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|Durness, by Lairg|
|Motto: "We're getting the Olympics and you're no.|
|Civic anthem: Whiskey in the Jar (by Thin Lizzy)|
|Official nickname||Little Fife by the Sea|
|Official language(s)||Swearing, Czech, Polish, Gaelic(?)|
|Established||1367 by Don (the Ka) Campbell|
Durness, by Lairg (Gaelic: Fìobh Bheag air na Mara - Little Fife by the Sea) is a large bustling town and Nato bombing range in the far northwest of the Scottish Highlands. It is so far north that not only do tourists turn around at Ullapool, polar bears lived here up until the 1970s. The area is also home to a protected species of seagull that flies only backwards as the constant wind has affected their evolution. This same evolutionary process has also altered the physique of the local 'birdz', hence their large solid appearence.
Although it's been inhabited for bloody ages, from 1978-81, it was home to Groundskeeper Willie and it is currently home to radio personality Iain Anderson and local TV star Colin 'the Caveman' Coventry. It's about an hour and a half drive north from either Inverness or Caithness or 8 hours 45 mins if you're German/Dutch and drive a campervan, possibly 2 days for Italians driving up to see Smoo Cave.
Local Scottish folklore has it that Durness is in fact non-existent due to the lack of anything to do held within the perimeter wall (which also doesn't exist for if it did, people would climb over it and play on it in an attempt to rape to death the sheer lack of anything to do that Durness has to offer).
For instance: there are no houses, so that if you're looking for a place to not live, then Durness is the ideal not place to live. Fancy not going out to the pub? Durness has not got the all-new and improved Duck Bay bar over where the sea isn't. For fewer things to see and do, look at the brochure in your hands...
Durness is the most northwesterly town in the Sutherland region of Scotland (and in fact the world). It was once only a few miles from Nova Scotia, Scotland's most northwesterly point until it broke off in a January storm and drifted away, leaving the bit called Cape Wrath behind. Durness is trapped between two sea inlets, Loch Eriboll to the west which turns what would be a relatively straight-forward trip to Tongue into a 163 mile round journey, and the Kyle of Durness to the east which you need a ferry from Keoldale to get across to Cape Side to avoid being eaten by the sharks.
Two words: Arid and dry, from the exception of Atlantic Cyclone season. Tourists from the European continent flock to Durness in the summer months to take advantage of it's unique maritime climate and spend day after day sunbathing on one of the parish's many beaches. In fact, it's so warm that Durness is famed for it's 'Vin du Balnakeil' from the Balnakeil winery which can certainly be described as having a 'unique' flavour. Next time you see it in a top London or Parisian dining establishment, spare a thought for Durness far, far away.
Durness is a mecca for funny little people known as geologists who like using hammers to smash up bits of Durness and put them in their garden back home. So much is removed on an an annual basis that the south of England is gradually sinking, leaving Durness in the north to rise above sea-level, keeping everyone happy. Durness is made up of dull grey rock called Limestein but certain sections such as Ceannabeinne and Sango Bay have been painted stripy in a range of bright colours by local ceramic artist Lotte Glob to make the area more interesting and attract students to the Oasis every night. The rocks are then carved into many interesting shapes by the local stonemason. Like the Forth Railway Bridge (until recently), Durness continually needs painted all year round, an impressive feat which also keeps the local painter in a job.
The area around Durness is also dotted with thousands of little holes in the ground. Once thought to be limestone sinkholes, it was later revealed that they were formed from failed efforts from the Bomb Disposal after a day in the games beer tent. After fears were raised, Cape Wrath was then designated as a target practice (and occasionally Eilean Hoan to scare locals). One stray bomb is thought to have hit and killed John Lennon on his holidays when he came up to visit the famous Thomas the Tank Engine narrator and close friend Ringo Starr. The MoD then successfully covered this up with an elaborate assassination story, framing some poor chap called Mark Chapman from Atlanta who had just happened to stay at the local bunkhouse for a night.
