Skip to content...

Guest Book

We hope you have enjoyed your visit to Helmsdale and that you will come back on a regular basis and perhaps actually pay a visit to our village.

You are probably wondering who I am and why I would be interested in this village. My name is David Mason and I live in Helmsdale, Sutherland. I am married to Maureen nee Raffan from Gartymore who has been helping me to develop this site.

I noticed that Golspie, Brora, Caithness etc had community WebPages but not Helmsdale, and decided to do something about it. This is my contribution to the people and village of Helmsdale.
Since the Site is for the village of Helmsdale and communities around, I invite anyone to submit info. On their business, hobbies, interests, local history, organisations, church activities and any news that is happening in and around Helmsdale.

So come on, get emailing us now.
David and Maureen Mason

h: 01431 821560

Please note: We have put some measures in place to help reduce the ever-increasing spam comments that have been getting left in the Guestbook, if you encounter any problems leaving a message then please let us know by using the webmaster email address found in the footer of the site.

Previous Guestbook Comments: (363 in total)

Left by Inez Simpson on 2014-08-06 15:25:26

Posting on behalf of ancestors of William McAngus and Jeanie Sutherland residing in Ssutherland Street, Helmsdale?

Left by Jeanette Simpson on 2014-07-29 16:45:16

What a wonderful website with so much local history and information.
I have been unsuccessfully searching for the birthplace of my Scottish grandfather, Ross Stuart-Sutherland who came to Australia around 1923. His parents names were given as Mary Weir and Alastair Stuart-Sutherland and his birthplace as Avnagalian c1902-1906. They all look to be false information so I am clutching at straws so to speak.
Loved reading the history of your area and the newspaper articles.
Thank you from Australia for the wonderful historical information.

Left by Grace Siouan Haywood on 2014-06-01 14:12:41

I love Helmsdale, my family lived there for a long time and I still have relatives there. I am doing my family tree and my great aunt is Christine Sutherland nee maclennan her brother Murdoch was my grandad and their parents were Christina and David maclennan. I know my grandad Murdoch is buried in the cemetery with my granny grace but (and I know this is a long shot) if anybody knew anything about the maclennans I would be so grateful

Left by Margaret Cairns nee Cowie on 2014-05-27 05:06:11

Would love to hear from one of my old school friends Gladys Finlayson as was who emigrated to Australia away back in the 1960's I recently had a 70th Birthday and our other friend Nan Ballington nee Macdougall flew all the way from Canada for it and we were talking about Gladys wondering how she was getting on Jean Mackay nee' Jappy was also there.
also Roy MacLeod from the Old school Manse at Loth his name came up as well, love to hear from them both.

Left by Colin McKellar on 2014-04-10 12:12:23

Coming back to Helmsdale for two days on 12th and 13th April. Am looking forward to seeing the village again.

Left by Susan Drabick on 2014-02-23 19:22:11

Hi: My husband Tom and I will be arriving in Helmsdale on September 22, 2014 for the day. We will be driving up from Aberdeen. We are from Vancouver, BC. My Great Grandmother Ann Sutherland was born in either Helmsdale or Dalchalm around 1846 according to the 1871 Scotland Census and the 1901 England Census. Her parents were William and Jane Sutherland. We are looking forward to the visit and can't wait to see where my Great Grandmother was from.

Left by Peregrine Bentley Beaumont on 2014-02-20 06:34:18

What a well put together web site, I have wanted to go to Helmsdale fishing for a long time I will do my upmost to get there later on in the year. All the best regards, PBB

Left by Pam Oakley on 2014-01-24 12:21:23

Dear David and Maureen, I have been looking for my friend Lesley nee Mackay who was married to Gavin and lived in Ayr. She moved to Largs after leaving where we both worked - Scottish & Universal Newspapers in Irvine. I am wishing to find her as two of our colleagues are in constant communication we me, now that i have moved south. We would all like to get together, Lesley included, so if you have any idea via Gavin where she is or how I can get in contact with her please can you let me know on my email. Many thanks. and what a great site you have here. Best wishes for 2014. Pam

Left by Joan Fishwick(nee Speakman from Kinbrace on 2014-01-08 05:52:06

A Very Happy Healthy 2014 to everyone who remembers me.
from Joan in Wigan, Lancashire.England.

Left by Wendy Mathews on 2014-01-06 05:08:12

I love Helmsdale. I visited the town for the first time in 2010 and vowed to return when I came back to Scotland in 2013. Both trips had me only staying an hour at a time, but it is such a wonderful small town, and everyone is so friendly. I will definitely return when I am back in the UK and hopefully get to indulge in some of the walks in the area and stay a few days instead of a few hours. Love the website and all the relevant information.

Left by David & Maureen Mason on 2013-12-31 09:36:51

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

From David and Maureen Mason.

Left by David & Maureen Mason on 2013-12-25 05:49:38

Wishing you a merry Christmas from David and Maureen Mason Helmsdale.

Left by Richard Greene on 2013-12-10 17:49:12

We had our family Christmas Party for my cousins and families last week. Some 20 cousins still catch up every year. We are all descendents of Barbara Sutherland [1833-64] the daughter of George Sutherland and Mary Fraser of Gartymore. Was hoping to visit last year but not so easy from Melbourne in Australia. Hello to any relatives who may read this.

Left by Richard Greene on 2013-12-10 17:49:12

We had our family Christmas Party for my cousins and families last week. Some 20 cousins still catch up every year. We are all descendents of Barbara Sutherland [1833-64] the daughter of George Sutherland and Mary Fraser of Gartymore. Was hoping to visit last year but not so easy from Melbourne in Australia. Hello to any relatives who may read this.

Left by Keith parkes on 2013-11-22 02:02:44

Goodmorning , has anyone any information regarding a B Rose a talented artist ( usualy I think, in oil on board ) who painted pictures arround Helmsale area,arround the time when the old castle was still there ? Thanks Keith Parkes.

Left by Jane perkins on 2013-09-26 05:52:25

Searching for friends Hannah and Andy Fairley and sons who lived in your village which we also visited

Left by Mike Balfour on 2013-09-21 09:52:09

i am looking for a painting of your village for a present for my father in law who was born in the village in 1943 and left in the 60's. is there any local artists that might be able to help.
thanks, Mike

Left by Lauren Mackay on 2013-09-03 03:49:53

Hi David, what a lovely site.My husband and I have enjoyed browsing it and in doing this somehow my husband uncovered photos of his father and his haulage lorry (Angus Mackay) which directed us to Flickr to view the photos. My husband (also Angus Mackay) was absolutely delighted with these pictures and has been talking about them for a while. It is his birthday coming up so I thought I would try and get in touch to see the possibility of trying to acquire a copy as a surprise.. I would greatly appreciate it if this was possible. In anticipated thanks Lauren Mackay

Left by Katie and Sarah Bramlett on 2013-08-09 12:45:22

We stayed four nights at the Helmsdale Youth Hostel in July. Our favorite memories of an entire month in Scotland are all from Helmsdale! We met so many lovely people, felt so welcomed into the community, and were introduced to rooibos tea by a lovely lady named Anne Sinclair.
We were very moved by the history of the Strath and wish we could be back in Helmsdale today for the Timespan Translocation Festival commemorating the bicentenary of the clearances. Warmest greetings and well-wishes to all the folks of Helmsdale.

Left by John Delaney on 2013-07-29 14:08:15

Hi Are there any kind people in Helmsdale willing to put up a guy for the night on Tuesday 30th July. His name is Colm Farrell and he is doing an 11 month, 5000 mile charity walk around the counties of Scotland, Wales and England. He is relying on the goodwill of the people he meets to provide hospitality
Contact no is 00353 87 287 2881 or he is on facebook at!/colmpfarrell

Left by Billy on 2013-07-21 10:08:00

Wondering if anyone can tell me when the gardens at Kildonan will be open to the public. Thank you/

Left by Sandra jones nee carthew on 2013-04-01 12:54:15

Just a quick hello to all my cousins and relatives in Scotland,England,and new Zealand My grandparents were from Helmsdale they were John and Mary Mackay from Dunrobin Street ,they had seven children John,Jean,Kitty (who was my mother)Georgie,Barbara,James and May.Still in contact with some of my cousinsb
But would like to here from others.

Left by Peter on 2013-04-01 03:43:25

Lady wanted to know about the Northern Lights - yep, weather, clouds, etc permitting, the Northern Lights are in evidence in Helmsdale ....

Left by Colin McKellar on 2013-03-24 13:31:55

My sister and I have booked holidays towards the end of May so will be coming back to Helmsdale again to see the bench at the harbourfront dedicated to our late parents as well as looking around the area and meeting up with old friends again.

Hoping it is a bit warmer than our trip last year!!

Left by Sandra Barnes(nee Dodd) on 2013-03-24 03:22:01

Having left the area some 54 years ago I have never stopped loving the area and have travelled every year of my life back to Helmsdale and ( West Garty where I was brought up from 1949) until my parents Graham and Margaret moved into the village in 1962(approx.) I recently watched the news with all the snow and think back to the really bad storms of around 1955. We used to walk to school(3 miles) from West Garty to Helmsdale with the children from West Garty Farm( The Mackenzie Family and the Coghill Family) knowing we would get sent straight home incase weather conditions got worse. To us they were fun days. I would never want my life to be any different as a child, these were hard times, but great times when we made our own fun. Bottled milk at school with a cardboard top which in the winter would have been pushed about an inch above the bottle top where the ice had frozen the milk, the crate would be put by the fire to defrost the ice. Changed days. I will be heading North to Helmsdale for one of my yearly visits in June and if I am lucky I may just meet up with some of my school pals. I am now in my 70th year and lucky still to be fit enough to journey to Helmsdale. I am also lucky enough to have a partner who also has a passion for Helmsdale and the surrounding North.

Left by Carol on 2013-02-23 02:24:23

Hi all,
We are looking to possibly stay in the area next Feb/March 2014. The seems to be plenty places to visit close by and things to do in the area. I'm interested to know if it is possible to see the Northern Lights from your villiage or surrounding area (conditions permitting of course)?

Left by Darren Macleod on 2013-02-12 17:48:44

Loving reading on the site, whilst working abroad, keep up the good work.
Darren in Houston Texas

Left by Cathy Wilson on 2013-02-09 09:13:35

I have just read the notice to say that on the 16th Feb 2013 a memorial service to commemorate the sinking of the SS Gretafield by torpedo will be held at Dunbeath. It states that two Helmsdale men were killed in action, as indeed was the case, however the second man was my father John Cowie and not John Courier.
We lived in Dunrobin Street (next to drill hall) and my brother in law - Jim Getty - still frequents the house and keeps me up to date with any news
I often look on your site - keep up the good work.

Left by Lindsay Robertson on 2013-01-07 12:10:46

Memories of Helmsdale 1914. Aye - 1914 !
Been researching a 'diary' written by my great grandfather who in his 60th year enrolled with the National Reserve to protect 'King and Country'.
He was posted to Helmsdale (real Dad's Army stuff) to protect the telegraph cable terminal.
He (John Rose Frew - also Provost of Dingwall at the time) recounts with much affection the support he and his band of 'soldiers' received from the local folks.
Just wondered if any info on the 'terminal' known and if any remnant of it still exists.

Left by Stewart Dodd on 2012-12-22 08:35:45

A recent trip to Alberta in Canada in June this year uncovered two locations bearing the name of Helmsdale.
The first being a railway station for the Canadian Pacific Railway, North of Calgary. The second to the south of Oyens (East of Calgary by 3-4 hours drive), a small town. Both were named by the same person who was born in Helmsdale.
His name is Murdock MacKay. Can anyone shed any light on this person and are there any surviving relatives in the village?
Where he lived in the town of Helmsdale, south of Oyens he opened a Post Office there in 1913, with the title of Postmaster being handed down through his family until the Post Office closed on 1 May 1962.

Left by Joan fishwick(Nee Speakman) on 2012-12-06 07:51:42

A very happy Festive time to anyone who remembers me up there in Helmsdale and Kinbrace area. Is there anyone who remembers the school in Kinbrace in the 50's.?? Gosh such a long time ago......

If you do My father who was the Station master in Kinbrace in the 50's celebrated his 90th Birthday this year - Harry Speakman.

Left by Andrew Sutherland Allen on 2012-11-24 13:15:09

Hi everybody..... I'm trying to find someone that i was in touch with on this site a few years ago , his name is Alan Mckay or Mackay .... if you should see this Alan would you email me please, my old email no longer exists, but you can email me via my name at the top of this or alternatively ... .....

Left by Larry Wilkes on 2012-11-20 17:09:52

Dear David and Maureen, Hello from Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA! We had the double pleasure of meeting you both and staying in Helmsdale from January to April 2011, when I was temporarily filling the pulpit at Helmdale Free Church. I must say, Helmsdale gets in one's blood, as it were: I miss the village and the people, and so I find myself trolling the Helmsdale website from time to time. (Well done on what I note to be a number of improvements over the past several months.) We do hope to come back to the UK permanently within the next 2 years; alas, most likely south of the border. Know that Helmsdale is in my thoughts and prayers.

Left by Jamie Kelly on 2012-10-30 18:47:10

Can not wait to get back for christmas. Miss the little village. Sitting in the library at college out in the US and im on the Helmsdale website ha. Miss everyone there. See you all soon!!

Left by Karen Newstead on 2012-10-22 06:56:07

Message to Linda Oliver on 2010-12-05 01:42:02
re John Maxwell Blair b 1879 Tillicoultry married 1909 to
Anna Elizabeth Klovborg b. 1882 in Alloa
sadly they had no children.

Left by John bell on 2012-10-13 13:33:39

Dear Dave and Maureen . Helmsdale sounds cold but good . I have seen the videos on youtube ,with people panning gold . Surely a Luxury Park wood be good for Helmsdale , where people could come and stay in Wooden Challets and enjoy what you have . And for skint blokes like me You could produce a wash plant and fine rubber ribbed sluice mat . then the holiday could , might , and probably would pay for itself . A wash plant is just a washing machine drum or 2 ,stuck end to end on a slope . Your temporary tenants would enjoy troweling their river sand , grit , and mud ttfn. xxx

Left by Brad Kenney on 2012-10-03 22:55:03

Last year, I travelled to the UK, it being my first time leaving Canada at all, I was quite nervous. While driving, my friends and I stopped into Helmsdale to take a bit of a breather. And I must say, I really fell in love with it! Everyone is so friendly, and take such pride in their family history, and the village itself. I really wish I had the funds to come back soon!

Left by Dr John Sutherland on 2012-08-08 12:21:07

At my eldest son, Donald's, behest I have been digging up the ancestors' bones as it were. Hit my gt-gd-father William Sutherland who lived in Glasgow. Then read the 1891 census and found he was born in Kildonan in 1844. That would be after the clearances, interestingly.

So that puts my mother's family (McKay and Fraser) in Helmsdale and my dad's gd-father also at the RIver Helmsdale. 62.5% of me is from Helmsdale via Glasgow. The rest is 25% French and 12.5% from the Uists.

I need to come up to Helmsdale again and enjoy the world's greatest fish'n'chips (and most aggressive seagulls!). GB. John S.

Left by June Gadsby on 2012-07-29 04:38:47

Having recently had a novel published set in St Kilda I am now inspired to write another based on the Scottish gold rush, so I find your site particularly helpful and interesting. Many thanks.

Left by Dave regan on 2012-07-14 16:32:59

hi all can any body help please,myself and my brother in law are doing a charity walk from john o groats to lands end next year in june,we are looking for a free room for the night when we stay in helmsdale on 5 march 2013,if any body can help us out i will forward a press release about the charity and why we are doing the walk.
many thanks for your time,and hope you good people can help us out
dave regan, dave parry

Left by Betty on 2012-07-07 05:45:20

this website is amazingg i love the colours etc good job dave

Left by Colin McKellar on 2012-07-02 01:23:42

The long running saga with the memorial bench is still continuing.

The supplier firstly sent the wrong bench which had to be returned. They then sent the correct bench a few weeks later but it had the wrong inscription on it so it has now had to be returned to England for repair.

So far all that has been done is a concrete slab has been placed at the harbour in preparation for the time that the suppliers actually get the order right.

Four months and two benches later they still haven't got it right.

Hopefully I wil be able to update the forum soon.

Left by Marcus hoskins on 2012-06-27 14:04:51

does anyone know of a sandra jennison who lives in helmsdale... she has a daughter called claire and one called emma (emma is from bristol and she has a daughter plus a partner called chris). i stayed with sandra years ago in seaton carew near hartlepool. if anyone knows of her can they pass my email address over to her

Left by Robin Marshall on 2012-06-11 15:37:42

12/06/2012- Robin Marshall
An end of an era. The POPE is up for sale.This magnificent place belongs to my sister and I will really miss visiting her there and the lovely town of Helmsdale. Visiting her and family there and Helmsdale was the highlight of my visits back to Scotland when I was on holiday from Australia.
This area brings back many great childhood memories.
Maybe there is some lucky person out there who could have the opportunity to enjoy this magnificent building and all its history.

