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.

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