edit North West Highland Geopark
Durness is home to Scotland's first ever Geopark, the North West Highland Geopark. Tickets for entry to this geology themed amusement park can be bought at the Durness Tourist Information centre at Sango Bay, open Mon-Sat (09:30-10:00). Meet Scotland's last living caveman in his cave or why not ride some of Scotland's most exciting rides such as the Cape Wrath minibus 'rollercoaster'.
edit Flora and Fauna
The parish of Durness is home to a wide variety of wild flowers and animals. The rich soils found across the region's hills are among the best arable soils in Scotland and as a result wildlife can flourish within some of Durness' best loved and best known botanical gardens (see Ringo Starr memorial garden). The limestone pasturelands however are far too lime-rich to harvest life, except from the extremely rare Child Faced Daisy, which is exclusive to the area.
Visitors to the area can also be treated to some spectacular wildlife, the recent highlight being several sightings of a Wildcat around the School Road area of the village which can be found by quietly following the trails of cat urine. On a more threatening note, several residents have reported sightings of 'Big Cats' wandering the area, one seen holding the ripped off arm of a man with "enough blood to turn the Dionaird red" as the resultant poem described.
Visitors to coastal areas have also reported sightings of fish being eaten by seagulls which get eaten by seals which get eaten by whales which then get caught and eaten in KLB. Several deer can also be found outside of the village on the roads, quite often dead mind you but they make an excellent venison stew as long as they've only been roadkill for under two weeks. Sheep are popular with tourists and can also be spotted lying on the roads unless you're in Portnacon in which case you'll have to look a little harder. The following is a full list of flora and fauna that you can expect to find in and around Durness;
In the dunes to the north of the town is a colony of puffins, if you can't find it, ask someone, but try not to disturb the foreign agents watching the NATO bombing range whilst disguised as twitchers. In the event of seeing no-one, head for the environmentally sensitive CCTV camera installed to save idle tourists bothering to walk all of half a mile.
- Flora: Child Faced Daisy,
Trees, White Field Gentian, Primrose, Grass, Tulip, Meadowsweet, Monkey Flower, Grass of Parnassus, Pineapple, Mayweed, Eyebright, Marajuana, Orchids, Violets, Bamboo, Roseroot, Lots of Seaweed, Sea Champion, Washed-up Beach Sticks, Rockrose, Burdock, Giant Sunflowers.
- Fauna: Rabbits, Sheeps, Red Deer, Ticks, Common Seal, Rare Seal, Common Gull, Black Headed Gull, Big Bastard Gull, Siegul, Common Tern, Shag (hee hee), Wagtail, Swallow, Eider, Buzzard, Kestrel, Eagles, Vultures, Canada Geese, Corncrake (calling), Oystercatcher, Curlew, Kiwi, Ringed Plover, Heron, Black Guillemots, Tramp, Porpoises, Dolphin (dead), Whale, Otters, Lynx, Wildcat, Pissing Tom Cat (of School Road), Bear, Badger, Dogs and Foxes.
Durness is the ancient seat of the Clan Mackay but is now known as Morrison Country due to the high number of resident Morrisons. Durness was first discovered by Viking settlers who became lost on their journey to the Faroe Islands and thought that they might pop into the Smoo Cave Hotel for a quick pint and chat while they were stranded in Smoo Cave overnight. Several ancient monuments can be found around Durness, particularly around Loch Eriboll and the Kyle of Durness. Stone long-houses and burial cairns are common along with the ancient Viking Cape Wrath lighthouse at Cape Wrath which was originally built in the Mid-9th Century to stop viking boats sailing off towards Sule Skerry and St Kilda.
The name Durness is actually derived from the Gaelic Ness meaning In the Highlands and Dur being short for dour or not very exciting. The area became an important tourist destination in the 1950s thanks to improved access with the construction of the M836-M838 which was built between Laxford Bridge and Thurso and by the fact that Ringo Starr of the Beatles used to stay in Sangomore for his childhood holidays.
edit Judicial System
Although covered by Scots Law, the parish is unusual in that it has a devolved judicial system as the closest Highland Constabulary station is located too far away for the local police to make any regular visits (other than for catching drink-drivers at the weekend). For petty matters which can be resolved outwith the Durness High Court (see below), the vigilante system is commonly used, usually within the common court (aka ‘the pub’) where an attempted punch to the face will suffice. Additionally, the good old ad-hoc ‘invent at will’ bye-law system has also been used in the past by council authorities.
