- HELMSDALE, a fishing-village, in the parish of Loth, county of Sutherland; 17 miles (N. E.) from Golspie; containing 526 inhabitants. This village is situated on the north bank of the river Helmsdale, near its influx into the Moray Frith. It consists chiefly of neatly-built houses inhabited by persons engaged in the fisheries, and is connected with the western portion of the parish by a handsome bridge of two arches, erected over the Helmsdale, at an expense of £2200, by the parliamentary commissioners, in 1811. It has long been celebrated for its valuable salmon-fisheries on the river, belonging to the Duke of Sutherland, and which are carefully managed under the superintendence of the proprietor's agents: the fish, which are of superior size and flavour, are sent packed in ice to the London market, where they are purchased by contract. The herring-fishery, in the Frith, is also very extensive; houses for curing the herrings have been built on a principle well adapted for the purpose; and since the year 1815, the quantity cured at this place has gradually increased from about 5000 to 46,000 barrels annually, of which the whole are exported to the continent and to Ireland. The harbour was greatly improved by the erection of a substantial pier by the proprietor, at a cost of £1600, in 1818, since which time additional sums have been expended; and still further improvements are in contemplation. The fishery affords employment to a very considerable number of coopers, and a steam-mill has been erected for sawing the staves of the barrels; there are also several boat-builders; and various handicraft traders are carried on for the supply of the inhabitants. A post-office has been established, which has a daily delivery; and facility of communication is afforded by the parliamentary road from Dunrobin, in the parish of Golspie, to the Ord of Caithness; by a good road from the village, through the strath of Kildonan, to the North Sea; and by vessels from different ports of England and Ireland, which touch at the harbour. A handsome church has recently been erected in the village by the Duke of Sutherland, in which a minister of the Establishment officiates occasionally; and there is a school supported; also a large place of worship in connexion with the Free Church, opened in February, 1845.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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