Left by Mirza Sharz on 2012-06-09 20:34:05

I heard about Helmsdale as the best place to visit in northern England from a Belgian tourist. If I had enough money I really want to visit Helmdale

Left by Colin McKellar on 2012-05-05 09:31:04

My sister and I visited Helmsdale in April just as the snow started.

The plan was to scatter Mum's ashes down the Strath but that didn't happen as the funeral director messed up the paperwork and her ashes were scattered not long after her funeral in the Garden of Rememberance with no family present.

My sister and I are now arranging to have a memorial bench placed at the harbour in memory of both our parents who loved the peace, tranquillity and the people of Helmsdale.

On our visit we were able to meet some of the people that we knew as children and it was lovely to see everyone again.

I wil come back after the bench is finally in place and hope that it is enjoyed by the people of Helmsdale.

Left by Mike Cowie on 2012-05-05 05:03:29

To James Cowie
Your dad got the nickname from a soup advert that used to be on telly at the time.Sorry about uncle Ian your dad I did hear about him dying well after it happening we used to go paching together and had a great laugh ,this is the first time ive been on the site in a long time.I live in edinburgh now where do you live James,I believe martha my sister has been researching thefamily but if I can help I will,I tried sending you an email and it bounced back,

Left by Jamie Pullum on 2012-04-05 12:39:07

Hello again, I had last posted here in November 2010 re: Jane Grosart Findlay and one of you had kindly contacted Michael & Jane Gill in Banchory.We have been in regular touch since November 2010 and I visited them at Easter last year and right now as I am writing this message, I am sat on Mike & Jane's comfy sofa with my children - here for Easter :)

Thank you again
Jamie x

Left by Stephen & Liz Fairclough on 2012-04-01 14:07:35

Sprnt the Summer of 1989 as wardens of the youth hostel. Found Helmsdale to be a delightful place, colourful and peaceful. Remember early Summer mornings coffee in hand staring out to sea and sun in the east from the hostel steps. Loved Badbea, Glen Lothian and Baile an Or (didn't find any gold though). Got married at the Bridge Hotel at the end of the summer season, photos over the harbour, youthful in the gentle breeze. Ah. Hope to return this year, after 23 years of marriage, 4 children and a dog. Would love once again to smell the gorse and broom in bloom.

Left by Colin McKellar on 2012-02-18 03:46:51

My sister, Elaine, and I are coming back to Helmsdale in April. As a family we started to to have our summer holidays in the Marrel over 40 years ago and came back year after year.

Our parents kept coming back after we grew out of it.

Mum always wanted to see Helmsdale again but was never fit for the journey in later life so in April we will be scattering her ashes over the hills that she loved so much.

Left by Sheila skirde (nee currie) on 2012-02-01 23:48:50

I lived for many years in portgower, and went to school in helmsdale, my family left in 1950 to live in australia, my best friend when I lived there was elma cormack, (now mrs ian rapson) My daughter and I were over there in 2009, and caught up with elma, I have always remembered my life there, my brother william was killed on his way to work, at the coop store in dunrobin street, and my sister ellen worked at kildonan lodge and also at the school canteen. my dad was thomas currie my mother was elizabeth(lizzie) and dad played the piano accordian at dances

Left by Nancy Magnusson on 2012-01-14 09:44:48

My sister in law and I visited Helmsdale early July 2011 and stayed at the Belgrave Arms. The hospitality was awesome, Wendy, Craig and Penny bent over backwards to accomodate our needs and to make us feel welcome. My sister in laws roots are in Helmsdale (BANNERMAN) descent and even though I was sort of a "tag along" I fell in love with this village. Everytime I see pictures or think of Helmsdale, I get homesick and I have no connections to this village. We travelled from British Columbia, Canada and will do again as soon as possible. Next time we will definitely stay much longer and enjoy more sight seeing and researching. Nancy

Left by Kay Mackenzie on 2011-12-28 23:09:18

I used to go visit my dad Dougie Mackenzie as often as possible, i did not drive in the early days so found the journey awful from Dumbarton, now tho, i wish i was able to do that journey again, because it would mean you were still with us Dad, gone but not forgotten.

love Kay & Gordon

Left by Allison on 2011-12-27 11:31:40

Can you tell me how long the trip from Inverness to Helmsdale is? Is the daily travel between easy?

Left by JOAN FISHWICK NEE SPEAKMAN on 2011-12-16 07:44:05

A very Happy Christmas and Good New Year to you David and Maureen and to anyone who may remember me, from my time living at Kinbrace when my father was the Station Master - Harry Speakman -

Left by Lorraine on 2011-11-29 08:30:59

We used to holiday in Helmsdale years ago, loads of us came up from Falkirk every year. I kept in touch with Susan Jappy, but unfortunately, throughout the years we lost contact with each other. I would love to find out how she's doing. Susan had a sister Marie and a brother Stephen. Does anybody have any info

Left by Sabine Haumann on 2011-11-04 10:25:47

Helmsdale is a lovely village. My friend and me enjoyed our stay in Ocober 11. But there was one major problem: We had booked the two nights at Helmsdale Hostel via Hostelbookers, got the confirmation, paid the deposit, and at our arrival the hostel was already closed for the winter! Nobody answered on the phone. On the opposite side of the road we found a heartily and warm welcome from Maggie and Peter Smith in Ruard B&B and stayed there for the two nights, which was wonderful. If we return to Helmsdale, we will definitively choose this lovely B&B.

After returning home I wrote an email to Helmsdale Hostel (we also left a message in the mailbox), but this was exactly two weeks ago, and up to now I did not get an answer. So, for everybody thinking of staying in this hostel: re-think it seriously! But Helmsdale itself is well worth a visit.

Left by Elizabeth Hoyle on 2011-11-02 17:41:26

Kathleen McTaggart is THE best ambassador for the Helmsdale Highland Games and we thank her for a wonderful time. Last spring, I sent notes around to various games and Kathleen responded immediately.

So we drove up and our son Liam competed in the junior piping competitions and we all had a terrific time. We stayed at the Navidale and the food and ambiance was outstanding. We were highly entertained by the characters who showed up in the Navidale pub. And, of course, our Liam entertained all with the pipes.

We ate, had coffee -- great places and we bought some lovely Ness items in a shop. We walked and visited everything at the game and heard some excellent piping.

The credit goes to Kathleen who was simply wonderful. If it weren't for her, we would not have come to the games and gone to the other in Elgin. But, it was worth the drive and WE WILL return.

We met lovely people in the dignitary tent and talked to many. Great fun.

Elizabeth Hoyle
Toronto, Canada
and we were with our two friends from Sweden.
Thank you..

Left by Louise Belin on 2011-09-30 12:02:23

Hello everyone in Helmsdale, what great memories of my stay in Helmsdale with my new found cousin, Gerry Wood. Met some of the lovliest people, had great food at the Bridge. I plan on going back in 2013 to be part of the 200th anniversary of the Clearances I'm following everything that is happening at Timespan with great interest. What a great web-site
Louise Belin B. C. Canada

Left by Denise Taylor on 2011-09-25 07:44:24

My GGG Uncle John Mcleod appears on the 1881 Scotland Census as the Hotel Keeper for the Dunrobin Street Railway Hotel, Helmsdale. With him are his cousins Christina Mcleod and William Mcleod. Also working there are a Georgina Ronaldson, Alexander Mitchell and Catherine Mckay.

John went on to marry Donaldina Ross of Westfield, Caithness, and in the 1901 Census it shows they have moved on, for John was then Hotel Keeper at the Balnagowan Arms Hotel, Kincardine.
I wonder if anyone has more information about my Uncle and his time at the hotel?
Thank you
Denise Taylor (nee Macleod )

Left by George on 2011-09-15 10:50:41

I recently stayed in Farr Cottage, West Helmsdale.

The cottage was picture perfect exactly what was as the pictures show. The interior although slightly dated was spotlessly clean and well maintained.

The golf course was short but tight, the greens could do with some care and attention but I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 rounds.

As for the village the locals made us extremely welcome so much so I am looking to book again next year if not once then possibly twice.

I would recommend anyone considering visiting this part of the world to try Farr cottage. they wont be disappointed.



Left by Keith and cynthia cookson on 2011-08-07 12:36:18

came back to Helmsdale last week, first time since we left 6/7 years ago. We were worried, would it be the place we remember? shouldn`t have worried, the village looked great, well done everyone for the effort, and the people were as lovely as we remember. we were looked after by Janice Sinclair and we had a wonderful few days, can`t wait to come back. not so long this time! good luck to you all. keith and cynthia cookson

Left by David hendy on 2011-08-06 22:38:54

browsing your website brought memories of childhood in the 1960's and 70's when I visited regularly with my father Roy Hendy....who died 15 years ago today. I note that he still has 3 trophies for the Highland Games. Will try to attend this years games on 20th August. Some of you with good memories may recall Roy the "warerite man"? bringing up his sheets of warerite and resurfacing kitchen tables/units years before we'd heard of MFI, and fitted kitchens!...bartering his way for a days fishing on the river!

Left by JOAN FISHWICK on 2011-08-03 02:40:54

I passed through Helmsdale on Monday last after having passed through Kinbrace from Thurso.
So many memories.
Had a lovely coffee before travelling back down south.

It is good I am able to come back and visit, just sad when I see where I lived, no one to speak with.

Left by László Herman on 2011-07-19 22:34:38

I'm László Herman from Hungary and I would like to be in contact with the Plass family. They moved to Helmsdale in 2008 from Tunbridge Wells. I'm a godfather one of the Family's son. I will be In London between the 13th and 30th. of August. It will be a great opportunity to see them again.

Left by Gillian ricketts was castree was lewis on 2011-07-19 10:47:52

im looking for a anne sutherland (mcglasson from leominster herefordshire) anne married george sutherland around 1964-65 in helmsdale i was then a castree i was bridesmaid to anne my then husband gave her away,anne had a little girl cant remember her name i can remember george had a sister called effie cant rember much more

Left by JOAN FISHWICK on 2011-07-14 03:54:03

I will be passing through Helmsdale on Saturday 30th July on my way to Thurso. So many memories when I lived at the Station House Kinbrace where my father was a station master in the 50's.

Anyone out there remember the Speakman family???

Left by JOAN FISHWICK on 2011-07-14 03:54:03

I will be passing through Helmsdale on Saturday 30th July on my way to Thurso. So many memories when I lived at the Station House Kinbrace where my father was a station master in the 50's.

Anyone out there remember the Speakman family???

Left by Brian Mills on 2011-07-14 03:21:34

Hello - stayed at our usual B&B in Helmsdale this summer - the Customs House run by Ann Mcdonald - opp the harbour

Great time again in the village - surely Ann's B&B is the best in Scotland!


John Mills
Brian Mills
Rob the collie

Left by Sheila Mann on 2011-06-09 12:52:06

Hello from Canada. Your sight is terrific! I now know where Helmsdale is located. I was wondering if anyone had some info on the Macrae family. My Grandfathers eldest sister Janet married Donald Macrae in 1881 at the Railway Hotel, Helmsdale, Scotland. Also, if anyone has a picture of the old Hotel would love it. Tried six other websites with no luck. Thanks again.


Left by Mairi MacKay on 2011-06-02 14:09:54

On holiday for a week in Helmsdale from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, and am currently sitting next to Anne McDonald from Custom House B & B on Shore Road, Helmsdale. Anne would like the lady from Germany know that she is still taking guests and would love see her again

Left by Charles Ross on 2011-06-01 19:35:34

I am related to a lady who posted in 2007. (Left by Lorna Settle on 2007-06-23 22:32:32)
That is how I found this site from Googling the Sutherland name and Kildonan Lodge. Her grandfather was my uncle Ian Sutherland, gamekeeper through the 60's and 70's at least. His father before him, Donald, was also the Kildonan gamekeeper. I stayed at the gamekeeper's home with my aunt and uncle a few times from 1965 to the 70's and have a sentimental draw to return at least once more. I remember so much about the place. There was a woman named Megan (sp?) in Helmsdale who tied flies for customers all over the world. My mother Dona Sangster Sutherland married Thomas Ross of Glasgow and emigrated to Canada approx. 1952. Thanks for the chance to get re-acquainted.

Left by Volker Schäfer on 2011-05-28 12:20:54

I have indeed visited Helmsdale in 1997, but the memories of yesterday could be. Does the B & B at the port yet. Would love to visit this place again. The people are very hospitable and the place is definitely worth a stop.

Left by Nick Ashton on 2011-04-18 03:31:44

I returned to my Home in Bristol just short of one week ago after visiting friends in Helmsdale and i miss it!. I have been to a few places in my time but this was my first visit to the village and Scotland and it left me breathless. I am certain to return at some point as a visitor and, i hope eventualy to live there. Wonderful place and nice friendly people.

Left by Doreen Johnstone ( Mclennan) on 2011-03-24 08:34:28

I have just been looking at Helmsdale pictures,I saw one of Steven (David) Cowie ,I am wondering if his dad was Steven (David),as my mum Ina had a brother with the same name.I am coming up in May ,1st time in 58 years, it would be nice to trace some of my relations.When I came up I used to stay on the shore with Mary Jane Cowie ,my aunt .

Left by Terri baston on 2011-03-20 13:28:46

To maureen murray ,ive sent you a e-mail ,saw your comment on this site hope you got it.nice to hear there are still some old friends of my father and mother still around.There is a picture of my father with his friends on this site taken about 1952,if you look in the photo section on this webb site.

Left by Olivia murray on 2011-03-12 22:48:14

I am planning a trip for cork,Ireland in the fall and hope to make it to scotland as well. Must be where grandad was born very important for me and him.

Left by Kitty Diva on 2011-02-27 12:10:29

I happened to be looking round this site and wondered if you, or any of your visitors would be interested in this site I've been a frequent visitor to this area, ever since i can remember-and have taken so many photos, specifically of Glen Loth. The site is really a tribute to Sutherland but does feature many photos around Loch Fleet-Helmsdale areas. Prints would be available of any photos there, but the intention of the site was primarily to show off my love for the area. Was very interested in your site, especially everything you have written about the Glen Loth Clearances.

Left by Maureen murray on 2011-02-17 16:11:31

to terri baston how is ann i am wm murrays daughter yours and mine both worked with r o n

Left by Pam Oakley (Nee Toner) on 2011-02-06 10:19:47

Hello, I am looking for a past work colleague namely Leslie Mackay who was married to Gavin, and as far as I know moved to the Largs area and became involved in the tennis club.
I worked with Lesley from 1980 to 1986 Scottish & Universal Newspapers, Advertising section, in Irvine.
I moved back to Hertfordshire and unfortunately lost touch, but I would dearly love to meet up with Leslie again.
If anyone knows of her and can pass on my email address I would be so grateful.
Pam Oakley (nee Toner)

Left by Michael Gill on 2011-02-04 14:26:15

Just to let everyone know, I have made contact with Jamie regarding Jane Grosart Findlay. Thanks for letting me know.

Left by David and Maureen Mason on 2010-12-24 02:58:12

Wishing everyone in the Helmsdale community a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Left by Sandy R on 2010-12-20 17:47:41

Looking for a Maureen Murray from Helmsdale early/middle 60's.
Sandyr..... Canada.

Left by Richard Greene on 2010-12-19 17:32:55

I like to keep up with the Gartymore/Helmsdale news being a Fraser and Sutherland decendent and related to Elizabeth Fraser[Hi Elizabeth].
Enjoying the warmer weather in Melbourne Australia but with a lot of Scottish blood also from Penicuik and the Borders.This site is so good to get a feel of life in the Highlands.
Merry Christmas to all.

Left by Linda Oliver on 2010-12-05 01:42:02

MATTHEW GOLDIE BLAIR, CAEN COTTAGE, HELMSDALE KW8 6HX. . If you are a descendant of Matthew Goldie Blair who died on 18 November 2008, and was (I think ) son of John Maxwell Agnew Blair and Anna Elizabeth Klovborg, I would be very interested in contacting you. I have researched my family history back to early 1700's, and now need to fill in Matthew Goldie Blair, Rector of Alloa Academy from 1889-1919, and father of above John. I would be glad to share my research, if you are interested in your family's history, including Anna's family in Denmark, back to mid 1700's. Any information on Matthew Goldie Blair and his family gratefully accepted. Thank you, Linda Oliver, British Columbia Canada email address supplied

Left by Tony Eaton on 2010-11-04 04:43:24

Having been to Helmsdale for holidays many times over the years as I had a great uncle and aunt (Mr & Mrs J.White) live in Portgower. I would like to get in contact with a girl I met in 1967 she was known as Kirstain Mackie and lived at 3 Golf Road Helmsdale. My wife and myself will be coming to stay with my cousin who lives in Lothbeg in the spring of next year.
It would be nice to make contact with her again,that is if she wants to.
Tony Eaton

Left by Jamie Pullum I am female :) on 2010-11-02 17:19:32

Hello, I am trying to find out more about my late grandmother who came from Helmsdale. Her name was Jane Grosart Findlay?
In 1956, she had my mother - Cynthia Angeline Grosart but gave her up for adoption. My mother was born in the Pope hospital. She had an older sister - Aileen Gladys Grosart.