For more serious matters, the Durness High Court is used which is simply a big rock outside of the village at Ceannabeinne referred to as the ‘Judgement Stone’ where one can sit about on some rocks polished by the local school kids and decide whether to chuck the accused off of the nearby cliff. Thought to have been an ancient practice, this still continues to the present day. Any dead bodies are disposed of in the local dunes where archaeologists accept bungs to write them up as Pictish or Viking burial sites. Occasionally they may also throw them down a waterfall at Smoo Cave to save them the walk. Should any bodies be recovered in the future, an elaborate story about an old local bandit who used to do the same has been made up and has been accepted as a true story by most outwith the parish.
edit Military Connections
During the 1940's, Durness locals were evicted from their thatched crofts for a period of 15 years as a top secret space station was constructed around the Lerinbeg area. This proved to be vital in the Battle of Britain where nuclear rockets were stationed as a deterent for invading German aircraft. After World War 2 however, RAF Sango was used as a military base during the Cold War. Recovered Soviet space rockets were shipped to the nearby Loch Eriboll where they were transported to Lerinbeg by a convoy of quads to be reused by the Americans against the former Soviet Union. Nowadays it is possible to see several ruins dotted across the headland which were formerly the launchpads for these large space vessels.
The current radar control station (disguised as a craft village, now better known as the Gaza Strip at Balnakeil with a decoy on Faraid Head) is still in use and the region still has a large military presence as NATO use sheep on Garvie Island as targets during bombing practice. The limestone region is also dotted with hundreds of caves where a natural underground labyrinth was harnessed as a nuclear bunker and still connects the Craft Village to Lerinbeg. The main entrance to the system at the nearby Smoo Cave is now used as a tourist attraction although tourists are not permitted beyond the final sump into the first control room.
The latest enterprise linked to military activities in the area is the production of airborne chemicals to be used in the fight against terrorism, environmentalism, incomerism and any other ism that is seen to be an enemy to THE PEOPLE of Durness.
edit Natural Resources & Industry
During the construction of the military bases, a number of small oil fields were also discovered filling undiscovered caves around the Lerinbeg area. Production began in April 1943 and up to 12,000 barrels of crude oil were produced per day and were transported by boat from Durness to the Cromarty Firth where the abandoned rigs can still be seen today. Remains of the original oil extraction kilns at Ard Neakie on Loch Eriboll can still also be seen to this day. Such times ensured a prosperous and booming local economy with several grand buildings being left behind from this Golden Era; Smoo Lodge, Balnakeil House, the village's double-track road and the chalet on the Ka being prime examples.
However, the last production well just behind the church was plugged and abandoned in 1971 as Durness was unable to compete with the uprising of the new Kinlochbervie whaling fleet and the North Sea oil and gas industry in Aberdeen where much of the local population is now forced to work on a fortnightly basis. As a result of the oil shortage, the petrol pump outside of Mathers shop has remained out of use for over 40 years and Robbie's petrol prices have seen a massive surge as petrol now has to be transported from Grangemouth, near Falkirk at a price of just over £9.57 a litre (pre-tax).
The village has never quite recovered from the decline in oil revenue, although tourism will always remain the second most profitable industry, lagging far behind "Subsidy Farming", whereby local crofters attempt to reap as much European money as possible without actually owning any livestock. A skilled profession indeed, and long may it continue...
Reaching Durness poses few problems. The village is found on the recently upgraded M838 which provides fast and efficient routes to both Ullapool and Caithness. For the more adventurous, why not try the shortcut cross-country route to Lairg in which you can attempt to avoid an oncoming postbus travelling at 113mph on a single track road. Either that or admire foreign tourists using passing places as parking bays for going out into the middle of the road (more often than not a blind corner) to take a photo of some sheep.
