The Western Isles – Or There And Back Again IX

By Bernie Bell

Of a Temple – and a Bear!

And so, on to our B&B for the night, The Ship’s Wheel, owned by Pat and Callum Macquien, assisted by Charlie the excitable labradoodle.  You can’t miss it, from the main road!

Ships Wheel B and B B Bell Lewis

Pat and Callum recommended the Temple View Hotel as a good place to eat, just along the road, and Callum rang ahead to book for us – nice, helpful, friendly people who have a garden full of fishing floats!  Hurrah for fellow crap-off-the-beach collectors!

Our hosts were right, the Temple View is excellent – a very pleasant place to be.  We were in the sun room, with views out to sea, sky and ….the ’Temple’ which the hotel takes its name from.  The precise age the ‘Temple’ is uncertain – it’s thought to date from the 14th Century, though it could be earlier.

Our meal was gorgeous, I had a fish cake, which was a proper fish cake, not the strange concoction of cereals, potato and a bit of fish, which is sometimes presented as a fish-cake.  It was freshly made, full of salmon, and GORGEOUS!  Mike dissected a Langoustine as his starter

Langoustine B BellHow could he?  When it looked at him with those big, black eyes?

If you’re in the area, the Temple View Hotel is a good place, all round.  The waitresses were helpful, even though they were very busy.  Really can’t be faulted.

We then went back to The Ship’s Wheel, where Pat and Callum told us the tale of Hercules the Bear!  I had a vague memory of this story being in the news, years ago, but hadn’t remembered that Hercules’ adventures took place on Benbecula.  It was in 1980, and a film crew were in the area, with a trained bear, called Hercules, making an advertisement for something – I think, maybe, weirdly, toilet roll!  Hercules made a break for it!  He was loose for 24 days, then someone spotted him swimming in the sea, a tranquiliser dart knocked him out, and he was re-captured.

Hercules the Bear statue North Uist

By Ivanbalich , from Wikimedia Commons

There has since been a statue raised to him in Langass woods

An interesting tale, but…but…BUT – Why wasn’t he out there, living in a forest somewhere, anyway? ‘Nuff said.

Our host, Callum, was born and raised locally, and is a Gaelic speaker, and yet, when he speaks English, he sounds like someone from the West Coast of Ireland.  In fact, he sounds very like my brother-in-law, Seamus, who is from County Sligo!  Why would that be?  I know there is a Gaelic/Gallic connection – we’re all ‘Children of the Gael’, but, why would a man from North Uist, sound like he’s from the West of Ireland?  Does anyone have an answer to this?

There are more articles in this series of Bernie Bell’s travels to and in the Western Isles – use our search facility to find them.

1 reply »

  1. The similarity between Scottish and Irish dialects is a constant, I’ve found. I’ve met Stornaway men who sound like they’re from Cork, and the Caithness and North Antrim dialects are almost identical. Uncanny.

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