My mother ended up as a baby being brought up a very small village called Nigg;Rosshire.

Many years ago, when I was around the age of 8, my mum did have contact with her real mother - Jane but is was difficult!

My mother would like to know more about her roots. If anyone can help we would love to hear from you..

thank you in advance.

Left by Yvonne Grant ( was Sutherland (Torrish).) on 2010-10-31 02:15:53

Please help. Our new home is the old Artillry Hall in Helmsdale. This building has so much history and we would love some copys of photos, im a local girl but seem to be finding it very difficult to get any written or photo evidence of its uses. The hall has been used as a cinema, for many dances, fish factory and much more. If anyone can help with some photos please get in touch.

Left by Pete Carson on 2010-10-06 03:32:38

As recently appointed Local Development Officer and in response to the entry left by Michael Dudgeon, I have to point out that the aim of the Development Group is - "to bring together all local organisations to work together to create an economically prosperous and culturally rich community for the benefit of everyone." The Group was appointed to represent the community and this matter is on the Agenda for discussion at the next meeting of the Group.

Left by Michael Dudgeon on 2010-10-02 23:30:56

A new development group has been set up in Helmsdale, with a view to assist the development of projects that help to make the area economically, socially and environmentally sustainable,The main problem for any groups like this is to raise core funding, which can then be matched by other funding bodies.A wind turbine proposal on Crakaig is going to planning stage, and Helmsdale would receive a large Community payment from this project. I take this opportunity to urge members of The Development Group , to activly canvass the people of Helmsdale and District ,to support this proposal, as this kick start may allow you to realise your aspirations

Left by James cowie on 2010-08-29 04:17:20

can anybody or my family help with some names from the cowie side in helmsdale my grandads name was frank cowie and my grannie was elizabeth but dont know who my great grand parents were my fathers name was ian (pea and ham )his brothers were francis+sandy+alistair+peter+sisters beryl+janet they lived in halmsdale most of there lives then moved to glenrothes any help would be appreiciated thank you

Left by Norrie Flannigan on 2010-08-12 14:43:23

Having been born in the Pope Hospital in '51 (my parents lived in Bonar Bridge) I visited Helmsdale some time on a trip up north. I left wondering if the Pope Hospital building still existed and if not what now stands in its place? This site is really good with some great comments etc. I really need to pay a proper visit.

Left by Dr John N Sutherland on 2010-07-28 16:07:44

Bumped into a lady in church in Largs, Ayrshire. She asked, 'where's your accent from?'. I tentatively said, 'Caithness / Sutherland. And you?', She answered, "Sutherland, Lochinver." I replied, "Ah well, I'm Helmsdale, actually." She said, "My husband's family are Helmsdale. Arrived to build the new bridge and fell in love with the place, bought a plot of land, built a house, and stayed."

You meet people from Helmsdale in the most unexpected places!


Left by Robert Gregory on 2010-06-29 15:41:39

Should have actually told you thatthe place we stayed in was the Ruard Guest House. Brilliant !

Left by Robert Gregory on 2010-06-29 15:36:12

On 10th June three of us my 22 year old son and a friend from work set off from John O Groats to cycle to Lands End. We could not have selected a more suitable place to spend the first night. Maggie and Peter were without doubt excellent hosts and ensured that our bikes were secured away leaving me in particular to shake off the aches and pains of day one. The Rooms were first class and the enormous breakfast ensured we reached Inverness the next day. Wonderful building and marvelous people, thank you so much, you were stars!
Oh by the way we completed the ride including Belfast to Dublin in a day

Left by Donald Sutherland Cathro on 2010-06-11 12:56:54

I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who has information on the descendants of David Sutherland, 1859 to 1920s and Jemima ( Holmes), who lived at Lillehall Street, Helmsdale at the 1901 census and had 9 children .......Nellie b1884, Jessie b1885, Eliz M b1887, Walter b1890, Jemima C b1892, William A b1893, Thomasina H b1895, Christina b1897 and David b1900.
David was a tailor and married Jemima in Edinburgh Oct 1882.
David was a brother of my great grandfather Walter so any information on possible relatives would be most welcome.

Donald Sutherland Cathro

Left by Peter and Rosemarie Dean on 2010-05-29 09:12:45

We have just been to helmsdale for the second year running staying at Caberfeidh trentham street this place really is first class,our stay at helmsdale was made even better by meeting Alistair Jappy and his wife Ann, we got invited to their house and even taken out for the day to see birds of prey and other wildlife, helmsdale is a beautiful place made better by the people who live there Many thanks May 2010

Left by Dot Caulderbank on 2010-05-25 10:47:27

Just want to say a big thank to the belgrave arms hotel and all the staff for my lovely stay..... food was excellent, hospitality was second to none. warm welcome from all the locals. will recommend to everyone and look forward to my return soon x

Left by David and carol hewitt tamworth staffordshire england on 2010-05-23 14:07:55

we just want to thank the loverly people of helmsdale for hospitality we were shown as a result of a motor bike puncture, which gave us 2 unplanned days in helmsdale.
young thomas and the garage, and a very big thank you to the gentleman who helped us find somewhere to stay in dornoch, i still dont know his name but again thanks.
peter and maggie at the b+b
craig and the staff at the belgrave hotel,(plus the fishermen who caught the cod)
the museum staff for an look at the changing world we live in.
fond memories , we shall return
thank you helmsdale
david and carol

Left by Andrew ross on 2010-05-23 04:07:33

hi great site, wish i still lived in helmsdale, i always look forward to going up to helmsdale on a sunday for a good sunday dinner at my nanas (aggie)

Left by Olivia Elayne Murray on 2010-05-04 13:09:18

Hello folks" I am wondering if someone on this site knows anything up to now regarding my grandfathers family"Peter Murray..he had a brother Donald and a sister Annice?parents were crofters from the 1800s..names were..George Murray and Margret Sutherland".Please if anyone has any information I would be extremley pleased in hearing from you..My grandfather was a ww1 VimyRidge veteran survivour with less his right arm...I know that he would be proud in knowing that an offspring is trying to savour in knowing of her roots..he would be pleased..he was born 1886 Helmsdale..Kildonan..Sutherlandshire..many,many thanks to all of you..Olivia Elayne Murray.

Left by Ruth Mackay on 2010-04-28 02:55:50

Please help to save Helmsdale library!!!

you can either sign the petition in the Community Center or Post Office


join our group on facebook -

Many thanks

Left by Elizabeth Gair on 2010-04-22 02:47:25

At long last I have found Mina (Minnie ) Mckenzie who emigrated with her brother James McKenzie and cousin's John Polson and Catherine Polson .As shown in the story in scattered Helmsies .Mina married James Henry and they had two of a family Margaret and John.Margaret (Maggie to the family ) was a music teacher and John a shop assistant. Margaret married Ebenezer Ducat a native of Abroath and John married Evelyne Alice Smith .None had any family .I got all this from friends in Rootschat .
Hoping to find James McKenzie who also emigrated with Mina
their brother Alexander McKnzie died in Springton New Zealand at the age of 25 years .b Kildonon 22.9.1856 d 1.7.1881
Eizabeth Gair

Left by Donald Sutherland Cathro on 2010-03-24 02:53:35

Have just contacted descendants of GEORGE SUTHERLAND b1793 and BETSY SUTHERLAND b1787 through a post from Jean Dean on this site. Would be interested to find out more family history if anyone can help. Superb site . I shall be looking in regularly .
Don Cathro

Left by Evelynn Peters on 2010-03-07 05:50:26

Have just come back from a weeks hoiday to Helmsdale a lovely little village and the people are very friendly. We stayed at lobster ponds which is a lovely house we felt at home as soon as we arrived. The Bridge Hotel is also very nice great food and the staff could'nt have been more helpful and for anyone taking their dog on holiday with them they are very dog friendly. Had a great time hope to come back.

Left by Charmaine horribine on 2010-03-04 13:22:18

hi there,im writing this for issie horribine to see, i'm hoping she can help me,if u read this could u please email me at thankyou.

Left by Robert Bain on 2010-02-21 03:06:54

I am looking for descendants of Isabella Morgan or Macleod & Benjamin Keith - their son Benjamin Keith married Jessie Mackay b. 9 Sep 1870, Ruther, Watten, Caithness, Scotland, d. 13 May 1935, Gartymore, Helmsdale, Kildonan, Sutherland + Jessie Mackay b. 1868 m. 15 Apr 1898 Thurso
ChildrenAlexander Keith b. 1894, Watten, Caithness, Scotland, d. 14 Apr 1916, France
Benjamin Morgan b. 20 May 1898, Watten, Caithness, Scotland
James Keith b. 1901, Olrig, Caithness, Scotland
William John Keith b. 9 May 1902, Olrig, Caithness, Scotland

Can anyone help as they were living in Gartymore?

Left by Donald Innes on 2010-02-20 19:22:31

I am looking for relatives of my grandmother, Annie Jappy and her first husband, Gordon Haddock. I live in western Canada on Vancouver Island. Since finding your website I want to come to Helmsdale. The best grave site website I have found anywhere is for Sutherland County and cheap to join for life! Please contact me at Donald Innes

Left by Elizabeth Gair on 2010-02-20 15:35:10

Just to let all know I have found the death of Adam McKenzie born in Helmsdale in 1853 d 1890
He died at the age of 36 years in Helen Street Northcote Victoria Australia
he was the son of Alexander McKenzie and Janet Mackay Gordon
I also found the death of his youngest child Eleanor Isabella Munro McKenzie aged 1 year she died in Fitzroy Victoria Australia 1888 and his wife Isabella Birnie Watson born Pitsligo 1859 d at Pitsligo 1924
Elizabeth Gair

Left by Christine Witham on 2010-02-14 04:06:18

My Great Granfather, Peter Murphy, was born in helmsdale on 2.3.1867. The name could have been Murchaidh which I understand is the Irish version of the name. Any info appreciated. Thanks

Left by Terri Baston on 2010-02-07 06:08:47

Many thanks Mary(Marshall)for the information on Billy Innes being the brother of your father George and not Ian ,and that he died in derby .i contacted my mum and mentioned your information and she said dad was working with Billy at the time when he died.I was born in 1957 and the two of them became close friends ,so much so that mum and dad asked him to be my godfather.Mum said dad was really shocked at his death,that he changed the job he was doing at that time ,working on the pylons .

Left by Matthew Heshon on 2010-01-25 14:27:02

It was great to get some time away from mini Hitler

Left by ANNIE CORMACK on 2010-01-22 09:58:12

We are currently making up a memory book for my Mum (Lulu Cormack). We would be grateful if anyone could lend/give us some photos of any special events in the village over the years or "Helmsdale Worthies" etc. Thank you!

Left by Steven Gilchrist on 2010-01-20 20:05:19

Greetings from Hanover, New Hampshire USA. Great site with lots of family info even if most does not connect with my Helmsdale roots. Yet there is some. A special hello to Ron Ely of Oxford England. We connect through Clunes Gilchrist, who was my great-great-great grandfather, and I like you would love to find how the tree goes back beyond Clunes. Your information has given me tidbits of new info that is most appreciated. If your interested my line goes from Clunes to his son John, then to John Clunes Gilchrist (who jumped ashore in a tiny little fishing village and island off the coast of Maine called Vinalhaven) then to my grandfather Andrew Cassie Gilchrist, then to my dad, Ernest McIntosh Gilchrist, and finally to me, Steven Todd Gilchrist. But alas, thats where the Gilchrist name shall end. I have but three daughters and no sons, as does my brother. Keep in touch Helmsdale and Ron Ely!

Left by STEVEN GILCHRIST on 2010-01-20 19:20:32

Greetings Helmsdale. Looking for long lost cousins and clan kin in Helmsdale. Any Gilchrists still there with knowledge of the family in and around the area? Would love to find connections with info on where the family lived and names of places they spent their days. Burial locations would be nice to so when I visit in the future I would know where to go to plug in to my roots.

Left by Mary marshall on 2010-01-11 08:36:25

Message for Terri Etheridge, billy innes was not a brother of ian innes, he was a brother of my dad (george), billy was killed in an accident down in derby
Message for william innes, get in touch, phone numbers the same, have put my email address on here

Left by Richard Hoyland on 2010-01-10 14:37:48

Just to say (on the eve of a new fishing season) .....Tight lines to all Anglers , locals or guests alike . I have had the pleasure of 5 visits to the Helmsdale over the past decade abley assisted by the legend that is " Johnnie Hardy " (Sutherland) , the best Ghillie in Scotland .
I now live in the USA , but hope to be in and on the Helmsdale again soon . Happy New Year to all . .

Left by JAMES COWIE on 2010-01-04 16:18:26


Left by William innes on 2009-12-28 12:32:50

i have been catching up on the history of my late father james innes birthplace .i have not had the opportunity to visit for a while ,as a youngster i spent many happy holidays at my grandparents george and violet,.i have many happy memories of helmsdale ,down at the harbour with my grandad ,and my uncle george .i still have many relatives in helmsdale my uncle connie my cousin mary and far to many more to mention .i would like to take this opportunity wish every one all the best for 2010

Left by ANDREW INNES on 2009-12-20 03:31:41

David and Maureen,
Once again a big thank you both for all your hard work over the past year .keeping the Helmsdale site alive .. Really is a first
Thank you for all the improvements and the thousands of photographs.
Also a big thank you for recording my son ,Tonys visit to the Palace to received his medal .The Order of The British Empire from Prince Charles.
I wish you and your Family plus all Helmies around the world a Good Christmas and Good Health for the New Year . God Bless.
Andrew and Judy

Left by Joan Fishwick on 2009-12-09 07:15:54

Hello David and Maureen,
I want to send you greetings for Christmas and the New Year and anyone out there who read your Guestbook.They may remember me when I lived at the Station House Kinbrace in the 50's, when my father was the Station Master - Harry Speakman -
I was Joan Speakman and lived there with my parents and baby sister Maureen.

Left by Grahame Murdoch on 2009-12-07 17:03:32

We stayed with a Mrs McLeod in her crofters cottage in 1978. Could anyone give us info on the lady & a possible address.

Left by Julia on 2009-11-08 04:26:25

new users exciting to find brilliant site my husband was born at the pope back in 51 and moved as a baby his dad was at radio station brora at the time always wanted to come and look at the birthplace and quess what fell in love with it visited july 09 stayed at kindale quest house lillishall st great place and people and fab food we will be back i want to be a helmie well done

Left by Dr John N Sutherland on 2009-11-07 10:22:17

Took my younger son up to Helmsdale this summer to (literally) visit the graves of the ancestors, walk up the strath and visit my old homes in Caithness too. The weather was glorious, most of the time, and he was blown away by the big skies, blue seas, aggressive seagulls and astonishingly good fish'n'chips.

Astonishing what changes and what doesn't. Helmsdale changes very little. But, when did the station become Bun Ilidh? I liked, without being political, the wry Gaelic on the monument to the clearances that describes Alex Salmond as prime minister of Scotland.

I do need to come up more often, money and time permitting.

Left by Terri baston (nee etheridge) on 2009-11-04 13:52:41

I wanted you to know i now have the picture i have been looking for,showing my father standing outside a shop on the corner in Helmsdale.In the picture he is with his friends Andrew Sutherland,my father John Etheridge,John Sutherland,Billy Sutherland(Billco) James Sinclair,Ian Innes,David Gordon.Im sure Ian is the brother of Billie my godfather who died young.If any of these famillies have any stories or information about my father ,i would love to hear from them.Just a big thank you David for having this site.

