It’s not a stunning piece of Georgian architecture or a centuries-old fisher cottage that can lay claim to being Pennan’s most famous building. That title goes to a less conventional structure – a traditional red telephone box.
The payphone was granted listed building status and Pennan was catapulted into the spotlight after it was used as the backdrop to Bill Forsyth’s 1980s movie blockbuster, Local Hero. Everyone who comes to visit makes a call from the iconic phone box where oil executive Mac would connect to his Texas HQ, and drop his coins in when he heard the pips!
It’s possible to enjoy a drink and some food at The Pennan Inn which also featured in the film. However, fans may be a little confused about the interior as scenes in the bar were actually filmed at The Ship Inn along the coast at Banff.
It’s easy to see why Mac was so overcome by Pennan – a rugged yet enduring village made up of a few dozen houses on a single street. As with most other villages on The Banffshire Coast, the collection of colourful houses are all built gable-end to the sea to protect them from the elements. While Pennan is nothing short of idyllic on a summer’s day, it is equally captivating during winter storms when waves crash onto the pebble beach.
There is an attractive little harbour and a beach which is an excellent spot for watching the wildlife.The dolphins didn’t make an appearance in Local Hero, but they are certainly not camera shy in this part of the world. Pennan is something of a hot spot for sightings of the dolphins, while common and grey seals can often be found lounging on rocks to the east of the village.
Cullykhan Bay lies to the west of Pennan, along with the Iron Age Fort Fiddes - the site of a gun emplacement from the Napoleonic Wars. It’s just a short stroll from here to the picture-perfect fishing village of Crovie.