Skip to main content
On this day:

Escaped bear Hercules is found

Bear Cheek

You know that old expression ‘it’s like looking for an enormous bear on a tiny Scottish island’? It usually denotes a simple or easily achievable task. But the erstwhile phrase came to life on this day in 1980, when Hercules the bear was finally found after taking an unexpected 24 day holiday on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. The 8 ft 4 in, half-ton bear had arrived on the island to film a television commercial. But somehow, he escaped and went on a three week bender, evading the many, many people looking for him. Even though he was a massive bear on a tiny island. As he was used to eating cooked meat, Herc didn’t fancy eating the many sheep and cattle that were in the vicinity and eventually lost 15 stone during his ordeal. Not the most obvious behaviour for a Grizzly, and he soon became known by the nickname ‘Big Softy’. His antics led to international notoriety and he later appeared in a Bond film and Disney movies. There’s now a life-sized statue of Hercules on North Uist in Scotland.