DROPPING down through the Tay Forest Park en route to Aberfeldy, you encounter a roadside sign that makes you think twice. It’s pointing the way to the tiny Scottish village of Dull.
Yes, that’s right. DULL.
Now you can drive on past with a wry grin and a shake of the head. More likely, like me, you’re all but compelled to take the turn to see if the place lives up to its reputation.
It’s aptly twinned with the town of Boring in Oregon, the road sign has already informed you. A dive into Google reveals it also has ties with Bland in Australia.
So you set off up the narrow one-track road, along which passing places are rare delights, and pray that nothing comes in the other direction.
There are some stylishly smart houses which must be worth a few bob, even with such a Dull address. There’s a childrens playground off to the right.
The school has apparently long closed and there’s a parish church which has seen better days but which can trace its roots back to the seventh century when a monastery stood here.
And that’s about it.
But just when you reckon Dull lives up to its name, there’s a surprise. Either planned as an ironic statement or a clever marketing ploy, Dull is home to an adventure activities outfit.
Highland Safaris offers all manner of treks by off-road vehicles, on foot, or even in boats on Loch Tay. Dull it isn’t. But in Dull it most certainly is.
So what’s with the name?
It’s thought Dull might be Pictish in origin, deriving from the word ‘Dol’ meaning water meadow, or the Gaelic ‘Dail’ meaning meadow.
Wikipedia reveals that one Elizabeth Leighton of nearby Aberfeldy came up with the plan to twin with Boring after she passed through the Oregon town on her travels.
Not wanting to be left out, no doubt, Bland – it’s in New South Wales, Australia – joined the party in 2013, as part of The League of Extraordinary Communities.
Doesn’t trip off the tongue, does it? Perhaps that’s why it popularly became dubbed ‘The Trinity of Tedium’.
Not so dull now, eh? Just don’t tell the SEO guys …