‘Dummy Jim’ comes to Deeside and Donside....


Deeside and Donsiders will have the chance to see a film based on the life and exploits of a remarkable Aberdeenshire man.

Woodend Barn and Lonach Hall will each show ‘Dummy Jim,’ which tells the story of a deaf mute man from Inverallochy near Fraserburgh who cycled alone to the Arctic Circle.

Now director Matt Hulse’s film, which was nominated for the Michael Powell Award at last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival, is set to begin a tour of Scotland with the support of Film Hub Scotland and the Saltire Society.

The film is the story of James Duthie, a profoundly deaf man who cycled a distance of more than 3000 miles from his home to the Arctic Circle and back, at the start of the 1950s.

Hulse’s movie was a 12-year project, begun after his mother found a copy of Duthie’s book about the adventure, entitled ‘I Cycled Into The Arctic Circle,’ in a charity shop on the island of Uist.

The Edinburgh film-maker said the Christmas gift he received with a note reading “do not feel obliged to do anything with this book,” perfectly suited his fondness for “mavericks and eccentrics.”

Inside the package was a small, self-published journal simply entitled ‘I Cycled Into The Arctic Circle, by one James Duthie, a deaf factory worker.’

Hulse, who had previously made a number of short films, was immediately intrigued by the quirky nature of the book and its story of how Duthie embarked on a solo cycling trip from his home in a fishing village to the Arctic Circle – 3000 miles away – half a century earlier.

He was said to have left with just a handful of spare clothes, a simple map and a basic tent.

Named after Duthie’s nickname among the locals, the film was awarded a small amount of development funding from the Scottish Arts Council more than a decade ago, but Hulse struggled to raise enough cash to get it off the ground, scrapped his original screenplay and went back to the drawing board.

The film was a labour of love, part feature/part documentary – which Husle says was made for just £35,000.

Dummy Jim takes in dates in Banchory’s Woodend Barn today (Friday) at 7.30pm and next Tuesday (July 15) it will be shown at Lonach Hall, Strathdon.