After the Royal Mail discovered too many people hiding in boxes on the old postbus service, this decline in bus revenue has been responsible for the closure of some of the Highland post offices. The postbus service has now been replaced by the Rapsons bus service driven by Nick Hird who has been made aware of this fare-dodging trickery. Please have all rucksacks ready for stow-away inspection at Lairg railway station on arrival.
Note: If you wish to travel, please signal clearly on the roadside. In case it wasn't clear before, no pub stops are on the bus timetable.
Mondays to Saturdays
|Thurso||1245||Kyle of Lochalsh||1757|
|Altnabreac||1247||Muir of Ord||1628|
A terminal at Keoldale (just outside of the village) provides a regular ferry service to Daill on the Cape Side of the Kyle of Durness and further afield to the Scottish and Atlantic islands. According to the pamphlet, cyclists are welcome, arseholes are not. It is of note that the ferryman cannot swim, however he doesn't see as a problem. This was discovered after a tourist inquired: "Who will rescue us if we fall in?" to which he promptly replied, "Have you ever asked a pilot if he can fly?" Website
|Daill / Cape Wrath Minibus||09:00-17:00 (Every 10 mins)||Service may be cancelled in event of MOD exercises / bad weather / hangover|
|Lerwick / Foula||08:30 / 18:30 / 23:30||June - August only (no Sunday service)|
|Stromness / Hoy||07:15 / 19:15||(no Sunday service)|
|Torshavn / Faroe||15:00||Passport optional, supply of baccy for ferryman not.|
Durness is served by an air link which is almost unique in Scotland. Barra in the Western Isles claims to be the only airport in the world where scheduled services land on a beach, but anyone from Durness will tell you this is absolute shite. The airport at Balnakeil beach is operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited who own most of the regional airports in mainland Scotland and the outlying islands, although the radar tower at Faraid Head is now owned by the MoD (formerly owned by BAA).
Weekly flights take several of the local offshore workers to Aberdeen with BMI providing an additional link to Inverness for the Saturday shoppers who can’t be bothered going on a detour to Kinlochbervie and Scourie on the bus. Chartered flights have also become popular since the arrival of Cocoa Mountain to the area, with one source claiming that 7.6 tonnes of chocolate are exported from these shores every week.
|Scheduled Destinations||Departure Times|
|Aberdeen (ABZ)||06:30 (Mondays)|
|Inverness (INV)||08:30 (Mon, Wed, Sat)|
|Stornoway (SYY)||17:30 (when sunny)|
|London Gatwick (LGW)||12:30 (Saturdays only)|
|Piarco, Trinidad (POS)||17:00 (Douglas only)|
edit Places / Events of Interest
Below is a list of just some of the numerous attractions the area has to offer. In the event of rain however, we can only offer two alternatives (known locally as the Oasis and the Smoo). Please be aware that tourists have been known to be stranded in Durness for days at a time as nobody sells petrol on a Sunday (maybe sometimes in the summer if there's a penny or two to be made). This has often led to tragic events including the story where the bones of a viking boy were once found on Balnakeil Beach. Highland Constabulary put this down to the fact that the Viking boy had come from Capeside on a Sunday looking for some milk and his longboat engine had run out of petrol, leaving Murdo the Viking stranded who later died in the baking Durness sunshine.
edit The Tree
Found beside the prehistoric stone cairn just across the road from the village hall and the John Lennon Memorial Garden lies The Tree of Druim Bhlar Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), which consists of one of the only two trees north of Scourie. According to Local folklore, this tree was planted by the Vikings to point west to Norway so that they could find their way home.
