Helmsdale (population 637) is situated on the East Coast of Sutherland, and enjoys the low rainfall of the region. Like many habitations in the region, its name is of Norse origin and means ‘Dale of the Helmet.’ In common with much of Eastern Scotland, Helmsdale was originally a Pictish settlement and there are still archaeological relics of this people in the region. In more modern times, Sutherland experienced the misfortune of the Clearances, but paradoxically this gave rise to a strong diasporan culture which flourished as far afield as London and Edinburgh.
This spirit is still alive in modern Helmsdale, which is an outward looking town with a vibrant tourist trade and a developed transport infrastructure, offering rail and road travel. Helmsdale Primary offers education for younger children, whilst neighbouring Golspie High School provides secondary education. Helmsdale Golf Club provides leisure opportunities whilst the surrounding area is a popular destination for anglers and hill-walkers.
More info can be found on the Helmsdale website.