Left by Sandra Jones on 2009-10-28 16:41:23

Message for Kenneth Mackaymy greatgrandfather was John Mackay born 18/02/1841,my grandfather was his son John,before he died my uncle did a family tree dating back to the greatgrandfather did marry a Catherine Slater(Kate) ,they had 7 children,all that you have plus Annie. He had 5 sisters and 5 brothers.They were Jane(Jessie)1839.John1841,Alexander1844?,David,1846?,Catherine1852,Barbara1855,Donald1855,Anne1857,Jane(Jean)1858,James1861 and William.Could one of these be your ancestors Sandra ,Hereford England

Left by Sandra Jones on 2009-10-28 16:41:23

Message for Kenneth Mackaymy greatgrandfather was John Mackay born 18/02/1841,my grandfather was his son John,before he died my uncle did a family tree dating back to the greatgrandfather did marry a Catherine Slater(Kate) ,they had 7 children,all that you have plus Annie. He had 5 sisters and 5 brothers.They were Jane(Jessie)1839.John1841,Alexander1844?,David,1846?,Catherine1852,Barbara1855,Donald1855,Anne1857,Jane(Jean)1858,James1861 and William.Could one of these be your ancestors Sandra ,Hereford England

Left by Kenneth Mackay on 2009-10-25 13:00:45

I am compiling my family tree at this time. I now believe that my great uncle John Mackay (Dotta) born in Embo on the 18/2/1841 settled in Helmsdale where he was a fisherman. His wife was a Kate Slater from Buckie. John and Kate are said to have had children George, James, Barbara, Lucy, Katie and John. I am also told that James's son Angus had triplets. I also believe that when my father Williiam Mackay (Willie M) from Embo worked on the Helmsdale pier extensions in the early 1940s he stayed with his Helmsdale relatives while commuting to Embo at weekends on a motorbike. I would be grateful to hear if anyone knows of the people that I have mentioned. Regards, Kenneth Mackay in Empangeni, South Africa.

Left by Moira McDonald on 2009-10-24 18:09:05

I am looking for information regarding my great granparents that were married in Helmsdale December 14, 1864:
John Duffner aged 28 married Annie Gilchrist aged 26 of Navidale. Annie's parents were George Gilchrist and Catherine Gilchrist, nee Frazer.

Thank you.

Left by Kym Adams on 2009-10-15 19:24:49

Message to Claire Hayes guestbook comment 26 October 2008.
Claire, I'm in South Australia and have a little info on the family history.
Get me by the email link.

Left by ANDREW SUTHERLAND ALLEN on 2009-10-15 10:16:05


Left by ANDREW SUTHERLAND ALLEN on 2009-10-15 10:08:26


Left by Mike Cowie on 2009-10-02 13:30:26

Hi to
James cowie who left a message for me on on 2008-08-01
Just found out through another cousin in Inverness you were trying to get in touch.
Your dad my uncle Ian who was known as pea and ham in the dale
If you want to get in touch email me

Left by Brian Hodgson on 2009-10-01 11:54:41

Brian, brother of Ian Mackay Hodgson son of Barbara (Ne Mackay) and Leslie Hodgson had some great holidays on golf road and remember Edwin Stewart singing songs like nobody,s child, what a star. Also remember going to a dance at Golspie village hall with mum a dad.Also remember Ted and Jeanie Innes (Ted with the pipe) I remember Uncle Whim and the Austin 1100 (what a car) from Helmsdale to Golspie and back in a flash, I loved it. Uncle Bob worked on the helmsdale sation I remember the bump on his head, a lovely man. Days on the beach at Portgower. I remember Mary, mother of Edwin. Memories flooding back after reading through the mails. Hope you are all doing well and one day I will get back, Helmsdale has some strong memories that need to be refreshed.

Regards to all
Twinkle Toes (10 minutes of glory playing on the wing in a football match)

Left by Issie Horribine on 2009-09-25 17:18:28

Sorry forgot to mention what a great site and glad someone is keeping Helmsdale on the map and great to see the old photo's

Left by Issie Horribine on 2009-09-25 16:33:38

I am related to the Sinclair clan in Helmsdale, My Granda was Donald Sinclair, my mother is Rene Sinclair , who's siblings where (Nannny, Bunty, Dally, Moira, Don, James & Joan) Sinclair, I have spent most of my younger (days) holidays in Hemsdlae and Brora and loved every minute of it, from the Helmsdale Gala days when you went out on the boats( If we could get the parents from the Marquee on time) and now that I I have my own family ( two boys and Husband ) they all love coming up to Helmsdale for fishing and enjoying the peaceful way of life and getting the History and stories of Helmsdale in the early days. (Ps I have some photos I could send you for you records)

Left by Robert andrew on 2009-09-22 08:53:04

great site..very fond memories of helmsdale and gartymore..especially the croft in gartymore, known as Ivy house..on the death of our mother in sister emily and I lived with our grandmother Mary Anderson (nee Cruickshank) and her brother and sister John and Jessie Cruickshank, my sister Emily lived with them till our grannie died in 1946...she attended the school in helmsdale until 1946, so will be quite familiar to, and with a few of the people in these comments...I will tell her about this site..very interesting...keep up the good work....Robin Andrew

Left by Terri baston (nee etheridge) on 2009-09-16 09:04:49

checked those pictures ,sadly not my dad .he was born feb 1932 and the picture was on the old site,2006-7, was taken in the 50s ,he was with a group leaning against awall or lamp post,cant quiet remember .but thanks very much for thinking of me.

Left by Terri baston on 2009-09-12 16:24:02

love the web site,reading about the families of helmsdale .i spent many a summer at my grannies ,marion etheridge while growing up at stafford street.then in the early 70s just up from the harbour.sadly she died 1976 .i then only came up for family weddings brother and his son still visit ,john and daniel staying with jean etheridge.i check the site many times hoping to see if any mention of my father the late john etheridge ,sadly there has been no mention .i would love to hear any stories you may have of him growing up ,his family was cathy she married an american,daisy ,donnie eddie .i remember jappy ,sandie and margaret as his friends we used to visit,on some of the old photos on the school house there is apicture of donnie etheridge but none of the rest of the family.on the old site there used to be a picture of my dad with some friends standing on the street corner by a shop but it isnt on this new site.i would love to hear via this site of anyone who remembers him .heres hoping

Left by Chris Joaquim on 2009-09-11 01:59:19

Hello from Arizona, USA
My 3X Great grandparents, Donald & Catherine Mackenzie, lived in Helmsdale. One of their daughter's family were Innkeepers on Stafford St.
Another daughter's family were the Innkeepers in Portgower for over 30 years in the mid to late 1800's.

Left by Elizabeth Gair on 2009-09-03 15:09:10

I was in contact with Louise-Belin from Canada some time ago about our Gordon family from Helmsdale .I know she made a visit this year to the UK and to Helmsdale to see a new relative .I have mailed her many times with no reply .Does anyone out there have contact with her please let me know .Maybe she has changed her e-mail address She was to make a trip to Helmsdale with another relative of the Gordon family from South Shields .To have a talk at timepast
Elizabeth Gair

Left by Rob Fraser on 2009-09-01 11:05:45

I am looking for some Helmsdale residents who lived in the area in late 1944 or some local historians. I was recently told when I was an infant I was transported from Helmsdale on a Canadian destroyer, the HMS Ottawa, to family in Nova Scotia, after my mother was killed in V2 raids in London and my father, a Canadian sailor, was in service the Med.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Left by Olivia Elayne Murray on 2009-08-29 10:08:47

If there is anything that I have learned it is patience when it comes to volunteered info on grandad.This means more than the world to me as he every day that he is not here thankyou yours truly,olivia

Left by Anon on 2009-08-18 15:23:47

Message for Peter MacPherson

Your a blast from the past and I remember you. I heard from a friend that you had posted a wee message but they never saw you on the day.

Did you manage to make it to the games?, you would have had a brilliant day. There are quite a few who come back to meet the folks and visit the old place, it's quite a home coming day, and night.

Left by Ian Mackay Hodgson on 2009-08-15 01:34:14

Hello Sandra Jones nee Carthew
I am Ian my mother was Barbara, sister to your mother

Left by Ker hamilton on 2009-08-14 23:55:27

looking forward the the highland games hope the weather stays dry and everyone has fun cya all their.

Left by Georgina James on 2009-08-11 15:48:57

The Site..................
The Place ..............
The People.............
The Best !!!!!!!!!!

and looking forward to visiting in October xx

Left by Annie Cormack on 2009-08-11 12:05:20

My Mum (Lulu Cormack) is currently in hospital so will not be at the Games this year. Anyone who knows her will know that the Games are the highlight of her year. So, I was wondering if anyone could email me photos of the Chieftain's Parade ( including the Chieftan, Standard Bearers etc). I will then print them off and take them through to her so that she still feels part of this special day.

Thanks in advance and enjoy the Games!!!

Left by John Gordon on 2009-08-09 22:02:59

Hello from Arizona!
My traveling companions and I visited Helmsdale on 20/07/2009. We stopped there to eat lunch on our way into the Highlands. We all had a very enjoyable meal at La Mirage restaurant. Great food and a lot of it! I used your website to help put captions with my photos taken during that visit.

Left by Esther McDonald on 2009-08-03 00:23:37

Hello Stephanie,
Yes the Inn in Portgower is still there but is now a croft house in which my mother lives.
It was built in 1813 by Sutherland Estates and there is a crest with date above the door.
I have photographs of Portgower and the Inn from maybe the 1890's.
Hope this helps.

Left by Stephanie Perkin on 2009-07-31 16:12:30

Hello from NZ,
I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Inn at Portgower is still there? My Great-Great Grandfather John James Potter Thomson was born there in 1841 while his father was the innkeeper. Where would I be able to find any history about the inn? I have not yet made it to Scotland but hope to visit in the near future.
Thanks so much, Stephanie.

Left by David Mason on 2009-07-28 00:42:07

Dear Olivia,
I will contact Joan this morning at 09.00 uk time, I hope this will help you get in touch with her.
David Mason

Left by Olivia E Murray on 2009-07-27 13:07:40

Joan Murray I have tried many times to get in touch with you re:Peter Murray born 1886 sutherlandshire to margret and george Murray however we keep missing each other.This is highly important to me,thankyou.

Left by Peter McPherson on 2009-06-20 21:02:43

Hi there,
Came upon your site whilst looking for the date of this years highland games.
I spent some great times in Helmsdale in the 70's as a pupil of Hyndland Secondary, Glasgow, during our school camps for two weeks every July. I enjoyed the place so much I even returned as a staff member on a few occasions. Hope to get up to the games this year to catch up with some old school friends if they are still around.

Left by Ian & Janice Sinclair on 2009-06-18 09:38:50

Hi Maureen & Dave
Just been going through your website, you have put a lot of work into it, and I congratulate you and Maureen for your efforts, keeping the village of Helmsdale on the map.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of the Highland Games Committee, for all the help you have given us throughout the years, and hope to see you Games day this year 15th August.
Cheers for now
Ian & Janice

Left by Jeremy woodruff on 2009-06-12 14:00:00

a friend and me stayed at Ruuard B&B on our way cycling up to John O'Groats from Lands End.

We had a great time at Ruuard and Maggie was s uperb host - very friendly and helpful. The B&B was very comfortable, warm and the fscilities were all to a high standard. If only Man Utd had beaten Barcelona on the night we stayed the visit would have been perfect - oh well, such is life.

Highly recommended.

Left by Thomas Kirke Murray III on 2009-06-07 12:16:28

Great site!. Regrettably I'll never be able to visit the area in person - I'm three old (= too old +1) and must do all my traveling via the internet. This is the closest I can come to visiting the place where my many greats Grandfather came from. Thank you for a wonderful visit.

Left by MacCoinnich on 2009-05-12 06:46:45

I visited Helmsdale last weekend as a member of Siol nan Gaidheal. I just want to thank the locals at the Belgrave for their hospitality. I had great craic and would recommend a visit to anyone who hasn't been yet.Taing gu mòr a' charaidean

Left by Elizabeth Gair on 2009-05-07 14:44:55

Can anyone tell me if anyone in Helmsdale had a nick name Casidey Cow
as my dad used to talk about this person .
I too have visited Helmsdale and I too am related to John Polson and Christina Ross .Seems there's a good lot of us out there


Left by Mairi MacKay on 2009-05-04 02:01:47

I am Mairi MacKay youngest daughter of John & Peggy MacKay.
I have two older sisters Jeanne and Catriona.

Mum remembers Tom Morrice very well, and I can remember going out on the dredger - despite only being 6 years old when we left Helmsdale.
Peggy recalls Jeanne aged 11 creaping out of the house at 4am one morning, taking her American cousin of the same age to go and catch the dredger going out on the early tide. When asked by Tom what they were doing out so early Jeanne apparently replied "it's OK Mr Morrice, my cousin has never been on a dredger" talking her way on board. Poor Tom was unwittingly talked into taking the two out to sea to empty the boat!

We are HOMECOMING at Spring Bank for a week and bringing mum with us.

Left by Elizabeth Gair on 2009-04-29 15:13:56

I have been reading about John Polson and find he was the son of my great aunt Flora Mckenzie
she was the sister of Alexander Mckenzie who married Janet Mackay Gordon . I visited Helmsdale in September 2008 and stayed for one night at the postmans house we had a lovely stay. In the house visiting the Postman was a Mckenzie but he would not come to talk to me that was a pity as I am searching my Mckenzie family from Helmsdale
Alexander and Janets son Adam Mckenzie b 1953 was my grt grandfather he sailed to New Zealand1877 from Glasgow with his wife and family on the Canterbury like John ,sailing with John were Adams sister Mina and brother James this must have inspired Adam to go to New Zealand .I am intersted in anyone who is related to these people
Elizabeth ( nee Mckenzie )

Left by Myra MacDonald on 2009-04-22 13:26:30

Hi my name is Myra. I came across this site while trying to trace my family tree. I know my Granny, Margaret Rae(formally cowie) came from Helmsdale and her parents were Hugh and Cherrie Cowie and her siblings were, George, Billy, Moira, Brenda, Esther and Kathleen.

I was wondering if there was maybe someone who could help me trace other family members

If so you can email me at :

Left by John N Sutherland on 2009-04-17 14:55:46

Great to see you are still at the site, Davie. Good memories of our chats when we worked in the Bell St Tech in Dundee together. Was up in Helmsdale some years back with the family. Could still find the route to my grandparents' house by memory. Nearly decided to buy the pub in Stafford Street where old grandpa John Hugh Fraser went to nurse a whisky of an evening. Freaked my family of lowlanders out!

Moved on, physically. Now living in Skelmorlie in Ayrshire with lovely views into Argyll and Bute. Love to all in Tayport. Blessings!

Left by Stewart Dodd on 2009-04-14 12:55:53

Hi David & Maureen,
I have just visited the website for the first time in a while, ashamedly as being an 'exile', living in Dundee I should be visiting the site more often as it packed with loads of information and memories for me . I find it refreshing to see that you are constantly updating and refreshing the look of the site and ensuring that it is kept user friendly and responsive, a failing of others I have seen and used. The fruits of your labours can be measured in the many responses there are posted in the guest book from around the world. Well done on your continuing success in promoting Helmsdale to everyone especially all the 'expats' around the country and the far reaches of the world.

Left by Gary paterson on 2009-04-13 15:03:28

hi there,ive just stumbled across your website and i think its brilliant,i was wondering if any one can help me trace a donald or donnie paterson,he will be in his sixtys ,he moved to the area mabe 37 years ago ,any help would be appreciated,and keep up the good work with your sight ,kind regards gary paterson

Left by Joan Fishwick(nee Speakman) on 2009-04-02 02:47:30

I have posted photos on the Kinbrace page and on the photo gallery.
I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. I lived at the Station house, Kinbrace in the 50's when my father was the Station Master. I went to the school in Kinbrace. Mrs Mackenzie was the teacher!

I live in Wigan, Lancashire,England. My father is still alive 87 this year and my sister Maureen who was born in Helmsdale lives in Georgia, USA.

thats all folks for now. Joan.

Left by Pete Carson on 2009-03-28 07:58:07

I left a comment before but it never appeared - but I was the local "Bobby" up in Helmsdale for 5 years and have to say that I fell in love with the place and the whole area. Also I met some great folk and I still go back when I can - and am looking forward to the Helmsdale Games this year !!!

Left by Chris Dooks on 2009-02-23 15:05:54

I have fallen in love with Helmsdale since being commissioned by the local children and Timespan to be the first Icehouse artist in residence! I'm halfway through my work here right now and you can follow it at - see my work there and please EVERYONE is welcome at the exhibition on April 10th and beyond 2009!

Left by Joan Murray on 2009-02-23 15:02:04

message for Olivia Murray

Have tried e mailing you several times about Peter Murray, but with no success. Would you like to try contacting me again? I'm fairly certain Peter is one of ours! Regards, Joan

Left by Chris Genge on 2009-02-03 22:13:59

Hello All,

I'd like to say a big thankyou to all the Helmies who made my stay in Helmsdale a memorable experience. The town is a wonderful place and the pubs full of friendly locals, willing to give advise to a complete stranger about the surrounding area.
I came to see where my family came from (John Polson and Christina Ross), and to meet any distant relations who were still there. It was good to meet the Timespan Team and amusing to find them reading mums book. It was fantastic to visit the remains of the house at Marrel, although getting to it was a real mission with the heather being so thick. Little did I know you can just walk along the railway and jump the fence.
I look forward to visiting again in the near distant future though not until the snow passes!


