s Hollywood – larger than life), Calf Sound was just at beautiful in real life. I looked out at the light house and Calf Island for ages; or for as long as the bus driver was willing to wait, as he was the last one going back that day (at 4 pm!) The kindly man also pointed out two basking sharks for me. At first, I didn’t see any and was annoyed in that childish, slightly whiney way you are when someone points out something and you just don’t see it. “Out there. Look!” he said. I couldn’t see a thing, damn it. Then, all of a sudden, I did.

Calf Sound, Isle of Man Calf Sound, Isle of Man

They were beautiful. These sharks are the second largest fish in the world, but not dangerous to people, as they prefer a veg diet. I’m glad I saw them – and the Sound.

Calf Sound is great for kayaking next to basking whales and Atlantic seals. But not without a skilled guide. The currents are strong and many have met shipwreck here.

Center map


17 Responses to “Discovering a film location on Isle of Man”

  1. Tina 27 September 2011 1634 #

    A very entertaining read! I’m so enjoying your blog.

    I must have seen Keeping Mum 3 or 4 times and remember that scene from the cafe with that gorgeous view. So glad to know where it is. I’ve actually heard lots of films are shot at Isle of Man.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 September 2011 1853 #

      @Tina – Yes, Man is a popular filming location – probably both because of the gorgeous nature and the lenient tax laws 🙂

  2. Abby 27 September 2011 1907 #

    Haha fun, funny and relaxing all in the same post!

  3. The Travel Chica 27 September 2011 1910 #

    I would have been kicking myself for missing the buses too. Glad the day ended well.

  4. Ana 27 September 2011 2150 #

    “the bloody Queen of Indecision. Damn!” This made me chuckle.
    I would love to visit the Isle of Man one day, I’m in love with British islands (OK, North Atlantic ones too).
    It’s funny how films and books influence the decisions we make when we travel, isn’t it?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 September 2011 2230 #

      @Ana – I know! So many places I’ve seen directly as a result of a book (or a film). It doesn’t even have to be that great a book, just one that gives an interesting sense of place.

  5. I’ve never seen the movie but I just may have to watch it! I loved the pictures. Very pretty!

  6. Vera Marie Badertscher 27 September 2011 2253 #

    Never even heard of the movie, but you’ve given us SEVERAL reasons to go the Isle of Mann. Thanks for the great narrative and the photos.

  7. Nomadic Samuel 28 September 2011 0156 #

    This was a very entertaining read and I loved the first few shots you had of the flowers!

  8. Kelly 28 September 2011 0548 #

    Awesome! I actually met a couple last year from the Isle of Man, it was the first time I had ever heard of it.. nice to see you uncovering it!

  9. robin 28 September 2011 1259 #

    Embrace the need to eat Sophie! Make it a pleasure every time 🙂

    And vegetarian sharks! You learn something every day…

  10. Annie - FootTracker 28 September 2011 1413 #

    The view of the restaurant looks stunning. I would probably just sit there all day from sun rise to sunset while drinking tea, eating dessert, enjoying the view, and trying to study here and there.

    I am scared of the sharks, but since you mentioned they are veggie eater there, may be I will like some sharks now XD

  11. Sherry 29 September 2011 0515 #

    Hilarious misadventures with the bus. Isn’t it like us women to be so indecisive? But in the end, look what you found in Calf Sound – the Isle of Man. That place looks remarkable and its absolutely what I envisioned that part of the world would look like. I wouldn’t mind being shipwrecked there for a while.

  12. Louise 29 September 2011 1523 #

    I love that film. And this article. I actually want to follow along with you here 🙂
    Really want to visit Isle of Man now.

  13. David Bennett 1 October 2011 1014 #

    Do you remember how in Back To The Future it all started with some plutonium that the professor gets to fuel his car?

    And do you remember the scene at the end of the film where the professor flies in in his DeLorean and proceeds to refuel it by dropping things into it that he finds in the trash can?

    Well that’s kind of how I think about eating. We can put an amazing range of things – sticks of celery – carrots – fish – all kinds of things in our systems and we just process them like little DeLoreans. Amazing.

    The Isle of Man never grabbed me because it is so close and yet so far (how do you get there?), but as with most things when someone tells you more about a place in a sympathetic way, now I would like to go.

    I seem to have seen Keeping Mum in unassembled bits while channel hopping.

    I had kind of worked out that Kristin Scott Thomas did something that a vicar’s wife ought not to.

    Now I have the low-down it will help to assemble the little chunks of the film when it comes around again on TV.

  14. Michael Figueiredo 1 October 2011 2248 #

    Wow–what spectacular views!

  15. Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 October 2011 0001 #

    Thanks all for your kind comments – so appreciate every one 🙂

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