I grew up in Thornhill, a tiny Scottish village so small that the main street is called Main Street.

Nestled in the Trossachs, it’s the type of place where people push cuttings through the front door when you are mentioned in the local newspaper for winning vouchers at Book Day Bingo. Winning bingo aged eight may have taken no skill, but in Thornhill, residents champion the community.

In Thornhill, everyone knows your name and it is near impossible to move from your car to the front door without bumping into someone on their way home from "The Shop" – the hub of the village. Whether your visit is for a pint of milk, a packet of chicken noodle soup or a nugget of gossip, for many it is the goal of a daily journey. You can’t keep your head down like you can in a city, and it’s this steady stream of chat that provides the soundtrack which quietly entwines everyone into a miscelleanous network of support.

The National:

Community became a buzzword during the pandemic, but for residents of villages like mine, not much actually changed. People in Thornhill had been lending a hand years before Covid hit, and I can only imagine they will continue to do so when the pandemic is eventually behind us.


In the depths of lockdown, the only noticeable transformation was that the normally quiet streets came alive every day at 2:30pm as people descended to the pavements for their state-sanctioned post-lunch stroll. With options limited by the size of the village, we all flocked like – and frequently with – sheep to the same country lane, stopping every three minutes to compare and repeat various Covid related anecdotes. By the end of the excursion, you had learned which anecdote performed best; it was simply a case of remembering who you had told.

The National:

While it may have only a tiny percentage of the population of towns and cities, if you leave your house you are almost guaranteed to stop for a quick chat and at the very least exhange a smile and a hello. Some people think that small villages can make people less accepting, however in my experience such places can also breed open-mindedness. Within the boundary of four streets, there is literally no room for petty fueds or drama – people simply have to get on.

Now living in a big city, I can’t deny I enjoy the proximity of my local "big Tesco’s" which is less than five-minutes from my flat, and the fact that if I wish, I can choose to keep my head down. All the same, it’s nice to know that I can always return to a place where people seem genuinely pleased to see you when you wander down the street.

The National: The helicopter accommodation at Mains Farm WigWamsThe helicopter accommodation at Mains Farm WigWams

Want to visit Thornhill?

Where to stay: Mains Farm WigWams

When to visit: In the summer, when the nights are long

What to do: Apart from the obvious trip to "The Shop", a visit to the Lion and Unicorn for a great pub meal is a MUST. Outside the village, you have easy access to hills and walks, mountain bike trails, Blair Drummond safari park, Loch Lomond… the list goes on.