Pennan had its moment on the world's stage in 1983, after it was chosen as one of a number of beautiful locations used in the hit film Local Hero, which told the story of a rich Americal oil company's efforts to buy a small Scottish town - named Ferness in the film. I watched the film again just the other day for the first time in years, and it was still as good as ever - a little dated maybe, but still full of charm and a mischievous humour.
One of the pivotal features of the film was the local telephone kiosk; this was in the days before mobile phones, and much was made of the main character's attempts to cobble together a huge amount of coins in order to phone his boss back in Texas. The actual kiosk was not used in the film, being in poor condition, so a mockup was made. However, the real kiosk is still there, although not in quite the same location, and many people have turned up there to have their photograph taken next to it. Anyone visiting Pennan and hoping to find the beautifully located church which featured in the film will be disappointed: this was filmed in another location entirely, on the west coast. Also, you will not be able to visit the film's hotel for a drink; a normal house was used for the exterior scenes of the hotel in the film, although there is an inn in the village.
Pennan is a bright, whitewashed little village nestling precariously at the base of a cliff, looking rather vulnerable to the often stormy seas which come crashing onto the pebble beach, and accessed by a narrow road leading down to the village's only street. The little harbour is mostly used for leisure purposes nowadays, with just a couple of fishing boats. The village is not just in danger from the sea; in 2007 there was a mudslide which damaged some of the buildings including the village hall.
Map of the area.