Chris Genge

Left by James Sutherland MacLeod on 2009-01-23 16:53:47

Hello to everyone in the Helmsdale area, I have enjoyed very much reading through the information on the site and would like to ask for the assistance of anyone who may have any information about my great grandparents or any other family members.
My Great grandfather was named Angus MacLeod and his wife, my great grand mother was named Elizabeth MacLeod Nee Munro.

My Grandfather was James MacLeod born in the year 1876 and was i believe a cattle drover.
He moved to work in the Iron foundries in the Falkirk area where he married my grand mother Helen Brisbane MacLeod nee McNeill and they had their family there.

I believe there is some connection to the Gunn family that extended to Thurso.

This is all the information i have at present, but woul greatly appreciate any additional information on my family history in the Sutherland area.

It is interesting to find both in my name and that of my father a middle name of Sutherland, perhaps there is a connection with the local estate.

Many thaks for allowing me the opportunity to correspond with all patrons of this site.

Best regards for the future to all,

James MacLeod.


Left by Sandra Barnes(nee Dodd) on 2009-01-23 13:14:34

I just wondered if anyone in Helmsdale might have school photos of my mum Margaret Cormack(Dodd) and my Aunt Alice Cormack who managed the Co-op all her life. Unfortunately family photos of that time were aciddentally burnt, so we have no record of what they were like at school age. I think they were in school probably from around 1923. I would be very pleased if someone has photos of that time.
Regards Sandra Barnes(Dodd)

Left by Lynette Lynton on 2009-01-20 03:04:13

What a wonderful site, brought back many happy memories of childhood visits!

Thank you

Left by Sandra Jones nee Carthew on 2009-01-11 16:37:02

Just reading through your guestbook,I believe Kath Mcakay is looking for relatives of her father Les,my mother was Kitty Mackay sister to Les,s mother who I knew as May.I only met Les a few times before he emigrated as we live in Hereford ,England My father was Len Carthew,who has only recently died.Would be nice to here from Les as i don't think we have met in about 45 years.also I may be able to help with some of the family tree

Left by Olivia murray on 2009-01-11 03:32:19

Hello Helmsdale! Looking for connections to Peter Murray born in 1886 kildonan,sutherlandshire,helmsdale.A war veteran of Vimyridge France ww1.This has been a passion for many decades.At the end oif his life was heartbreaking I really feel a strong connection with a man I never knew.If anyone at all has any information[volunteer] shall greatly be appreciated. Yours,Olivia Murray.

Left by Rab and Liz Taylor on 2009-01-06 16:54:04

Great site and very well laid out. Look forward to visiting this charming wee corner in April. Ta fae Ayr

Left by Steven cowie on 2009-01-02 19:36:45

Excellent site sir.

Although myself, my brother carl and sister evelyn were born in the Pope, until today i knew nothing of its origin and history.

mr neil bullen, posting below, i remember your daughter, Corin, i think, as being a pal of my sister evelyn. my particular memory is of her running wild(ish) during a mr stone free church service!!

Left by Antony Innes on 2008-12-26 17:22:14

Great site David. Hope you are all well. Enjoy the New Year just listening to Cathel Innes' CD about Helmsdale and showing the kids pictures of their Uncles and Aunties - great times. Thanks again. Happy New Year to all the Innes' around the World. Tony Innes

Left by BRIAN MILLS on 2008-12-18 11:03:55

My mate Graham Pollard and I recently completed a 80 mile hike, over 6 days, from Kildonan to Inverness, and raised £1304.00 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

We stayed over at Helmsdale on the Friday evening and a special thank you to big Andy Sutherland who donated £40.00 for the cause.....cheers Andy !!!

Graham had never been this high up on Scotland and was blown away by the scenery and the friendliness of everyone

Left by Ross Polson on 2008-12-13 00:37:01

To Ann Hampson: Yes, Adair's 'Kith and Kin' is a real treasure. My dad indirectly contributed some of the family stories in it via my sister-in-law Ruth Polson. Would love to read more of your family stories - can you email me?

Left by Suzanne West on 2008-12-08 18:25:23

My family heritage originates in Helmsdale and I am looking forward to one day visiting!

Left by Peter MacKay on 2008-11-26 02:40:35

My wife and I were in Helmsdale in 1998 and stayed at the Bunulli Inn. My ancestors Peter McKay & Betcey Fergusson and their children lived at Borrobole and left for Pictou in NovaScotia in 1810. Peter was a miller and farmer. In '98 the homestead was owned and occupied by Michael Wigan and his family.

Left by Tom Morrice on 2008-11-18 20:42:11


my father, same name as myself, was Master of the Dredger "Sandchime" and on several occasions my mother and I stayed with her brother, George Troup and his wife in Portgower. They subsequently moved to Shore St, Helmsdale, next to Customs' House and when we next visited Helmsdale, we were next door neighbours of the McKay family (Joey, Ann and Innes).

I went to school in Helmsdale, during the time my father was working in the harbour and I have fond memories of my time there, although this was over 70 years ago. I still have some old photographs of this time and I will pass them to you once I get them "dug out."

I often wonder what happened to all my school friends from that time, although, of course I knew that Joey's husband Harry died some years ago. My wife, Edith died in 2001, but I have since remarried and it is my hope that we will be able to make a trip north to visit so many places I recall from that time.

Best wishes to all in the town.


Tom Morrice (Now living in Irvine, Ayrshire)

Left by Harold Armstrong on 2008-11-05 12:24:26

I travel from Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland every year for the salmon fishing in the great Helmsdale River. It is the highlight of my year to spemd 3/4 days fishing. I have been travelling to Helmsdale now for this past 5 years, and every year justs gets better and better. My thanks must go to Mr. Robb Henderson and Mr. Peter Quill who are my hosts and have been looking after me for these past 5 years. They are 2 great Scottish gentlemen, thanks again boys. A.greatful
Harold Armstrong.

Left by Neil Bullen on 2008-10-30 16:27:59

We moved up to Helmsdale in January 1976 and I worked as teacher of P4-7 at Kinbrace Primary school with Esther Harrison for 2 yrs before going back home to Lancashire. We lived in Simpson Crescent in Helmsdale. I enjoyed your site and found some of the names mentioned familiar.I have a Canadian collegue at work who is called Sutherland and he is hoping to trace his Scottish roots while teaching over here.I will show him your site it may help him get started

Left by Duke & Darla on 2008-10-28 23:04:14

This is to say how much we enjoyed our visit to Helmsdale this past summer. We came in August, and our visit unexpectedly coincided the Highland Games. Helmsdale was not on our schedule, but the Games caught our attention and lured us in. We spent a wonderful day filled with bagpipe music, good food and drink, the skill of enthusiastic athletes, and the pure joy of life in the Highlands. Thank you for a hospitable welcome, and thank you also for embracing us as full-fledged (if temporary) members of the community. You do warm welcomes very well indeed. We hope to return as time (and budgets) allow.

Duke & Darla
West Virginia

Left by Claire Hayes on 2008-10-26 13:15:50

Greetings - I am a fourth generation Australian, my great great grandparents donald bruce and his wife barbara fraser emmigrated to south australia in 1855 on the flora. I have just begun researching by family history and was very please to find your website. It is so fulfilling to find where your ancestors originated and to see images as well. I would be interested to hear if there are any Helmies who have a connection to the fraser or the bruces. thanks so much for such a great website

Left by Psy-clone on 2008-10-24 16:06:53

we are the latest rock band in helmsdale we need some gigs anywere, please contact me!

Left by John West on 2008-10-24 10:40:41

It was good to see that my former colleague and friend Andy Raffan is taking some high class photographs.

Left by Alex Raffan on 2008-10-13 16:04:44

What a great site and what wonderful memories i have of Helmsdale and Gartymore, they are little vague now as it has been nearly 40 years since i holidayed there, the rolling hills the golf course, fishing, the trip to get there.....took nearly 2 days from Falkirk..but always a happy face on the people you spoke to, one day i will be back and once again enjoy the friendly faces and people of Helmsdale and especially of Gartymore

Left by Helen cowie on 2008-10-06 20:32:27

message for james cowie , please get in touch regarding the family name and history.
From your cousin helen

Left by David Mason on 2008-09-22 11:11:05

Do you have ancestors or relatives from Helmsdale or the surrounding area or do you have something to talk about perhaps village life, wind farms, the cost of petrol-diesel in the highlands. We now have a community forum section.

So get chatting

Left by Anna Reid & Bob Pullen on 2008-09-13 22:14:40

What a lovely website, so informative. We found it whilst looking on rightmove for property in the area with a view to moving up and starting a wildlife garden for disabled photographers and artists (and anyone who's interested). We know many areas of Scotland but this one is new to us and reading all about it on this site has really whetted our interest. We're looking forward to staying in Farr Cottage in October!
Kind regards,
Anna & Bob

Left by Ann Hampson on 2008-09-11 13:47:03

Hello Ross Polson . My Great Grandfather William Polson was the brother of John Polson. You must know Adair Polson Genge in New Zealand who has written a wonderful book about John Polsons descendants. I was born in Edinburgh and now live in England. I find the guest book fascinating. Regards Ann Hampson.

Left by Jan Gordon on 2008-09-11 11:27:18

I first visited Helmsdale by chance with my young family back in 2003. We were on our way to Orkney and were driving up to Scrabster for the ferry. My little girl gets very car sick and the roads on the way to Helmsdale didn't agree with her so we had to stop at the first place we could to clean her up - we had never been to nor heard of Helmsdale before as we hadn't ever been travelling the east coast highlands. We were absolutely blown away by its beauty! After visiting the centre and getting some good background history we then visited La Mirage - my husband still raves about the fish and chips to this day! I loved Helmsdale very much and made a point of returning with my family in 2004. We stayed at the youth hostel and dined out at a place that I can't spell but was pronounced the BUNNILA? Fantastic seafood. I had really wanted to walk in the hills but the midges were eating us alive outside the youth hostel so we headed for the castle at Dunrobin. I haven't managed to get back but would dearly love to visit again. Is the BUNNILA still there? When is the best time to come and walk in the hills? I love Helmsdale so much that I wonder if I have any family ancestory there? I am a Gordon but from Glasgow and don't know much at all about the family history, so I'll need to find out.

Left by Jen Bradshaw on 2008-09-02 05:04:46

Hello. I am the great-great grand daughter of Major Donald Sutherland (b.1852) and of William McAngus (b. 1879).

My great-grandmother, Evelyn (Eva) Sutherland (b. 1894) married George McAngus (b. 1879) and had my grandmother, Eva McAngus (b. 1923) as well as Isobel, Marjorie, Helen and Donald.

Robert McAngus, a cousin of my grandmother, Eva, was writing to her and her husband, Syd, in 1995/1996. At that time, Robert and his wife lived at Glebe House, Helmsdale. I was wondering if he or his wife, Ena still reside there and if so, if they would be willing to contact me?

I would also be delighted to hear from any of my other relatives still living in Helmsdale.

William McAngus had 4 sons - James, William Jr, Alexander and George.

That's about all the information I have.


Left by Gillian Kerr on 2008-08-31 15:45:30

Have just finished looking through your excellent site. I wonder if there is anyone who could help me. I am trying to trace my grandmother's family. My grandmother was born in Helmsdale in around 1904, her father's name was Mcangus, and he was drowned at the entarnce to the new harbour in around 1907. My greatgrandmother then left helmsdale with her 2 children, aged 3 and 2 yrs, and followed the herring fleet to Eyemouth. She then abandoned ther two girls and left them in the care of a friend. My grandmother's name was Mary ( helen or Ellen) and her sister was Katherine ( Kate). Many thanks.

Left by Louise Belin on 2008-08-30 21:25:22

Thank you, Dave and Maureen. If it hadn't been for your great web-site I would never have known my cousin Gerry was living in your beautiful village She is my cousin that I knew nothing of. Thank you once again.
Louise Belin

Left by Lisa Pries on 2008-08-28 21:18:35

I enjoyed reading your website and just recently visited Helmsdale for the Highland games.
Such a wonderful town in the beauty of the hills. Enjoyed the people and the food (Gilbert's is a fantastic place for food and chat).
I hope to return sometime in the not to distant future.

Lisa Pries
Oregon, USA

Left by Louise Belin on 2008-08-16 22:28:24

Dear Gerry,
What a surprise when I received an e-mail from you. I assume this is where you found me. There are so many questions I have regarding the Gordon family. I know the siblings names but little else. I hope that the day will come when I may meet you. Do you have family and where in England did you live?
Hope to hear from you soon

Left by JEAN DEAN on 2008-08-14 21:42:18

am the great grand daughter of ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND who was born 1 October 1861 in Helmsdale, Kildonian, Sutherland. He married CATHERINE FRANCES ROBERTSON on 29 December 1887 in Glasgow (she died 23 May 1899 in Glasgow). They had 4 children - CHRISTINE, WALTER, JANET MILLER SUTHERLAND AND WILLIAM SUTHERLAND.
Janet is my grand mother - she was botn in Glasgow on 9 April 1893. She died in Tynemouth 1983. Please contact if you have any information about my family. This is my new email address. Many thanks Jean

Left by Ross Polson on 2008-08-04 02:31:55

What a great site! Thanks so much. My great grandparents were Helmsdale people Christina (nee Ross) and John Polson who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1860s and settled in the Lindis area of Central Otago. We have visited Helmsdale and loved it. It's really good to be able to read the local news about Helmsdale and the history. Keep up the good work!

Left by James cowie on 2008-08-02 11:28:59

can anybody help i am trying to trace my family history they were localy known as the balls grandfather was francis cowie my father is called john (ian) uncles included are francis - peter-alistair-sandy-aunties -beril-janet
can anybody help me as keep hitting brick walls cant find anything about them anything would be appreciated thank you

Left by James cowie on 2008-08-01 17:53:23

to mike cowie sad to here that the fly has passed away i was on the site to find out about the family name and what we were called before cowie
how are you doin can you help me with some history thanks i am ian cowie son

Left by James on 2008-07-31 15:45:38

I thank you having a place in my heart and hope one day if money and work permit that I might come to end my days in my beautiful Helmsdale. I've been away since a young child and have lost my scottish accent, so speak with an English tounge, BUT MY HEART WILL ALWAYS BE IN Helmsdale.

Left by Nicola Crowie on 2008-07-30 21:25:41

I hope that one day I will be able to come and see Helmsdale for myself. I know that I have distant cousins living there. If any MacNicols read this and would like to get in touch I would love to hear from you!

Left by Iris murray New Zealand on 2008-07-23 03:21:20

This site has been a pleasure to read through. My mother (who sadly died recently) was is from Kildonan, Marion Margaret Ross Murray. Mom ws brought up at Kildonan House. My sister is travelling to Kildonan on the 28th of July and will be bringing my mon's ashes to Kildonan (this is where mom requested they be scattered) to mom's old home and where she played as a child. I am in New Zealand and unable to make the journey but i was hoping that there may be someone who could tell me how i might be able to contact a Piper who might be available and willing to pipe a tune for my mom at the time my sister scatters mom's ashes (29th) (the venue will be outside Kildonan House - which is where mom spent her childhood). Many thanks for any help. I am hoping very very much to be able to visit Helmsdale in the next year and your webpage is a great incentive.

Left by Louise Belin from Canada on 2008-07-15 20:45:14

What a great web-site. My grandfather Charles Hugh Munro Gordon youngest son of John Gordon (master shoemaker) andElizabeth (Betsyann) Munro was born in Helmsdale in 1866 and immigrated to Canada in 1882. I had the pleasure of just driving thru your lovely village last August. What a pretty spot. I would love to go back and spend some time there.I've done my genealogy on the Gordon family and I do know that John's father was another John and his mother was Marion McLeod..
His siblings were Jessie b. 1853 a young child,John b. 25 Aug. 1855, Alexander b. 17 Sept 1859, Marion b, 22 Apr. 1862 and my grandfather.
Are there any Gordons in Helmsdale and if so would there be any that I could be related to?
Keep up the great job.
Louise Belin

Left by Gemma Mcginnity on 2008-07-08 22:27:08

My family and I stayed in the village in early June at Lobster Ponds.The house was gorgeous and the views were magnificent. The people in the village were very friendly and helpfull,especially with information on Gold Panning, and Sea Fishing. We even did well with the weather! The best relaxing holiday by far.

Left by John mills on 2008-07-08 10:34:03

My name is John Mills ( 78 years ) and I have been visiting this lovely village since I was a boy. My mother Jessie Sutherland was born and raised at Golf Road and the house is still standing today.

I stay at the superb Customs House Bed and Breakfast ( easily the best !) at the Harbour ran by Ann Mcdonald and her husband John.

After a monster big breakfast we ( with my son Brian and Paddy the dog) visit as many places as we can within Sutherland

Many of the villagers who are related to me (all be it distantly) are still around, and I enjoy hearing the stories of the villagers and their experiences of Helmsdale.