The Tree bears a distinct likeness to Archie Macpherson's (Scotlands renowned radio scotland football commentator) hair and is open to visitors Mon-Sat, 09:00-17:00 with a nominal charge of £1.50 per person (no child/student discount, extra £1 for glossy brochure)
edit Cape Wrath
No journey to the northwest of the world would be complete without a trip to Cape Wrath. Simply jump on a ferry, board a white minibus and make sure that you keep your trap shut for half an hour as you're taken on a classic bumpy tour that you never even knew you had paid up for. Formerly a headland with rolling hills of heather filled with various wildlife species, come and enjoy 137 hectares worth of barren, burnt blanket bog all courtesy of recent landscaping by the MoD. The cliffs at Cape Wrath support a huge seabird colony of puffins, fulmars, razorbills, guillemonts and kittiwakes, except when the boys from NATO come along and drop 1000 Lb bombs on the little island just a few miles along the coast.
edit Smoo Cave
The world's largest hole (after Scourie) in the ground is Smoo Cave, named after the nearby Smoo Cave Hotel. It is located just outside of the town on the road to Caithness & Orkney and extends as far as Kinlochbervie. Here you will sometimes see Colin the Caveman who looks right prehistoric but is really the inner cave guide. The cave also doubles as the local wash facility as conventional baths and showers aint big enough.
edit The Ring of Sango
Similar to the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney and the Callanish Stones of the Western Isles, the Ring of Sango is a Neolithic stone circle found beside the tourist information centre at Sango Bay. The ring of stones is formed of different stones from around the Durness area and it is thought that the stone circle was constructed around 2500 BC, possibly to attract visitors to Durness when Stonehenge was hogging all the visitors down south. However, their ability to inscribe the names and ages of rocks that weren't even understood by 20th Century geologists ~100 years ago remains a fascinating mystery.
edit Ringo Starr Memorial Garden
Found next to the Hall this is more of a patchy pile of rubble than a garden. A lot more rocks have been added instead of plants because there are more rocks in Durness than anything else, making it more of a large memorial rockery really. It was named the Ringo Starr Memorial Garden after Ringo came back to visit his childhood holiday home of Durness. Here he was the frontman for a Beatles cover-band who performed live in the nearby village hall for the 1983 Durness Highland Gathering Dance.
The hall is also one of the focal points of the village. Occasionaly a large bouncy castle will be erected inside for use by the Durness Senior Citizens Party before their free lunch at the Smoo, although it is normally used for concerts when well renowned bands come to play here live (Runrig, Robbie Williams, Blue Ridge etc.) The Highland Gathering Dance which is held in the hall annually is also frequently visited by Rhythm & Reel, although if you're looking for something more exciting during the dance, why not try the back of the grassy embankment behind the hall.
edit Loch Meadaidh Monster
What would a Highland village be without it's own local legend? Believed to be a distant cousin of its southern counterpart the Loch Ness Monster, the more recent Loch Meadaidh Monster was first spotted in August 2003.
Only one person has ever seen this beast although thankfully photoraphic evidence was acquired at the site which was sufficient to convince the rest of the village that a monster does indeed live in the surrounding waters. Many explanations have been postulated over the years to describe what kind of animal the Loch Meadaidh Monster might be: many believe it to be a Kelpie in a half beast, half dog form although the only part of its body ever seen was the head which was that of a dog. A sonar sweep was conducted in 2003 to find the monster although results came back as negative. This was later found to be because surveyors accidentally surveyed Loch Duail by mistake which has since left a hole of £150,000 pounds in the Durness Development Group bank account.
edit Cape Wrath Challenge
The Cape Wrath Krypton Factor Challenge is renowned by athletes the world over as the toughest marathon in the world (especially the quiz section where Janet's team have the answers). Although a standard marathon is 42.195 km (26 miles 385 yards) long, the Cape Wrath Challenge is actually 346.562 km due to the trip to Thurso and the hills which create a hypotenuse and hence a longer distance to be run, also making this the world's longest marathon. To add a bit of real excitment to next years races it was decided to shoot the last four runners every day as they enter the last 300 metre zone
The challenge covers 6 days of non stop running where competitiors must run from Durness to Thurso, Caithness where they are taken back to Bettyhill by Iris' minibus, run down to Lairg, up towards Drunkenness, Laxford Bridge and back up to Durness. They must then cross the finishing line at Cape Wrath which they can only reach swimming by negotiating the Kyle of Durness. Some choose to swim although at low tide many runners are sucked into the quicksand and never seen again. Those that survive the swim must then dodge the bombs within the MOD bombing range, a feat which on average 13.6% runners manage to achieve. Others have recently discovered a shortcut along Sandwood Bay however. The first to turn on the light at the Cape Wrath lighthouse is then declared the winner in which they win £30 worth of Spar vouchers for Robbie's Shop (just enough for a bottle of water and an ice cream).
