The streets are wide and often deserted, but the hospitality in this small town is huge. Everywhere I went the locals greeted me with a ready smile and schoolchildren posed like …. well stars actually, often giddy from their antics.
Along the main street and surrounds you’ll find reminders of what a small town Sutherland is and what keeps the economy ticking over apart from sheep farming.
Then, in an unkempt graveyard on the outskirts of the town, more reminders – this time of those from another land who died on foreign soil more than a century ago.
Here and there among the dusty cottages and plots I found splashes of pretty and an abundance of roses that grow surprisingly well here and with minimum effort I’m told. “They like the cold”, more than one resident told me. A word of caution if you intend on experiencing Sutherland yourself: Pack warm clothes aplenty, wind down the pace a notch or thee and don’t expect to find much open from midday on a Saturday through to Monday morning, apart from the restaurants. Sutherland is that much of a sleepy hollow.
And if you run out of petrol don’t try and fill up in a hurry on a Sunday for a quick escape back to the city. You’ll face a long wait until the church service is over and the proprietor ambles home, Bible under his arm, changes out of his suit and shiny shoes and takes a leisurely stroll across the dirt road from his house to the petrol station to attend to the line of waiting cars. One by one. All on his own. Such is small town life 🙂