Hello to all the regulars at "The Bannock" not forgetting the landlord Gerry too !!

Left by John mills on 2008-07-08 10:34:03

My name is John Mills ( 78 years ) and I have been visiting this lovely village since I was a boy. My mother Jessie Sutherland was born and raised at Golf Road and the house is still standing today.

I stay at the superb Customs House Bed and Breakfast ( easily the best !) at the Harbour ran by Ann Mcdonald and her husband John.

After a monster big breakfast we ( with my son Brian and Paddy the dog) visit as many places as we can within Sutherland

Many of the villagers who are related to me (all be it distantly) are still around, and I enjoy hearing the stories of the villagers and their experiences of Helmsdale.

Hello to all the regulars at "The Bannock" not forgetting the landlord Gerry too !!

Left by Iain Sutherland on 2008-06-29 08:48:48

any family wishing to make contact feel free glad to hear from you

Left by Iain sutherland on 2008-06-29 08:27:47

interesting my sister allison found this site quite by accident my late father alec murdo sutherland and his family were and still are helmsdale residents my cousin andrew still lives there so does my cousin ronald the majority of the family now resides in inverness i still keep in touch with my cousin derek mcrae seeing the pictures of the old football clubs seeing my dad and my cousins brings a smile to my face and my grandfather was the harbourmaster for some time my mother jeanette sutherland passed away recently i wish id found it while she was still alive she would of enjoyed it im sure for me i still have fond memories of my time in helmsdale having been born there and returned in 1982 for a helping of scottish culture proud transplanted scot iain sutherland

Left by Allison Levesque ( Sutherland) on 2008-06-20 19:09:05

Came across this site while looking up some family crest information and stayed on it for some time. Really enjoyed surfing around it. My fathers family(Alexander Murdo Sutherland) is from Helmsdale and I visited once at the age of 14 and loved it. Most of the family have now dispersed to Inverness?? But still have Uncle Roddy and Auntie Georgina in Helmsdale?? and maybe a few more?

Left by Catriona Barclay daughter of Billy Miller on 2008-06-10 20:16:00

Billy has heard of the site and would love to get in touch please foward contact details

Left by Ronnie Wilkie on 2008-05-29 14:39:19

I have fond memories of Helmsdale having spent my honeymoon there in 1969. I was stationed at Fort George at the time with the 1st Bn The Royal Highland Fusiliers. If memory serves me correctly we stayed at a house called Gharti Mhor as guests of a Mr & Mrs Willie Trotter.
My wife and I intend to return to Helmsdale at the end of June this year, I doubt if it has changed much.

I 'm very impressed with your website.

Left by Kathryn Mckay on 2008-05-19 15:18:20

greetings from New Zealand I'm Kath, Leslie Mckay's daugther ,
the updated site looks great and I know Dad reads it often

I'm working on the our family tree again but due to pc problems I've lost a few contacts

if your related to Les ( he is 1st son of MaryAnn Mackay, daughter of John Mackay and Maryann Innes ) he used to live in the house with the Blue window frames at he end of a street one back from the Habour

I would love to hear from you and any info you have on the family so I can update the tree

Left by Doreen Johnstone on 2008-05-11 14:07:17

For Lorraine Cowley,thank you for message about Blly,it would be lovely to get in touch with him.Doreen[ Mclennan] Johnstone.I spelt my name wrong in my original message.Thank you.

Left by Ron ELY on 2008-04-28 16:59:17

I am researching my maternal Scottish roots which, currently, lead back to a Clunes GILCHRIST who we believe was born in Culgower around 1787. He was married twice and is buried with his first wife in the Loth burial ground beside some other GILCHRISTs.

An old aunt provided a note written about 1950 relating what the writer had found in a vist to Helmsdale in about 1915. He was told, he said, that 12 GILCHRIST men fought at Waterloo. But it has not ben possible to identify who these might have been or, indeed, how many returned. I am fairly sure that I have identified about four of Clunes brothers and have developed their families but none of this helps with - 'who were the parents'?

If anyone is interested in the GILCHRISTs and who, hopefully, may have some snippets of information that could take me back a generation, I'd love to hear from them.

Clunes started out as an agricultural labourer, then a crofter and finally a fish-curer living on his croft on the Garty shore at Gartymore just outside Helmsdale between the A9 and the sea!

Clunes GILCHRIST married Isobel MacKAY in 1812
They has eight children:
Ann 1813
Christian 1816
Catherine 1818 (Went to Fraserburgh and married a HOWATT)
Robert Nelson 1820 (Discovered gold in Kildonan 1868/9)
Isabella 1822 (Went to London and married a TASKER)
John 1826 (Went to Fraserburgh and married a WILSON)
Rachel 1831 (Went to Fraserburgh and married a REID)

Isobel died in 1834 and Clunes remarried in 1835 to Isabella McPHERSON
They had three further children
Hugh 1836 (Died of TB in 1859)
Roberta 1838 (Married a WATSON and took over Gartymore croft)
Jane 1841

I am happy to exchange information with any other genuine researcher.

Ron ELY (Oxford, England)

Left by Mike Gill on 2008-04-22 20:19:28

To Wendy Simpson - If you contact me, I could perhaps help with information on the Belgrave Arms Hotel.

Left by Mike Gill on 2008-04-22 20:19:28

To Wendy Simpson - If you contact me, I could perhaps help with information on the Belgrave Arms Hotel.

Left by Danielle Barry on 2008-04-22 00:48:35

Hello All, and thank you David and Maureen for this terrific site.

I am searching for POLSON's. Nathaniel POSLON born 1796 in Kildonan, is shown as a Stone Mason from Helmsdale in 1836. He is the son of Alexander POLSON and Margaret ROSS. Nathaniel married Johanna Morrison. Their daughter Margaret POLSON married Hugh ROSS.

Best Wishes


Left by Kim Logan on 2008-04-21 03:20:10

I have several Ross’s and Campbell’s from Loth, Durness, Helmsdale Sutherland. I thought perhaps we could exchange some information if any of the below looks familiar.

For example:
Alexander Campbell Miller b. 1756 married Christian Sinclair b. 1760. Their children, all born in Loth I believe, Eupham b. 1787, William b. 1784 and Louisa Luzy b. 1782.

Louisa married Duncan Ross b. 1778 in Durness. They had Hugh b. 1815 pilot, Christy b. 1811, Alexandrina 1822, Margaret 1821, John 1811, William 1806 (he was a grocer on Dunrobin Street Helmsdale) and Alexander 1814.

Eupham (Effie) married a William Ross weaver from Saingomore. (More Ross’s hurray!!)

Hugh died in 1856.
Alexandrina married Maurice Scanlan b. 1815 Ireland
John married Margaret Findlay b. 1813

William Campbell b. 1784 married a Catherine and had two sons, Alexander 1805 and Donald 1807. Donald married Catherine Wallace b. 1819 from Rossshire. Donald stayed in Farr and was a farmer. They had several children.

Hope to hear from someone!

All the best, Kim Logan
Beautiful Vancouver Island

Left by Joan Murray on 2008-04-09 15:42:59

Good to get a minute to catch up on the site

Message for Olivia Elayne Murray:-
Saw your message recently, after being off line for a while.
If you get in touch with me direct, iI may be able to give you some info on Peter Murray

Left by Lorraine cowley on 2008-04-09 14:08:48

Left by Doreen Joohnstone [McLennan] on 2007-11-20 18:45:12.
hi my name is lorraine i know billy millar i have spoken with him, he would like to contact you and chat about life,if you reply to this message with your email or telephone number privately or on this guest book i will forward it to billy at work, thank you lorraine

Left by Veronica Schreuder on 2008-04-06 21:36:14

My grandad William Mackay was born in Helmsdale in 1927 and lived there until near the end of the war when he came to Edinburgh where he still lives. He had a brother called Thomas who has passed away.
We have been up to visit Helmsdale a number of times and I love the beautiful scenery and the people there are always very friendly. Just thought I'd leave a note to say how much I enjoyed looking through the site!

Left by Alison Caswell on 2008-03-24 10:49:51

Hello from Australia. I was overwhelmed to find a site on the very lovely Helmsdale. I fell in love with this little village when I had an overnight stay in August 1997. My husband, myself and our son hope to travel back that way later this year and have another stopover on our way to my birthplace...Kirkwall, Orkney Islands. When checking on B&B's, I was particularly looking for the one that I stayed in back in '97. I can't remember the name of it or the lovely people who ran it, but it was next door to a fairly old and lovely church. It reminded me of a house that my family lived in in Bonnyrigg (just o'side Edinburgh) for a couple of years when I was only a used to be a manse. That's how I thought of this B&B in Helmsdale. Can anyone help solve this for me? I'd love to stay there again...

Left by Ian Mackay Hodgson on 2008-03-23 09:34:22

First of all may i say what a wonderful site this is.I was born in Huddersfield yorkshire in 1946 my mother was Barbara Mackay, she had both sisters and brothers namely John,James,May,Katie,Georgie,Jean.
My father was in Helmsdale for a time during the 2nd world war as a seargent with the RAVC i believe with many horses.I spent many school holidays in Helmsdale in the house above the harbour on Dunrobin street with my Grandfather John who is buried in the cemetry alongside my grandmother Mary.Its a long time since i was in Helmsdale but i am sure i will return soon.One of my cousins is John Macculloch born and bred in the village.

Left by Eileen rapson on 2008-03-22 18:23:50

very nice site

Left by Ellen Esseltine on 2008-03-13 22:46:11

Hi from Canada,
My friend and I visited Helmsdale last September, 2007 and stayed at the Helmsdale Hostel. Your town was the highlight of our trip to Scotland and we want to return again this summer. Would any of you know how we could reach Irene Drummond who runs the hostel? All of the phone numbers we have from hostel brochures don't seem to work. Since we've been home and done some research on your area we want to return. This website was part of the reason as we learned that we had missed a great deal of what your area has to offer. Thanks for your assistance.

Left by Charles Rapson on 2008-03-09 01:49:42

Hi David,
This is the first time I've been on the site this year. Boy it's changed and its brilliant (not that it was ever less than brilliant).
Well done. I dont get home too often these days but visiting the site is a bit like getting home.

All the best to the Helmies
Charles Rapson

Left by Peter Dillon on 2008-03-01 02:34:26

Any FRASER descendants left in Helmsdale?

My ancestor Barbara CORMACK had a sister Isabel / Isabella CORMACK married to William FRASER. Barbara & Isabella were sisters born at Watten parish Caithness to Alexander CORMACK & Isobel CALDER. Barbara & Isabella were 2 of 9 siblings born at Watten parish but the family members all left Watten parish.

William FRASER & Isabella CORMACK lived at Helmsdale. They had a large family as follows -

Alexander 1828-1915 a baker at Helmsdale, died Cnoc-chaisteal (House?) Dunrobin St, married Anne Gordon Innes SINCLAIR whom I think was his cousin, the daughter of Barbara CORMACK. Issue were
William 1855-1855
John 1856-1829 (1894=Elizabeth PATERSON c.1861-1934)
Isabella 1858 (1883=Alfred Mitchell WILES)
William 1860-1922 (=Sara? FRANCIS?)
Alexander 1862-1953,
James 1864-1934.
John was a druggist & chemist at Helmsdale, he & Elizabeth had issue Elizabeth Ann 1896-1967 (=Peter ANGUS), Alexander 1897-1917 KIA, James Paterson FRASER 1900-1920.

John FRASER 1829. Still alive 1891 @ Strathnaver St.

Margaret FRASER 1831. Married George YOUNG in 1849 and had issue
Anne Thomson 1851
Isabella 1853 (1875=John IVESTER, they went to Liverpool)
Margaret 1855
Williamina 1860
George 1863
Elizabeth Fraser c.1865/7 (1888=James WOTTON, they went to Liverpool)
John 1869/70
Robert c.1872.

Isabella FRASER 1833-1924. At Strathnaver St 1901.

Catherine FRASER 1836-1922.

Elizabeth (Betty) FRASER 1842-1930. Hotelkeeper, Belgrave Arms Hotel at 1891 & 1901 census. Her brother James was with her in 1891 and her brother Robert was with her in 1901. I assume that Elizabeth is the "Miss FRASER" referred to in the history section of these web pages referring to the 1892 ceremony when the the foundation stone for the harbour was laid.

William FRASER. Married Margaret? Issue
Donald R. 1866
William W. 1868
Robert J. 1869
George R1871
Frederick Simon 1873.
This family was in Lancashire but for some reaon the boys were with their grandparents William & Isabella in Strathnaver St Helmsdale at the 1881 census.

Robert FRASER 1840-1904. Was at the Belgrave Arms hotel in 1901 with his sister Elizabeth (the Hotelkeeper) and nieces Margaret & Gertrude IVESTER.

James Burns FRASER 1847/50-1904. With his sister Elizabeth at the Belgrave Arms Hotel in 1891.

One of the FRASER sons may have had a son Simon FRASER 1854/6 who married Isabella BALLENTYNE.

Anne Gordon Innes SINCLAIR was born circa 1822 at Wick parish, the daughter of John SINCLAIR & Barbara CORMACK. John SINCLAIR was the son of James SINCLAIR the chamberlain (at Thrumster House in Wick parish), son of Donald SINCLAIR the sailor, son of David SINCLAIR of Broynach.

Peter Sinclair Dillon
Christchurch, new Zealand

Left by Iain mackay (jedge) x 1 and 10 glebe terr on 2008-02-29 22:05:48

hi stumbled across web site and felt at home again. im of the innes and mackay familys. my grandfather was james (jedge) innes fisherman of 1 glebe terr my grandmother was bell innes nee cowie. my parents were george mackay who was a barman in the belgrave hotel,my mother is marie mackay nee innes who worked at hunters woolen mill in brora.i was born in 1952 in the pope hosp. if any of you know me please get in touch. thank you iain.

Left by Frank on 2008-02-22 11:01:43

According to the 1991 Census, Helmsdale is the fourth largest village in Sutherland with a population of 861. For comparison, Golspie has 1,657; Brora has 1,922 and Dornoch has the largest population of 2,128. The popluation of the whole county (which probably has more sheep than people) is only 12,810.

Left by Lorna philip on 2008-02-21 17:16:57

I have recently came to stay in helmsdale and would like to know the current population of the village. I cant find this anywhere on the net can anyone put my mind to rest.

Left by George raffan glasgow on 2008-02-18 09:24:29

great website i wish i had the resources to live in helmsdale my two kids whould love it amy and zoe a credit to my helmsdale roots

Left by Wendy Simpson on 2008-02-12 17:50:54

I am looking for any old photographs or information of the Belgrave Arms Hotel. Can anyone help, Thanks Wendy

Left by Olive thomson on 2008-02-12 16:03:55

I was born in Helmsdale in 1944. My father was in the Lovat Scouts and met and married my mother in the Faroe Isles. Mother got rooms in Strathnaver St from a lady called Mrs Henderson. After the war my Father who was a gamekeeper moved to the west coast. I have passed through Helmsdale but I would love to visit there one day. Regards Olive Thomson.

Left by ANDREW SUTHERLAND ALLEN on 2008-02-07 20:27:08

my mother martha lived here and left probably around 1955 She died 1974 I know she had a sister Betty and a brother called Andrew who i think was married to Agness i think they lived in a train station masters house ,Andrew used to be a fisherman and was keeper on a river ,thats about as much as i know. if anyone could give me any useful info it would be greatly appreciated ,, thanks

Left by Keith Ritchie Brown on 2008-02-06 01:29:08

A family tradition of the Herring Fishing in Fisherrow, Musselburgh. Led me to reading 'The Silver Darlings', by Neil Gunn. A great insight into the effects of the Highland Clearances and Press-ganging in the mid 1800s. Centred on the main character Tormad from Helmsdale I thought I'd look the "Wee place" up a delightful sight and plenty of gossip.
Keith fae Muchalls.

Left by Maga Nwaguy on 2008-01-24 10:57:02

I was sad to hear the death of William George Jappy .my condolinses go to his family. I will miss the banter down the river. a true helmsdale character who always liked a laugh and a joke

Left by Ker hamilton on 2008-01-18 10:36:44

I was sad to hear the death of William George Jappy .my condolinses go to his family. I will miss the banter down the river. a true helmsdale character who always liked a laugh and a joke.

Left by Onyeze Nwaguy on 2008-01-16 17:16:18


Left by Joan Fishwick on 2008-01-09 16:16:25

Happy New Year to you both.
I am still trying to send you photos, but I am so busy at work and the weekends are taken over.
My sister has just been over from Georgia and we talkked a lot about Helmsdale.

Left by Neil philp, from kirkcaldy, fife. on 2008-01-08 21:42:07

My fiancee and her family had a wonderful stay in helmsdale at the weekend, where we visited a few places, most notably the bannockburn, where we had a lovely meal. My fiancee's mother sadly passed away in november last year, and we scattered some of her ashes at the banks of the river, as she had some wonderful holidays with her friends in helmsdale. We were made to feel very welcome by those who we met, special mention must go to a chap called "logie" whom me met in the bannockburn. What a character! We saw why my fiancee's mother fell in love with the village, and we will return soon.

