Highlands & Islands

Because it's happy: Clues to why Inverness is so cheery

Inverness is the happiest place in Scotland and the second happiest in the UK, according to a survey published this week by a property website. But what is it that brings so much cheer to the city? Resident Colin Marr and Rowan Campbell, an organiser of the city's Happyness Comedy Festival, suggest some answers.

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Colin Marr moved to Inverness from Edinburgh 17 years ago with a plan to stay for only three years. The director of the city's Eden Court Theatre said: "There is certainly something about the place that keeps me here. The schools are great. The people are just genuinely friendly. They don't interfere but they look out for you. There's a real sense of community."

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"It might be hard to believe, but the climate is brilliant," said Marr. "I can get on my bicycle and be in the countryside in five minutes even though I live right in the middle of the city. The countryside is a big part of it."

The theatre boss added: "And we are right on the doorstep of Loch Ness."

The results of the survey have come as Eden Court hosts its annual Happyness Comedy Festival. Mr Marr said: "Bill Bailey come up with the name for our comedy festival."

Image copyright Steve Ullathorne

This year's festival acts include Patrick Kielty, Jason Byrne, Sean Hughes, Bec Hill (above) and Aisling Bea. Rowan Campbell, of organisers the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, said: "Inverness always struck us as a happy-go-lucky kind of place.

"We really thought it was a prime spot for the development of comedy. There is so much natural beauty and natural humour so having a comedy festival felt a bit like a no brainer."

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