MOST weeks the arrival of the fish van from Aberfeldy qualifies as excitement in Dull. But yesterday the tiny hamlet in Highland Perthshire was abuzz with anticipation, as details emerged of a proposed international alliance with the American town of … Boring.
The plan to forge formal links between the two communities saddled with the world’s least inspiring names was suggested by Perthshire resident Elizabeth Leighton after she stumbled upon the Oregon town of Boring during a cycling holiday.
Her proposal was put before Dull and Weem community council, which represents the 40-strong population, and an approach to establish formal cultural and friendship links between the two communities is now being pursued.
Thomas Pringle, the secretary of the community council, said yesterday that it was fantastic news. “It’s certainly the talk of Dull. I think most of the folk who know about it are more amused about the idea than anything else,” he said.
“And I’m not quite sure what the reaction will be from drivers if we put up a sign saying ‘Dull twinned with Boring’ when they drive through the village. Most of the cars stop already when they just see the Dull sign.”
Mr Pringle, who works in the oil and gas industry, insisted that, despite its name, Dull has its moments. “We have been known in the past to have some quite nice parties,” he said. “I belong to Aberfeldy and my wife and I moved out here about 18 years ago and we love staying here.
“Dull may be small, but it has a lot of history. The village was supposedly set up by one of the abbots of Iona. There is a suggestion that the monks who established St Andrews originally started here before going on to Dunkeld and then St Andrews.”
He continued: “There’s maybe only a population of about 40 at the moment, but there are two houses being built across the road from me, so it’s expanding. But we don’t have a pub or a shop, although the farmhouse, one of the oldest buildings, used to be an inn at one time.
“We have a fish van that comes on Thursday … and that’s it.”
The idea of establishing some sort of link with Boring has already been discussed at a meeting of the community council.
Mr Pringle said: “The suggestion is either twinning with the Boring or forming some sort of association. I have been in touch with Perth and Kinross council to ask how we got about either of these things.
“We haven’t done this before. Nobody has asked to twin with us before, ever.
“But it’s all quite strange, because this last wee while we have had a couple of approaches, including one asking about using Dull for an advert.”
Jim Hart, a journalist with Boring’s newspaper, the Sandy Post, has written to the community council asking for members’ ideas about sharing “cultures, lifestyles and goals”. He says in his letter: “If it begins, the dialogue between Dull and Boring would not be restricted to these topics. They are just ideas to begin thinking.
“One of the things I am sure we share with your community is the weather,” he went on. W”e get a lot of rain and sometimes snow every year.”
Mr Hart concludes: “For all the years we have lived in Boring, we have had to make jokes about living in Boring. I imagine you have had the same unique opportunity to make something so Dull seem like a good place to live.
“So I really think we could have some fun while sharing something so Dull and Boring.”
A spokeswoman for VisitScotland welcomed the Dull and Boring alliance. She said: “This story confirms what research from our visitors to Scotland already tells us – that Scotland is world famous for its great sense of humour and our ability to laugh at ourselves.
“With a quick glance at the wealth of things to see and do in Perthshire, it would seem ‘Dull’ is a misnomer and a classic case of Scots being self-deprecating.”
Population: Around 40 to 60
Date of origin: 8th century
Location: Sited on the north side of the Tay valley near Aberfeldy
History: The church, now unused, stands on the site of an ancient monastery founded by St Adomnan, the abbot of Iona who died in 704.
Points of interest: Several early Christian cross–slabs dating to the 7th or 8th century were found in the parish graveyard. A slab carved with stylised warriors in the Pictish style is displayed in the Museum of Scotland.
Population: Around 13,000
Date of origin: 1903
Location: Situated in Clackamas County in Oregon, 22 miles south–east of Portland
History: Named after William H Boring, a Union veteran of the American Civil War who settled in the area after the war ended. The town once boasted it was the “strawberry capital of the West”.
Points of interest: Mountain View golf course. Boring Square Garden Centre.