Living in Skerry, Sutherland, Scotland
Written by Anonymous Visitor and posted in Scotland

Doubtless you have never heard of the remote crofting settlement of Skerray, very few people have.

Hidden on a looping side road on the far north coast of Scotland, roughly halfway between Tongue and Bettyhill it is, at first glance, a charming picturesque crofting village located next to the beautiful vista of Torrisdale Bay. It looks like an idyllic location for a holiday but woe-betide you when you meet the residents.

There are three kinds of people in Skerray; angry unfriendly crofters, angry unfriendly retirees and angry unfriendly “artists” (in Skerray the term “artist” is primarily used as a euphemism for “bored menopausal housewife”).

It boasts a post office and ‘shop’, where one can buy cans of apple tango, stamps, hippie arts & crafts cack and NOTHING ELSE; no bread, no milk, no tourist maps, but if you want a hand-carved model of a boat dipped in three kinds of purple glitter and painted with wobbly spirals, then you’re in for a treat.

Driving through Skerray is best confined to the daytime, even then it isn’t recommended. The closure of the police stations at Tongue and Bettyhill have effectively decriminalised drink-driving in the area as evidenced by the comically strong smell of alcohol wafting forth from the pick-up trucks and Range Rovers that habitually swerve and screech about the place safe in the knowledge that the nearest police are nearly two hour’s drive away. At night the roads are like Mad Max, only with 1980s zip-up cardigans instead of leather.

It is the people who really make Skerray the hellhole it is though. In stark contrast to the friendly folk who live across the river in Bettyhill, the people of Skerray are insular, small-minded and suspicious of anyone outside their own tragically denuded gene pool.

Speaking of the gene-pool, or gene-cup, in this case. Skerray is home to a level of inbreeding that makes the Forest of Dean seem almost cosmopolitan by comparison. People in urban areas seem to think that the occupants of villages like this engage in brother-sister matings, I can tell you from experience that this is not the case. In Skerray, at least, the incest is overwhelmingly of the uncle-niece variety and it is all too common for a 13 or 14 year-old girl to suddenly announce that she will be “staying with relatives down south” for a year, eventually returning with stretch marks and a sadness in her eye that never quite fades.

Visiting Skerray in the summer will inevitably bring you into contact with local “characters” like the feckless simpleton who [does a job we can’t mention due to possibly being identified]. This gaunt corned-beef skinned dullard may be seen shambling about the village in his filthy overalls and should, on no account, be engaged in conversation unless you wish to be aggressively stalked for the rest of your holiday.

Leaving your car you may wish to explore the area and get to meet some of the vicious unrestrained collies that inhabit its environs. Please be aware that, while it is considered perfectly acceptable for the local collies to roam the village at leisure attacking anyone or anything they wish, any non-local dog will be shot on sight, irrespective of whether it was worrying sheep or not. So it’s probably best to leave Rover at home.

According to local legend the settlement of Skerray was formed during the clearances when people evicted from the Strathnaver region headed north to form the new village of Bettyhill and decided to use their displacement as an opportunity to cast out all the people in their community that no-one could stand, thus the arseholes were sent across the Naver to found Skerray and Bettyhill went on to become one of the most famously friendly and welcoming tourist destinations in the Highlands.

By all means visit Skerray, but fill your tank in Bettyhill or Tongue, keep your windows closed, keep moving and DON’T FEED THE LOCALS!

  • kilquhan

    As an occasional visitor to Skerray since my childhood in the 1960s, your description of the people is inexplicably vicious. I am drawn back to Skerray in my mind far more often than I can manage to visit, and that is because of the people as much as the place.

    No place nor group of people is perfect, and I expect as much in the way of flawed humanity there as I do of myself, another flawed human.

    Please consider where your bitterness comes from, and look for other, more constructive ways to help yourself recover from what is hurting you.

  • Calum Mackay

    Lived up there most of my life, from Melness but lived in Skerray for a time and can count many of it’s inhabitants, both old local families and those who have found a new home having moved from further afield as being among my close friends. A place with a real mix of people ideas and lifestyles.
    Most folk in Skerray are friendly weather your up to stay or just passing through. This is no secret and the nature of the place and it’s people have kept many holidaymakers coming back again and again over the years. Definitely more to this story, obviously an axe to grind. Skerray like all communities the world over has it’s arseholes, but by and large folk there are fine and look after each other. I doubt you were there on holiday, suggestions have been made as to the identity of the poster, not someone I know but from what I hear, your conduct was less than fine and it’s no surprise you had to go, is this recurring theme in your life? In that case, it ain’t the place that has the problem.

  • jack

    as a family coming to skerray on holidays for most of my life and my garand kids are coming up now you must be a professionl arse hole I am glad you booted out this great place

  • colin macdonald

    I know Skerray a bit, stayed there a few times and this doesn’t ring true.

  • Isabella C

    I live in Skerray and am very offended by this.

    • Calum Mackay

      That’ll teach em!

  • Skerray

    Oh speaks!!..Lets put this right!
    This silly man used to live here and was moved from skerray for being hostile and violent!
    He knows mostly nothing of what he is trying to say!
    It’s just a shame he has something against people owning a well behaved “Cog”..sorry, I meant Dog!

    • mary brown

      get your facts right! he was NOT moved for the reasons you say. his neighbour beat him up. he is not a violent chap quite the reverse! he asked for a transfer.

  • Ellis

    No wonder you made yourself anonymous. This is slander

  • Graham Payne

    Total nonsense!! I’m surprised this has been allowed to be published is so defamatory. The only truth about the overall flavour of this report is that the author is a complete Buffoon!
    I was taught that if you haven’t got anything good to say then say nothing. One person’s view, or experience, could, as in this case, be totally miss representing.
    I’ve lived here for over 11 years, after moving from England, and have passed through Skerray many times and have only experienced it’s beautiful landscapes and scenery and the pleasure of the residents. Perhaps if you were to stay a bit longer and get to know the locals properly you may have a different opinion. Just passing through and getting in the way, looking down your nose at folk will have a alternative experience.

  • David Kelso

    What a load of crap.Its a lovely place.Whoever wrote this really needs to get a grip!

  • Heather

    This person must be ashamed of what he has written or has something to hide…… Why else would he be Anonymous. .

  • Michaela

    That’s some swan song about skerray whoever you are !!