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Pennan is located in Aberdeen
Location within Aberdeenshire
OS grid referenceNJ845655
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtAB43
Dialling code01346
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°40′44″N 2°15′40″W / 57.679°N 2.261°W / 57.679; -2.261Coordinates: 57°40′44″N 2°15′40″W / 57.679°N 2.261°W / 57.679; -2.261

Pennan (Scots: Peenan)[1] is a small village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland[2] consisting of a small harbour and a single row of homes, including a hotel. It is on the north-facing coast and is about one hour's drive from Aberdeen.


The name Pennan was recorded in 1587 as Pennand.[3] It is possibly derived from the Brittonic element *pen meaning "head, end, promontory" (Welsh pen).[3][4] However, there is no certain instance of this element north of the Antonine Wall.[3]

Area history[edit]

Pennan portrayed the fictional village of Ferness in Local Hero — the red telephone box is visible
Aerial view of Pennan village

Pennan seems to have come into existence as a fishing village in the 18th century. Until the 1930s, the population of the village seems to have come under three main surnames - Watt, Gatt and West. The people of Pennan were dependent on the sea. Most families had small boats for their own personal use. Where the men would catch the fish, it was usually down to the women and children to try to sell it to clients in the country. In the last 50 years, most of the native families have moved out and most of the houses have been bought as holiday homes.

Pennan became famous in the 1980s for being used as one of the main locations for the film Local Hero, and representing the fictional village of Ferness. Film enthusiasts have come from all over the world to make a phone call in the red telephone box which featured in the film. The phone box was in fact originally put there only as a prop for the film, and then removed, but as a result of public demand a genuine telephone box was installed a few metres from the original spot (+44 (0)1346 6210), and has been a listed building since 1989.[5] Landslips, especially one in 2007, have been damaging the village.[6] In 2009 a 25-foot crack appeared on the cliff side, sparking calls for the village to be evacuated.

This part of Aberdeenshire was inhabited by prehistoric peoples since at least the Bronze Age. One of the most ancient extant monuments is the long barrow at Longman Hill.[7]


  1. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary
  2. ^ UK Ordnance Survey, 2004
  3. ^ a b c Hall, Mark A; Driscoll, Stephen T; Geddess, Jane (11 November 2010). Pictish Progress: New Studies on Northern Britain in the Early Middle Ages. Brill. p. 93. ISBN 9789004188013. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  4. ^ Watson, Adam (2013). Place names in much of north-east Scotland. Paragon Publishing. p. 327. ISBN 9781782220695. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  5. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Pennan, Telephone Kiosk, Opposite Pennan Inn  (Category C) (LB2760)". Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^ C.M.Hogan, 2008


  • United Kingdom Ordnance Survey Map (2004) Landranger, 1:50000 scale
  • C.Michael Hogan (2008) Longman Hill, Modern Antiquarian [1]

External links[edit]