Left by Mike cowie on 2008-01-04 15:34:37

Hi sad to say but 0n 1st january 2008 my father Francis Cowie known localy as {francie ball} Died
Buirial 1pm church of scotland Helmsdale Friday 11th january 2008

Left by Alexander Moore on 2007-12-30 11:22:38

Hello, my name is Alex and I live in Australia.

My paternal grandmother was born in Buckie on the north-east coast and lived most of her life in Portgordon. Her sister lives in a house in Duke Lane thats called 'Helmsdale' because the story that years ago, members of the family fled Helmsdale during the Clearances and named the house they built in Portgordon as a sort of remberance.

While my grannie's maiden name was Cowie [which there are plenty of on the north-east coast] her mother's maiden name was Jappy and I think they're the ones that fled from Helmsdale.
So if anyone knows any stories about the Jappy's or any Cowie's I'd be thrilled to hear about them please.
Thankyou very much and it is a great website

Left by Angus Mackay on 2007-12-17 21:08:49

I just found this site, My folks originate from the Dale, the Mackay fishing family-so Im looking forward to a nosey round yer site. Hope theres some pics of the Jeannie Mackay load up with fish to see!!!

Left by Morven MacPherson on 2007-12-01 10:11:41

Hi there,

I would like to get in touch with Davie and/or Maureen McLeod (14 Golf Road). If anybody knows them, please pass the message on. Thanks a bunch.

Morven MacPherson
Northwest Territories, Canada

Left by Rob Flanegin on 2007-11-29 18:25:20

I have an 8 year old daughter who is home schooled. One of her assignments asked the question "Where does your street name come from?" Low and behold, its comes from beautiful Scotland. What a lovely village. Wish we could come by for a visit.


Left by Doreen Joohnstone [McLennan] on 2007-11-20 18:45:12

My mum belonged Helmsdale,her name was Alexanderina cowie,Ispent all my holidays as a child in Helmsdale.We stayed on the shore in a house called Castle View, with my aunt Mary Jane Cowie her nephew Billy Millar stayed with her,i had some lovely times there .Mum had sisters and brothers,Ican only remember a few of their names,Aggie,Peter [Dine]
,Bella. I hope to go up in the spring.1st time in 55years.

Left by B. Michael Rentz on 2007-11-20 16:55:56

I remember how a friend of mine and I once set up a tent at the beach as we just felt like sleeping outdoors. We were backpackers - we of course did take care, that no litter would be left. It was in 1989. The next morning we were politely asked to quit the place because some competition in shooting as part of the Games would soon start, and we´d be within the range... We panickingly grabbed all our stuff, it was very funny, in hindsight, and then went up the hill to watch the highland games which we already had been present at the other year.
I´ve always had a brillant time at Helmsdale, even though it´s just been three times alltogether. I hope I´ll be there again some time in my life.

Left by Hajo & Rosie Petersen, Schleswig, Germany on 2007-11-13 10:14:06

We are glad to be back in Helmsdale for Christmas and New Year and looking forward our visit. The new site is beautiful, carry on David.
Hajo & Rosie

Left by Margaret powrie formaly macdonald on 2007-11-07 16:09:44

i came across your site and enjoyed looking through it, it brought the memories flooding back of carefree summer holidays out playing with no worries of cars,we had such freedom to run about, living in an edinburgh tenement you can imagine how much we looked forward to going to grannies for summer holidays, grannie was annie macdonald and she lived in bayview cottage gartymore, this was between 1942 and 1950,does anybody remember donnie ,ellen,ian and margaret? if so get in touch

Left by Mark David Keith on 2007-11-01 16:31:20

Site is looking good.Senn my video on Here Edward Mackay Heavy Haulage Another one coming out soon.


Mark David Keith

Left by Moira Michaud on 2007-10-27 23:13:16

Hi everybody,

My name is Moira, I was born and raised in Canada but my mother was born in Hemlsdale, Scotland (she lived on Glebe Terrace). Her name was Margaret Davidson Sutherland. She left Scotland in 1945 to marry a French soldier named Euclide Michaud. If anyone remembers Margaret or anyone in her family, please e-mail me. I would really appreciate hearng from you. I went to Hemlsdale Scotland in 1976 and remember Trails Grocery Store...

Bye for now

Hope to her from ye.


Left by Margaret Dickson on 2007-10-21 09:27:25

I have always enjoyed checking up on the latest news from Helmsdale and the new site is even better. My sisters in Australia look it up regularly too. We have many happy memories of growing up in Helmsdale.

Left by Onyeze on 2007-10-17 14:03:58

david,this is great site,i will be back sooner
best regards

Left by Elsie Sutherland Stuart on 2007-10-09 11:12:21

My grandfather, Alexander Colin Sutherland emigrated from Gartymore in the late 1800's. He helped build the hunting lodges in the area prior to coming to the United States. He worked on the rebuilding of the State Capitol which had been burned by General Sherman during the American Civil War in Columbia, South Carolina. He was fluent in Gaelic and could recite much of the Bible in both English and Gaelic.
We visited Helmsdale in 1962 and 1980. We hope to visit in May of 2008.

Left by Duncan Macleod on 2007-09-27 16:23:25

Many thanks for the updated website. Seeing all the photos revives so many memories. It`s good to catch up on news from the `Dale. I can hardly believe its over eleven years since we left for Perth. God bless you all.

Left by Sean Sutherland on 2007-09-25 16:30:23

hi everyone me again been a while since i was on the site...lookin good as usual...i see davie macloed has written on the guest book...would that be the davie macloed who trained me at aberdeen football....if it is i would like to say a big hello to him you are an amazing coach...take care

Left by Olivia elayne murray on 2007-09-11 01:34:37

I am a second generation canadian my grangfather peter murray born 1886 kildonan,sutherlandshire,scotland .Died 1958 vancouver,british columbia.If anyone can assist me in finding some family much appreciated.peter murray volunteered in ww1 vimy ridge I could not be more proud. elayne murray.

Left by Evelyn Mackenzie on 2007-09-07 18:54:15

On behalf of Helmsdale Community Council I would like to thank you David and Maureen for all your hard work. This is a wonderful site you have done the village proud. The site has gone from strength to strength thanks to your efforts, keep up the good work.

Helmsdale Community Council

Left by Joan Fishwick on 2007-08-29 15:14:17

I just want to say thank you because through your Guest book I am now in contact with my relative Ray Harrison, whose parents Harry and Esther lived in Kildonan, Harry was the gardener for the grand house.
I am still trying to find photographs for you and will forward them when I have more time.
Work takes over!

Left by JEAN DEAN on 2007-08-26 10:55:57

I am the great grand daughter of ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND who was born 1 October 1861 in Helmsdale, Kildonian, Sutherland. He married CATHERINE FRANCES ROBERTSON on 29 December 1887 in Glasgow (she died 23 May 1899 in Glasgow). They had 4 children - CHRISTINE, WALTER, JANET MILLER SUTHERLAND AND WILLIAM SUTHERLAND.
Janet is my grand mother - she was botn in Glasgow on 9 April 1893.
I am visiting Helmsdale 11-16 September to trace the family tree and if anyone can help would be most welcome to visit me at the Navidale House Hotel - thank you Jean Dean

Left by John Howard on 2007-08-26 04:06:15

Having spent a couple of years in Helmsdale, I would like to say how much I enjoy keeping up with 'the news' via your website. Previously, in the mid 80's I lived in Spinningdale for 3-years.

I now live in the mountains of Costa Rica, which is very different, but I have fond memories of Helmsdale.

Those interested in gold panning may be interested in the website for a mine I have in Canada. In the mid 1980's, SELCO - the mining division of British Petroleum Resources Canada - spent $500,000 on diamond drilling at the site. This was a prime grizzly bear location - my favorite animal - and mining and the building of roads through the forest would have devastated this, otherwise, unique ecosystem. Fortunately, I was able to buy the land and all the minerals and thus prevent any further exploration and mining. Thus, the bears can hibernate in peace and awaken to a new year.

The website is:

Anyone from Helmsdale and area who wants to enjoy the tropical mountains and monkeys and colourful birds at my site here in Costa Rica will shortly be able to do so - nearing completion is an 'encampamento' where visitors can stay free of charge and explore the jungle and wild waterways that pour off the mountain, including a 3-hour trek to the far side of the property where there is an 80-metre (260-feet) waterfall. The climate is near perfect, the land being at 6,000 feet - never too hot and never too cold. My website has not been updated recently but has basic information:

I reply to all e-mails though it may not be quickly as I only come out of the mountains once every few weeks!

Left by Susan Paterson on 2007-08-22 20:17:38

Well what can I say we had a great time in Helmsdale, Pity It rained for the games on Saturday but we stayed to the end, dispite the rain. my daughter Natalie was chuffed to have her photo taken with Colin Jackson, what a great laugh he was, even though he nearly got hit with a flying haggis. We enjoyed our meals in the Bannock, Belgrave and our strawberry pavlovas in the La Mirage Excelent.We stayed with the Olivers at the Kintyre B & B and made very welcome. Our dogs Teri and Angus enjoyed too,especially playing with Bert the jack russel and the ducks.The people were very friendly and my husband Dave was pleased once again to meet up with Hector McPherson, thanks for a great weekend.

Susan Davie and Natalie Paterson.

Left by Robert Sinclair on 2007-08-22 10:41:39

This is my first visit,enjoyed it very much,will have to come back when I have more time,I am am ex Thurso boy but came to Australia in 64,like to keep in touch with the old places so wenjoyed all the photos,found two photos that I have photocopies of,the one outside an old hotel with horses,I always thought it was a hotel out here?maybe someone knows where it is,anyway thanks for this web site have saved to favorites,will be back Robin

Left by Granny Jackson's on 2007-08-20 01:20:45

Hope you all enjoyed the Games!

We found it amazing that many of he visitors to the Games stayed o the end! Well done! At least one thing can be said...the rain was consistent!

The link below will take you to some videos and photos taken by Granny Jackson's at the Helmsdale Highland Games.

Left by Shane MacDonald on 2007-08-16 00:29:35

Please pass on a hello to my cousin "Rocket Ron" Ron MacDonald and my email address to maintain contact.

My grandfather (born in Stornaway) lived in Helmesdale with parents and family then moved to Australia when I think he was about 17 to pursue a job hunting rabbits on remote Stations (as he told me, he thought he would have fun shooting them but it was a plague so had to use clubs and dig them out, not fun, very hot). His younger brother John followed. Both successfully establised farms. Both died of heart attacks.

I understand my Dad's (Ian) first cousin Ron MacDonald is still living in the old family house up on the hill South of the village centre.

Best regards
Shane MacDonald
Melbourne, Australia

Left by Kathleen MacTaggart on 2007-08-14 09:15:03

Hi David, What a great web site. I have spent most of this wet day going over things for the games, and then went to get a coffee when I sat down at the computor i went roaming through the site just great. My son from Cumbernauld is on the second you tube video. I see loth has nothing maybe people would like to send you some things on Loth to let them see the views from this lovely place

Left by Helen Cowie on 2007-08-13 19:35:04

I still keep track of whats going on in Helmsdale. Left in 1980 and still visit quite often

Left by Granny Jackson's on 2007-08-13 13:38:11

Granny Jackson's - Purveyors of the Finest Confectionery - is looking forward to meeting the everyone at the Highland Games on Saturday. Here's hoping for a successful, dry and sunny day! Shop online @ and add yourself as a friend on MySpace @

Left by Colin Sharp on 2007-08-07 14:53:22

In reply to Susan Paterson, i think your great gran stays up the hill from my gran as she stays in navidale too

Left by Susan Paterson[Fraser] on 2007-08-03 20:06:25

I have been coming to Helmsdale for many years, last year was the 1st year we hadn't been up. My great gran Nellie Ross stayed at HillHouse Navadale, my gran was Mally Waugh[Ross]. My dad was Wull Fraser His brothers Sandy& Mac Fraser. Sheila Elliot[Fraser] his sister had the croft at Navadale until it was sold last year. My husband Davie and my daughter natalie and I are coming up this year for the Highland Games, can' wait. 1999 and 2002 i won the ladies haggis hurling, looking forward to trying again this year.

Left by Colin Sharp on 2007-08-02 10:55:25

Not been to Helmsdale in years, used to be up every year with my dad (Ian Sharp) his step mum is Magaret Sharp, looking at coming back up either this year or next for the highland games, see geordie is chieftan this year, what a laugh he is.

Left by Richard Paxman on 2007-08-01 19:41:22

Ross & Pope ancestors from Helmsdale

My Great great great great grandfather was Alexander “Sanny” Ross of Wester Helmsdale and tacksman of Navidale, mentioned by Donald Sage in his wonderful book about Sutherland and Caithness - Memorabilia Domestica. Sanny Ross is believed to have come from Ross-shire, however he married a good local girl in Williamina Pope, aunt of General George Pope, the benefactor of the Pope Hospital in Helmesdale. I would be interested in making contact with anyone who shares my interest in the Ross and Pope families.

Richard Paxman

Left by Sandra Barnes(nee Dodd) on 2007-07-20 21:46:49

Hello David and Maureen,
What a great Web site. I have just been reading through the Guest Book and have come across a relative of mine Quillen Foley. I have sent him an email and hope to hear from him. I left Helmsdale when i was 16 and went to work in London and i do try and visit Helmsdale every year. My brother Stewart Dodd has a house in Helmsdale and we are coming up for the Highland Games so i am hoping to meet up with some old pals. My parents are buried in the village so i will always return to Helmsdale as long as i have a breath in my body. I still keep in touch by phone and letter to Katie and Barry Mckay who are great friends of our family. Thanks again I love to look at the old photos and regards to any of my old school pals. If any of them have read this i would love to hear from them. Regards Sandra.

Left by Graham Williams on 2007-07-08 12:13:22

Sue and I were saddened to hear of the death of Nancy Sinclair. We have stayed in Brora on a number of occasions and it has always been a pleasure to visit La Mirage with the immaculate Nancy in attendance.
Our sympathy goes to all her family, particularly Don
Graham and Sue Williams

Left by David Mason on 2007-07-03 15:51:38

The official unveiling of the Emigrants Statue

By the Rt Hon Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland

In Couper Park, Helmsdale

On Monday 23rd July 2007, at 3.00pm (ceremony to commence at 3.30pm)

Left by Davie MacLeod on 2007-07-02 07:04:00

I wonder if there is any way of requesting if any of your viewers from Helmsdale have any knowledge of working or being a patient at Cambusavie Hospital whilst it was a "fever" hospital. I am particularly interested in
the period 1950- 1954.

Any information will be treated with respect and confidence.

Davie MacLeod

Left by Lorna Settle on 2007-06-23 22:32:32

I have really enjoyed looking through your website. My mum, Patricia Sutherland (B 1948) was brought up in Kildonan along with her brother Donald. Her father Ian was gamekeeper for Kildonan Lodge. I have visited Kildonan and Helmsdale many times and will be returning again in August 2007 with my mum and my little boy so that he can see where Gran grew up. Really hoping we can still have access into Kildonan church. Would be lovely to see some photos of Kildonan on the site.

Left by Sandra Barnes on 2007-06-23 15:08:46

This is a very interesting site. I used to live in Helmsdale so it is nice to read all about it. I was sorry to read about Nancy, she was a great friend of my Grans' Annie Cormack.

Left by Cliff PIke on 2007-05-30 23:21:41

Sad to announce the death today of one of Helmsdale's best known faces, my Great Aunt - Nancy Sinclair.

Most people will know and remember Nancy as the Barbara Cartland lookalike who was famous for her larger than life outlook, her kind nature and her wonderful hospitality at La Mirage restaurant in the village.

May she now rest in peace alongside Dally.

Left by Joan Fishwick on 2007-05-24 16:20:48

I returned to Thurso in March for my 40th Weding anniversary and naturally stopped of in Helmsdale.
Lovely memories.
My sister now living in Georgia, USA was born in a nursing home in Helmsdale,my Father taking my Mum from Kinbrace one very windy winter night, and he could not return to me as trees had fallen down on the narrow road.
If anyone remembers me or my family please email me in Wigan. I was Joan Speakman Father station master in Kinbrace in the late 50's - Harry Speakman. I would love any photos of Kinbrace or Helmsdale for my Father to take ovver to USA in July (he is now 85) to visit with my sister.
thank you. Joan.