Additional events also take place around the Durness area during this week, including the Loch Eriboll half marathon and the Clo Mor cliff race in which competitors try and descend mainland Britain's tallest cliffs in record time. The current record is held by Moroccan athlete Aziz Mekouar who reached sea level from the top of Clo Mor in 6.4 seconds after an accidental fall.
Note to tourists: For those wishing to visit the Cape Wrath Lighthouse, please note that it has been loaned to the Scottish Lighthouse Museum in Fraserburgh (until 3rd January) where it is currently on temporary display.
edit John Lennon Piss Stop
Sutherland's most famous passing place, why not come and see where John Lennon and Ringo Starr once stopped for a slash after a long and tiring drive up from Liverpool? A small visitor centre tells a short story from March 7th 1972 when John Lennon needed to stop near Sarsgrum after driving past the public toilets at Scourie. All visitors may leave with a chip of the rock that John Lennon is thought to have urinated on, as long as they leave a donation in the roadside collection box.
D.C.C. Notice: Please do not piss on the John Lennon Piss Spot. Public toilets are available beside the village square just a few miles up the road.
edit Screen Machine
A mysterious blue van which magically transforms into a cinema that keeps appearing in the village square providing Durness with a roll of film portraying what happens in the world beyond Inverness. So amazing, it has inspired the world of cinema to film the eagerly awaited Transformers the Movie. However, it keeps disappearing all of the time. Much is the demand for the Screen Machine that it only lasts for a day or two before being stolen.
Northern Constabulary have had several reports of this large unmissable trailer in various small communities around the Highlands and Islands (last seen on St Kilda) but keep finding that the thieves have moved it again by the time the police arrive on the scene. Because of this, films can only be shown on a yearly basis. The Screen Machine aims to provide the community with a schedule full of fresh and exciting new groundbreaking hollywood and local cinema. However, taking into account the length of time it takes to get the lorry from Stornoway over to Durness, the schedule may appear slightly outdated (a decade or so maybe, give or take).
The schedule (up until 2010) for VILLAGE SQUARE, DURINE, DURNESS is as follows:
- Coming Soon
- Nov 2011 - Blade Runner - Some guy protects the world from a quartet of escaped cyborg bunnies. Stars Dougie & Chris (12a)
- June 2012 - New release: The Undertaker II. This is a gripping story of an unstable undertaker going around looking for his next victim/customer. Watch as he turns up at a road accident and turns on a poor defenceless bystander. some disturbing images. (18)
- Nov 2012 - Beverly Hills Cop - Slapstick cop comedy. Stars Eddie Murphy, Davie Inglis (PG)
- Mar 2013 - Fight Club III - The MacRaes go along to their local Oasis for a quick pint. Stars K. & E. MacRae (18)
- May 2013- Fight Club IV- Season Kicks of at Smoo Cave Hotel on any Friday night stars anybody who wants to be there (PG)
- Nov 2013 - The Cannonball Run - Some guy races around in a flash car. Stars Burt Reynolds and Oggy (PG)
- Mar 2014 - Phonebooth 2 - A local shopkeeper answers a phonecall at the shop and can't get off the phone for 48 hours. Stars Colin Farrell and Iris Mackay (15)
edit Durness Highland Gathering
Held on the last Friday of July (purposely a day when most people from Down South don't have the day off work), the Durness Highland Gathering is just a fancy name for the Durness Highland Games. The thousands of visitors that turn up to jump the campsite fence annually may appreciate the really big tossers (of the caber variety) that turn up from the States each year trying to steal some trophies. The main highlight however is the final Tug of War event where you can watch Don the Ka shout and swear at little girls trying their best to beat the Bomb Disposal Team.
