The Bridge Hotel
Dunrobin St, Helmsdale, KW8 6JA, gb
More about Helmsdale
Travel Tips for Helmsdale
Why Bannockburn in the Highlands?
When we first saw the pub 'Bannockburn Inn' we both remarked almost together 'What's this Bannockburn this far North?' We were puzzled - Why name a pub Bannockburn so far from this historic place near Stirling? Well the answer did come eventually during a chance meeting with a local at the Belgrave Hotel. He told us of a certain young man, named Tom Mackay, in the late 1800's had moved here from his home in the south to set up a business here in Helmsdale. Mackay's Grandson, Donald Polson, had also been the proprietor of the Inn for twenty five years. In recognition of his happy time here he was elected Chieftan of the Helmsdale Highland Games in 2001. Donald presented Helmsdale with 'the Bannockburn Cup' for the best local heavyweight athlete at the games. So not only an Inn but a cup as well with the grand old name of Bannockburn - I do love when a puzzle is solved.
a quiet little churchyard
Loth Church is off the main road, south of Helmsdale. The church was built by the Duke of Sutherland for the people of the area. It is fairly typical of the churches of this part of the country- grey and plain.
Beside it is a lovely little churchyard, very green and surrounded by trees. I was looking for ancestors but only found one gravestone of the name I wanted. Not my branch though.
I was on the ancestral trail when I came to a road pointing to Glen Loth. Just near the turn off on the other side of the road was a broch.
The track to the glen passed over a bridge with a river flowing beneath. In the end we didn't take the road into the glen
However in 2005, I rectified this mistake, and mistake it was, because the road climbs up and takes you into the Strath of Kildonan and then round to Helmsdale. Some wonderful scenery. See my Kildonan page.
see the Broch near Loth
Brochs are circular towers, thought to have been built between about 500 BC and 500 AD as the homes of chiefs - the forerunners of the later castles and tower-houses. Their construction is very sophisticated, with hollow walls of unmortared stones containing passages and staircases.
The broch near the road leading to Glen Loth is on the seaward side of the road leading up to Helmsdale and the north.
For those interested , there is another between Brora and Golspie, and 120 in the Shetands as well as in the Orkneys, dating from the Iron Age.
"Tiny Charming and Quaint"
One year before our visit to Helmsdale I had seen our 'First Minister' unveil a statue here in this North East corner of Sutherland. I felt compelled to come to this tiny place to see it for myself. Not only did we discover the 'Emigration Statue' we saw a lovely little place beautifully displayed in the Summer Sunshine.
"If you go will you send back -"
A letter from America? a song from the Proclaimers telling of Scotland's Emigration in which Sutherland features highly
"Helmsdale a harbour of hope"
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