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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 07:56 GMT
Teen 24: Living in a remote village
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Teenagers have been given the chance to talk about issues affecting them in a series of special reports on BBC News 24.

Karen, 16, lives in a remote village in Scotland - 60 miles from the nearest leisure centre and 100 miles from the nearest cinema.

This is her story.


Karen says she sometimes feels she has missed out

I come from a small town in Scotland. It is called Kinlochbervie and is about 100 miles north-west of Inverness.

The population here is about 400 and there are only 68 pupils in my school.

In fact, in most of my classes there are only about three or four people. The kids who come to school travel from a 40 mile radius. So as you can imagine - it is pretty remote.

There is not a lot to do and the nearest cinema is 100 miles away. Although sometimes a travelling cinema does roll into our village.

The nearest leisure centre is 60 miles from here. There are no high street shops - or even a high street. Travelling can be difficult and you really need a car.

Many teenagers in rural England are struggling to get education and training. (Source: Institute for Public Policy Research, August 2006)
Rural tourism supports around 380,000 jobs in England (Source: Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Last year 1,256 people died on rural UK roads (Department for Transport, September 2007)
Nearly a third of those living in urban areas felt they were at risk from crime, compared to 23% in rural areas(YouGov, September 2007)
There are not many public transport facilities. We don't have a hospital here and if there is an accident either the air ambulance or the coastguard has to help.

It kind of annoys me when I hear teenagers from cities saying they've got nothing to do. Because here there really is nothing to do.

Kids mostly spend their time at each others houses or hanging about.

There's no crime here, and even if there was it would be found out in minutes - because everyone knows everyone else.

And that's the same for gossip. If you fancy a guy, within a day the whole school - or even the whole village - will know.

Once I finish my education I will have to leave Kinlochbervie.

I don't really want to go but will have to in order to find work.

I do love living here but sometimes I feel like I have missed out.

Follow the link below to read stories from previous weeks:

Your comments:

When I was Teenager we really did have nothing to do, or possess, because that was just after the end of World War II. My only way out was a birthday present of a second-hand bicycle. That bike WAS my freedom. My friends also had old-ish bikes - there was no chance of any new ones, they were not being made! - and gradually we rode further and further. Quite often as many as 130 miles in a day to see the Lake District, and occasionally up into Scotland via Carter Bar.

If all these teenagers with 'nothing' to do had a bicycle, they too would find out what 'freedom' was. BUT you also had to have self-reliance, and the confidence to ride out of sight of all that was familiar to you. Good Luck to all those 'fed-up' teenagers, life gets tougher as you get older! Take care !
B W Moore, Stockton on Tees

Ah bliss, the further away from near-town life and nose to tail traffic jams the better. Village life is too noisy for me, so the sooner I can live remote the better!
Brian, Lancashire

I know the feeling. I spent a few weeks with some family up in a remote Cumbria village 30 miles from the nearest medium size town, 50 miles from the nearest large town or city. It was so boring I could never live there. It makes you appreciate what you have in large urban areas so much more.
Christian, Blackpool, Lancashire

Top report, well done. I have been through Kinlochbervie twice, and have always wondered what people's lives must be like in these places. It's a beautiful place but I can imagine as a teenager it could be at times tough existence. Cities are sometimes not always as good as they're cracked up to be. And maybe one day I can retire there.
Shaun, Lancashire

I live on the outskirts of Glasgow now. Similar to Karen, I had to leave the village where I grew up to study and then find work.

The emphasis is always on ways to keep children in inner cities out of trouble and give them something to do. Surely we should be providing more facilities in rural areas to encourage children to experiment with hobbies and interests. It really is a sheltered life living in a rural area and sometimes I wonder if I was fully prepared for the big wide world when I left mine.
Dolly, Glasgow

I come from a very similar background living in the highlands until the age of 17. At the time I resented the fact of living in such a remote area but with hindsight I wouldn't change my upbringing.

It's so much safer with no gangs the availability of such things as drugs are almost nonexistent or certainly restricted. I feel that children are given the freedom and independence from an earlier age and have a vast countryside to explore which can only be a good thing. I think even though miles away from any city, if you don't have it you don't miss it. I would most definitely move back to the area to bring up a family the only issue being employment as this is limited.
Amanda, Manchester

I lived in villages on the Western Isles (Barvas & Shawbost) as a child back in the 1980s.

The highlight of the week was a shopping trip into Stornoway which was the only place on Lewis which had street lighting at the time. TV reception was awful. You'd have power cuts for 20 days a year due to bad weather. One bus to town a day - at 7am - and one bus back from town - at 6pm. No playing outside on Sundays (Sabbath day and all that). In the winter, the sunrise was about 9am and sunset was 3pm. And the average wind speed was 35mph or more

I hated it. All leisure activities involved drinking HUGE amounts of alcohol and I think in retrospect it was the worst place you could ever bring up children over the age of 8 or so.

It really hasn't changed in the intervening years - except they now have some more street lighting outside the main town.
John, Leicester

We are not quite so bad, but certainly know what you mean, being 50 miles to the nearest cinema etc. However, due to the internet, I am now running a very well going international business from here. Perhaps the internet, in time, will turn this around. The thing I miss most is a McDonalds.
Jim Whitelaw, Gardenstown, Scotland


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