The Durness Woman's Team still remain undefeated - possibly due to their massive weight advantage - despite various attempts from the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Team and the Uzbekistani Olympic Team. Its also interesting to visit the Clan Mackay Stand (actually a 7 foot long caravan) to hear the local painter expound on how he is that busy he cannot take a day off YOH!! Well, apart from every Monday for pricing and every Thursday to go to Tain for a tin of white paint.
- Hill Run - now just The Run due to lack of hill, quite an important piece of kit for this event.
- Hammer throw (male event)
- Hammer throw (female event) - recently downgraded to Chuck the Wellie after husband received serious cranial damage from claw hammer.
- Weight over the bar
- Soak the Parent - tilt a bucket of water using a large pole (i.e. long stick, not Remmie)
- Pillow fight (note: hidden rocks in pillow-cases are now banned - sorry lads)
- Beer Tent Fight (same as above, minus the pillow)
- Hee-Haw Donkey Racing
- Caber tossing - not for women as proven recently with the current women's record being around 6 o'clock behind the starting position.
- last dance of the year in the hall.
Durness Football Club plays in the Cocoa Mountain North West Sutherland FA Premier League. Nobody knows their relative standard due to the lack of pyramid structure in Scottish football, but you'd probably put a wager on the Auchterarder Primary School XI should they face them at any given time. Their ground is called Shore Park which meets stringent SFL stadium criteria in that it has changing rooms. It currently has an official capacity of fifty-two cars although this should go up to 62,000 seated should the Durness 2020 Olympic bid (see below) be a success.
edit 2020 Olympic Games
After rising attendances at the popular Durness Highland Gathering and being inspired by a fictional town called Stoneybridge after watching an ‘Absolutely’ DVD box-set, the reformed ‘Durness Highland Gathering & Olympic Committee’ decided in 2011 that they should push forward with a formal bid to host the Olympic Games in 2020 after getting a loan from Robbie Mackay in return for a new hotel and a place in the Men's 100m finals.
Still not happy at being outshone by the Braemar Highland Games which even has a proper stand and the Queen in attendace, the aim of the project was to attract tourists other than the usual brigade from Germany, France and the Netherlands and to use it as an excuse to open some more B&Bs, apply for a 62,000 seater multi-purpose stadium at Shore Park and most importantly, get to walk about the place feeling cool with a rosette saying ‘Official’ on it for a few weeks. The submitted dossier claims that several facilities are already in place:
- Geodh Smoo / Kyle of Durness - Rowing / kayaking events
- Smoo Cave (waterfall) - Diving
- Sango Bay - Beach volleyball
- Sango Sands Oasis - Boxing
- Balnakeil Craft Village - Olympic village
- Sheep Racing - Watch this unique sporting spectacle, place your bets and cheer your favourite down the home straight as they get chased by Keoldale's finest wolves. Truly hysterical, complete with jockeys urging their mounts down the 2 mile course. Also watch the 3 mile long tourist tailback as the local crofters get their revenge on the Campervan Clan!
- The Guinness shampoo - See how long you can stay in the pub talking shite without the "Stoned Mason" washing your hair in Ireland's finest ale.
- "Grab The Whisker" - NB only works for tourists - Talk to Don, buy him a drink, claim you were once based in Germany, make your excuses to get away from him, and then time how long he shakes your hand for. Current record is 47 hours.
- Spoons Championship - Try and outplay Don at the spoons even though a chimpanzee could win at this.
- Fuller Face Melt- Watch him guzzle 178 pints in 3 mins. Wait 15 mins and then watch as his face turns into a melted wellie.
- Fashin - Why not enjoy a day in the pissing rain up at Loch Meadhaidh to catch some lovely poisoned trout. Although the minnows in Smoo Cave are more productive, fishermen claim to have caught giant fish with three eyes which was the inspiration for Blinkey the Fish out of the Simpsons. If interested contact Jock or Martin who have stolen the fishing rights who will look forward to taking some of your money at the expense of local tourism.
