Friday 23 February 2018

Local Heroes and Scottish Villages

Have you seen the film 'Local Hero'?

If you aren't familiar with Bill Forsyth's 1983 classic, I can only urge you to watch it as soon at the next available opportunity - not only because it will explain why we were keen to visit Pennan, filming location for the fictional Scottish town of Ferness, but because it a wonderful, sweet gem of a film.

Local Hero is a film about a Texan's attempts to buy a tiny Scottish town to turn into an oil refinery. Like in all great narratives, things don't exactly go to plan. It's a simple story, told with warmth and wit and wonder.

We made the lengthy but picturesque drive to Pennan while we staying in Nairn last year. We weren't exactly 'in the neighbourhood', but we were a great deal closer than we usually are, so it seemed obvious that we should take the trip over! 

I was, if I'm being honest, as little less sure of the kids enthusiasm for visiting this pretty spot, as its not exactly bursting with fun filled attractions. We'd shown them the DVD a couple of days before our visit, and was thrilled that they fell for the film's obvious charms! OK, I did rely on a very fresh-faced Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to hook them in, but it didn't take long before they were fully invested in the fate of this fictional village.

Watching the film beforehand was definitely the right call, as the kids loved spotting familiar sights they'd seen on TV just days before. 

The youngsters, like the adults, were particularly enamoured by the iconic red phone box that played an integral part of the film. They even made their very first phone-box call. Unfortunately grandad had already left work for the day, so they just briefly spoke to his secretary...

It's not a big place, just a few houses and a pub - the walk from one end of Pennan to the other takes about three minutes at a relatively leisurely pace. But we still managed to spend a lovely few hours piling up rocks on the beach at one end and clambering around the harbour at the other.

KC bought a Pennan T Shirt from a lovely lady who makes and sells them from her home, and she spoke to us fondly about the film, sharing memories from the screening put on in Pennan to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary, and pointing out specific filming locations we may not have spotted (we knew that the prop phone box used in the film had been in a different position to the one we made calls from earlier, but may not have recognised which of the little white buildings was used as a stand in for the local pub, for instance).

Aware that I might be dragging the family all the way there so we could have a quick peek at a phone box, I'd made sure to book into the Pennan Inn for lunch - figuring that it'd buy us at least an hour or so, helping to justify the drive over. 

There were a few nods to Local Hero around the pub - I imagine a lot of their visiting customers are there for the same reason we were - but the Pennan Inn doesn't just rely on the popularity of the film.
The small menu is made up of local ingredients with a surprising Asian twist. There's a lot of fish, which makes perfect sense considering the location - both kids had and loved the fish n chips - and they even sorted us out with a vegan Thai curry. 

These days there's not so many folk that actually live in here, but a few of the gorgeous little cottages are available as holiday properties. Pennan, picked by location scouts to be the perfect place to represent a good and simple life, and virtually untouchable by mobile phone signal, would be an incredible place to spend a few peaceful days watching the waves and keeping an eye out for dolphins. I hope our next visit is for longer! 



  1. What a little gem this place is, you almost have the place to yourself!

  2. Lovely, I imagine it was very exciting. I've been to a few filming locations of Outlander, in Scotland. It was so exciting the places I've seen in the series. I haven't seen Local Hero.

    1. I've never seen Outlander but I've heard it's worth a watch - it certainly has some very pretty filming locations!

  3. Definitely adding both the film and this place to my To Do list; what a gorgeous set of photos! I can just feel the sea breeze in these Kel, it looks so lovely there. I especially love it when a film is both enjoyable and is featured in a place like this too. Gorgeous photos! - Tasha

    1. I think you'd love both!
      The couldn't have picked a more perfect place for filming!

  4. What a charming place! I would love to visit there and must watch any film involving Monsieur Capaldi! Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. haha he's so young and fresh-faced in it, very different from the grumpy old man we know and love now!

  5. This is a great post thanks for writing it


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