- Point-to-Point Horse Faeces Smear - Popular winter spectator sport, in which local professional tramps stagger from farm to farm, smearing equine manure on their bodies in an attempt to keep warm. Despite the fact that a presiding council of adjudicators has existed since at least the late 19th century, the rules remain unclear. In fact, in the decades-old history of the sport, no-one has ever been declared winner. It is, however, fucking funny to watch.
- Len spotting - This is really good fun. Follow the silly cockney accent until you catch sight of the wicked witch of the west. Having remembered to take your darts with you, you then purchase a licence from said witch and on receipt of it you throw darts at Len creating spots all over him. if a perfect circle is created on his backside the person making the final spot in the circle is declared the winner. If no complete circle is formed there are an additional 30 minutes of play at the end of which there are three fee throws per player. Nearest to the middle of the circle wins. There have only ever been three replays needed in the fifteen years of the official competion rules being introduced*
edit Local Songs
What Do You Do in the Winter?
- What do you do in the winter?
- You mean you stay open all year!
- How do you cope with the winter?
- Life cannot be easy up here.
- The winter is just like the summer:
- The mountains stay in the same place,
- The tides still function as normal,
- The dogs still find cats they can chase.
- What do you do in the winter?
- Doesn't the whole county close down?
- How do you cope with the winter
- Without wearing a permanent frown?
- The winter is just like the summer:
- The shops and the pubs and the beach,
- The school and the doctor stay open
- And teachers continue to teach.
- What do you do in the winter?
- How can you possibly live and
- How do you cope with the winter
- When snow covers all of the land?
- The winter is just like the summer:
- It can rain, it can blow, it can shine.
- Sometimes the weather's unpleasant,
- And sometimes the weather's divine.
- What do you do in the winter
- When the days are so dark and so bleak?
- How do you cope with the winter
- For week upon week upon week?
- The winter is just like the summer:
- There's not so much light, that is true,
- But when the sun shines in the winter,
- No tourists are spoiling the view.
- copyright: the bookshop "ride 'em" cowboy.
edit Local odes
edit An Ode to the Smoo
- Some go to the Oasis,
- And others like the Smoo,
- And some will head off to the Cape,
- Who dinna have a clue.
- But we'll head up to Lerinmore,
- A kind lift up from Hugh,
- Ten secs through the bloody door,
- We'll Get Neil's stout shampoo.
- And we'll stay here the whole night long,
- In the pub that's best renowned,
- Cause at least it doesn't close for lunch,
- And's open all year round.
- So here's to Hugh & Frances
- And here's to their success
- For making the Smoo Cave Hotel
- The best pub in Durness!
edit Ode to the Raggie
- In the township of Durness theres quite a furore,
- For down at the Spar the Raggie's no more,
- They have beans, they have bacon, and many things in a baggie,
- They have Scot Ads and Bratachs but no sign of the Raggie.
- Maggie and Morag were shocked and it moved them to tears,
- They had been buying the Raggie for God knows how many years,
- They were really upset and all in a futeur,
- When John Miller suggested to get on to a computer.
- What good would that do they cried in pain,
- We like to read the news from Durness to Tain,
- Get on to uncyclopedia Miller then said,
- I read it every night before I go to my bed.
- Maggie & Morag hastened along to the community house,
- And nervously prodded and poked at the mouse,
- When the website came up they were just mesmerised,
- At the news and the gossip in front of their eyes.
- There were plenty attractions to keep them amused
- What with Gay Bars and Nightclubs they were really confused
- They asked Johnny Carbreck to show them the way
- He said 'Don't go on that site they're all effing gray'
- In the Sales & Wants ads the variety was great
- You could find anything from viagra to a mate
- Look at the muscles on him said Morag to Maggie
- You would never find pictures like this in the Raggie
- The pet lambs are hungry and the chores aren't done
- But Morag and Maggie have never had such fun
- Now they are hooked with their exciting new hobby
- It's all down to the fact that there's no Raggie from Robbie.