Left by Onno Doelman on 2007-05-22 07:13:47

I've never been in Helmsdale, but that will change in June.
According to this perfect website, Helmsdale seems to be a very nice and welcoming village which hopefully will, if everything goes as planned, welcome in the near futere two people from the Netherlands.
We want to start a new life in beautiful Scotland, where there's still space and fresh air.
We're very interested in the Othin House on Dunrobin street, so we will take a view in June.
Could someone please tell me more about Othin House, its history and what kind of place it is.
The information of the real estate agent is a kind of summary, so all information is welcome.
Thanks a lot and maybe we'll meet in June.

Left by Andrew innes on 2007-05-11 16:16:18

Keep up the good work david ... great site and lots of work put onto ta ... nice of cass

Left by Tom (tommy) cowie on 2007-05-08 12:58:56

i stumbled on your site during my lunch break and it was really great to see so many people and old buildings which were so familiar when i was growing up in the village (1953 to 1973). i remember your wife maureen - think she was in my brothers (curly) class in school - i may be wrong though. keep up the work - it's a great site - will have a trawl through my old photo's and see if there are any worth sending to you

Left by Stewart mackay on 2007-04-21 21:01:47

my granfather jack mackay died last year. he was a son of helmsdale it was in his heart until the end. he married pat mackay whilst in the scotsgaurds just after the war and settled in chertsey, surrey. i cannot claim to be a scot but i am a mackay. i have never been fortunate to visit my homeland but i will bring my son also called "jack" mackay to the land my grandad held so dear.

till then, helmsdale.

stewart mackay (29)
addlestone surrey

Left by Jackie smith on 2007-04-16 16:47:04

very nice web-site.
my name is jackie smith and my grandmother, sally brown (1896), was raised by christina (munro) durning of helmsdale. my family may not be blood relatives of the munro’s, however, my grandmother considered them to be her family and had many fine memories in the area.

christina’s parents were george and margaret (mccaskill) munro. george was a tenant farmer. christina married a hugh durning and had three children of her own, margaret 1884), hugh (1886), and christina (1891), all raised in clydebank. the children would visit the highlands in the summer. christina (mother) died in 1930. christina (daughter) was a highland dancer. i don’t believe any of her children had children, but am not sure about hugh. hugh may have worked on the farm in the early 1900’s and also may have moved to the us.
margaret worked for singer in clydebank for many years.

christina (1851) had siblings: william (1854), george (1858), and margaret (1865).
i believe that margaret married a george gray and had several children, james (1890), barbara (1891), john (1892), margaret (1895), and georgia (1897)
i believe william had a daughter helen.

if you are related or have any information, pictures etc. on the munro/durning/gray family, i would appreciate your help as i am trying to figure out why christina raised my grandmother, and what her life was like before she moved to the u.s.

thank you,

jackie smith

Left by Fiona mackay on 2007-04-11 22:22:46

i enjoyed this site because it reminded me of how beautiful helmsdale is and its not just a boring village it showed me that if you looked close enough youll find what your looking for but along with that you cant judge a village by looking at it just like you cant judge a book by its cover

Left by Nicola crowie on 2007-04-06 20:08:43

very interesting site,i enjoyed the old photos. my grannys' cousin sarah elizabeth macnicol married lewis murray in 1914.he was from caen,son of john murray and barbara gunn. i was looking to see if i could find out anything about his family.

Left by Sean sutherland on 2007-03-24 22:34:18

hi again wondering if any body is goin to get in touch with me or not please email me

Left by Jimmy munro on 2007-03-21 11:40:48

great site. been to helmsdale twice to visit my aunt audrey and uncle stewart munro. beautiful place.

Left by Donald main on 2007-03-18 20:00:33

born in glebe terrace, helmsdale in 1941. father john,was in the war serving in the scots guards.grandfather alex often took me fishing in the jlc (boat). any of the main or cowie (cousins) family please get in touch.

Left by Terri baston nee etheridge (john) on 2007-03-16 23:31:06

left by terri baston nee etheridge (john) on 2007-03-16 23:23:58

i have read through the guest book, love seeing old photos of the town and old family friends, i would love anyone who has any pictures of my father, john etheridge, when he was growing up to please post them on the website or send to my email account. i would be greatful for any stories also.
thank you very much in advance,

terri baston

Left by Sean sutherland on 2007-03-04 21:56:37

hi scotland my name is sean sutherland i dont know if any of you will remember sisters name was anna dawn sutherland she moved to canada and i moved with her for any one who would like to contact me or my sister my email is

Left by Joan fishwick(nee speakman) on 2007-02-14 16:12:51

your site showing helmsdale is very interesting. i lived at the station house, kinbrace in the 50's. my father was the stationmaster, and i have wonderful memories of living there, expecially when i saw the station house, now a private home.
above the station office i had my play room. many hours of pretend play up there.

Left by Elaine rapson on 2007-02-13 14:34:45

i was delighted to see photos of my late husband edward rapson in the "helmsdale family photos" section. i still miss him dearly. kindest regards to all his family in helmsdale from all his family in thurso.

Left by Catriona miller on 2007-02-08 14:25:27

this is a really good site. i only moved a few miles north to dunbeath. often have a look on here to see what's happening as even though i'm not far away, i still lose touch with what is happening.
love reading the guestbook!

Left by Michael hilton on 2006-12-17 21:37:20

greetings from manchester hope all who know me and andrew have a great christmas see you all in may, hi to james margaret jean and richard of torrish estate

Left by Christine mcdonald on 2006-12-14 04:40:04

greetings from new zealand. are there any sutherlands in helmsdale who are descended from hector sutherland - born abt 1812 - whose son alexander emigrated to new zealand in the 1860s. hector was a boatbuilder. can't wait to visit your beautiful town in search of our family roots.

Left by Lisa pearse on 2006-11-08 14:59:05

forgot email!!

Left by Lisa pearse on 2006-11-08 14:52:08

well where do i begin!! helmsdale has been stuck in my mind for 4 years...on travelling up to john o'groatson the a9 we came along round the bend to the most beautiful place i have ever seen and i fell totally in remarried my husband and i would love one day to buy a plot of land and build our home in scotland..he has his ideas and i definately have mine!!! i would love to fill my dream and live in helmsdale if anyone knows of anyone in the future who would be interested in us aquiring apart of their land could you let me know...we have started the ball rolling and have today put our house on the market so we can save like mad to have enough money to buy the land outright so please can anyone keep me informed must and utterly greatful!!!

Left by Donald logie on 2006-11-07 14:23:11

this is a great site and always cheers me up when i am working abroad. the guys i work with agree and it gives me great pride when i show them where i live and the people i know. well done to everyone involved.
left by donald logie nov 7 2006

Left by Elaine anderson on 2006-11-04 17:25:08

mckay family history/tree?
i have been researching my family tree and discovered that john mckay was married to jessie bannerman in 1862,john was a joiner and carter. john's father was william mckay from west helmsdale. any further information on the mckay family would be a great help.
this site has given me so much helpful information and an insight as to the life of my ancestors. many thanks, elaine

Left by Martin murray on 2006-10-01 13:09:39

i really enjoyed the look into the past and will hopefully pay a visit in the near future. i was looking for anything i might find regarding my grandfather (papa) sinclair campbell. i did not see him in any photos but they do open your eyes to the past.
my regards to the locals.
hopefully see you soon.

Left by Ann hampson on 2006-09-26 04:45:15

my grandparents were robert and minnie scott nee polson. robert was a well known shepherd and won many cups at the sheep dog trials. their last address was 9 golf road helmsdale.

my great grandfather was william polson brother of john polson mentioned in scattered helmies. john emigrated to new zealand in 1862. one of his descendants adair polson genge has written a fascinating book about the polson family history in new zealand.

my aunt mary hodson nee scott died in london recently aged 97 she was born at duible.a wonderful lady.
ann hampson in gosport hants

Left by Terri baston nee etheridge on 2006-09-25 19:46:23

i am the grandaughter of the late arthur & marion etheridge of stafford street.daughterof the late john etheridge,nieceof donnie & jean etheridge of helmsdale ,eddie & rena etheridge brora.;daisy & stan taylor of southampton.cathy & olon lynch usa

Left by Ann hampson on 2006-09-16 16:47:14

john george diefenbaker who was prime minister of canada1957 to 1963 was the great grandson of a george bannerman from kildonan who emigrated to canada about had a son john who married flora campbell their daughter called mary flora bannerman married william diefenbaker and had the famous son! my great great grandmother was a bannerman from helmsdale could i be related? fame at last! ann hampson

Left by Lynda greaves (nee bowie) on 2006-09-05 14:01:18

thanks for the photos of inness family my new found cousins, james, cathel and andrew. james and i have been catching up on family members and i enjoyed my look around helmsdale, i now feel closer to my new family. australia doesn`t seem so far away and i hope to one day visit scotland and see where donald bowie (pop) was born and bred. thanks again, will visit the site again. lynda

Left by Quillen foley on 2006-09-03 02:39:57

in doing some family research i found your site. i visited my granfather james cormack at his home they called black muir,in helmsdale in 1970. he was son of alexander cormack (my great grandfather) who also had a brother danial both helmsdale residents. he was born in 1898 in navidale. my mother said they lived by the beach and worked navidale farms. he came to america after wwi after residing in the bronx for awhile they moved to grenwich, conneticuit. but moved back to helmsdale in the mid 60's. he took the last voyage of the queen mary out of ny city to go home. he lived there for several years before returning to us in california where he passed away in 1981. i enjoyed looking at the old pictures. the one on the 9th page the 2nd one down with the 3 men on the ship deck. anyway the guy to the left looks the way my grandpa did as i remember him.i remember him telling the story of the beached whale. he had alot of trinket and souvenior things that he found on that beach. when he moved back to the states some time in the 70's he resided in the santa barbara area of california over looking the ocean a familiar view for him. thankyou i enjoyed my visit quillen foley

Left by Les fraser on 2006-08-29 06:02:04

love the old mother is margaret mary mackay who was born helmsdale in the pope hospital in grand parents,were robert and margaret mackay who lived in 24 gartymore.i myself visted helmsdale in 1980 where i met marion raffan and son who gave us tour of the old house.would love to here from anyone that new my family kinds regards les fraser

Left by David mason on 2006-08-23 18:51:37

hi ruth, if you can email me i will send the images to you as attachments. regards, david mason

Left by Ruth reynolds on 2006-08-23 15:35:31


we have bought "skylight house" in dunrobin street, and plan to move there in about 7 weeks. skylight house is the old co-op building. we notice that there are a few old photographs of the co-op as it was then, and we would love to have copies of them to frame and hang in skylight house. i think it would be very fitting to have photographs showing the house as it once was.

please can you tell me who i contact in regard to asking if it is possible to obtain/buy copies of these photographs?

i regularly visit your website, it is goldmine of information and has helped us a great deal!

thank you

ruth reynolds

Left by Fred webster on 2006-08-23 08:37:18

i miss the family in helmsdale and look forward t our next vist.

Left by Norrie flannigan on 2006-08-17 11:01:15

a great web site. my parents kived in bonar bridge and i was born in helmsdale in the pope maternity hospital in 1951. i have only visited the town once since but can feel another, longer, visit coming on!

Left by John hunter on 2006-08-15 18:52:51

i thought the site was brilliant,im looking forward to visiting the area,even thinking of moveing up there,it looks as there is community spirt lacking in other places,im a scott from the lowlands,and ive allways wanted to stay in a lovely place like helmsdale,god i hope your listening,and grant me my wish.

Left by Shona currie (nee sutherland) on 2006-08-13 23:35:24

the helmsdale web site is great and brought back some fond memories. about 30 years ago, when i was aged about 10, i used to visit helmsdale, when on holiday in embo, to see my great aunt nellie. i cant remember the street name where she lived but see to recall it was at the back of the village. also visited some of my dad's (jackie sutherland) cousins- a large family by the name of cowie i believe (they lived in the same street as aunt nellie. having come accross your web site by chance, i really must visit again!


Left by Elizabeth gair on 2006-08-08 15:51:49

i was amazed at the polson letter .i paid for a serch on my family and found a ann polson married an alexander mackenzie west helmsdale
their grandson adam mackenzie born 1853 lotherton west helmsdale sailed to new zealand in 1877 with his wife and baby
adams wife returned to england around the 1890s
a widow i cannot find adams death
isabella was his wife she was isabella birnie watson from pitsligo the daughter of william watason and elonor munro
born 1859

elizabeth gair nee mackenzie

Left by Mrhood on 2006-07-31 10:42:37

i'm italian and i was in holiday in helmsdale in the '97, in the youth hostel i have meet my german girfriend, now we are happy married and with a wonderful child.
thanks helmsdale!

Left by Alan & delyth north wales on 2006-07-26 21:10:06

while recently travelling to the orkneys with my work, my wife and i had the good fortune of staying in helmsdale, and enjoying what must be the best fish & chips on the planet from le mirage, cheers.

Left by Edward on 2006-07-25 03:56:15

enjoyed a lot!

Left by Barbara gilbert on 2006-07-22 16:11:39

enjoyed reading history of helmsdale. am ancester to william bannerman macdonald (b: 1813) in helmsdale - married marion margaret murry (b:1815)moved to nova scotia around 1846 - they had 11 children - gave each child middle name of bannerman. name given to his grandfather for bravery in ???war. is there anyone that can help me find information regarding his parents and /or grandparents and what life was like in helmsdale in the early years. thank you for any help.
barbara gilbert, usa

Left by Mark almond on 2006-07-16 23:22:14

great nephew to jimack,geordie,reenie and janet sutherland,grandson to betty.

Left by Nick davies on 2006-07-10 06:50:02

i live in sydney australia and on the 19th june came to helmsdale for a week of salmon fishing. i have never been to the north of scotland or fished for salmon before but the memory will stay with me for ever!

the hospitality from the helmsdale people (particularly in the bridge and la mirage) was great and a bonus of a 16 pound salmon made my trip very special. thanks also to nancy and don.

i think my waistline is recovering from the excess of good living, but who could resist?

it was a long trip to the uk and a long drive up to helmsdale but i would do it again tomorrow, given half a chance. i would again have to rely on johnny hardy to help me with my fishing techniques! he told me that his singing and joke telling was all a part of the deal - thanks johnny for holding my hand..literally!

i look forward to coming back before too long

Left by Nigel turner on 2006-07-09 17:56:04

loved looking at the old photo's, i was looking to find my great aunt nellie ross, she lived there around 1930-40, or so my mum thinks, memmories are a little vague. my mum went there by train at age 14....a 24-hour journey from the midlands. she remembers getting off the train in the village and then having a short ride in a taxi to nellie's house. i dont suppose you have any contacts who might be able to establish any dates, relatives (angus i believe was one) or further information, many thanks and again congratulations on a wonderful website.

Left by Mike spark on 2006-07-07 13:15:28

my son sean robertson moved up to helmie last year from perth .iwould like to thank all the teaching staffat the primary school and for all the locals for making him feel welcome,thanks again.

Left by George on 2006-07-05 09:14:20

what a great site

Left by Mark david keith on 2006-07-03 19:33:11

i love the old photos and helmsdale is second best

mark jnr

Left by Jennifer lienig on 2006-07-02 17:51:27

my name is jennifer lienig, from switzerland, and i do have a little question, i hope you can help me.
i used to write emails with my penpal called william macconnor, he's from kildonan. he started a world journey last summer and promised to write me and he wanted to be back in december. as there happened many bad things in this year, i'm worried about him, as he hasn't written anything to me.
unfortunately i only know his name and that he's from kildonan. his father does have a pub i think, and will plays the bagpipes, i don't know in what kind of a band though.

i really want to know if he's fine, if he maybe lost my address or if he's jsut fed up with writing, who knows. so, do you have any idea how i can find his address or how i can find someone who might know the pub or even will himself?
it would be great to hear from you, kildonan seems to be too small to have an own homepage.

best wishes,

Left by Elaine smith on 2006-06-30 21:18:36

dear david
i hope that it was you who outbid me on a helmadale postcard on e-bay the other day. if so, please display it on the website to compensate for my loss.
best regards

Left by Shug taylor on 2006-06-24 12:57:45

hope to make it up this year so cliff pike can buy me a dram in the beer tent, or any one else for that matter, great web site always enjoy having a nose so i can tell my mother in law(moira munro nee sinclair) whats going on in her native village.

Left by Margaret bruce on 2006-06-14 08:35:47

was wandering through some web pages and came across your children`s ancestors, the bruce family originated from helmsdale back in the 1840`s through their father.they went to s.aust. by boat and there are many bruces living in this region of australia.

Left by Charles and julie on 2006-05-24 11:14:14

we have enjoyed looking at the webpages and as we are visiting scotland in september, staying at inverness for 6 nights, we will make one of our days a visit to helmsdale. the photos are lovely so hope the weather is good so we can use our camera to take back memories!

Left by Pat leonard-coventry,west midlands on 2006-05-17 15:38:18

spent some happy times around helmsdale and the strath while working @ dounreay on contract - in fact just missed out on buying a property @ marrel but i shall keep trying

Left by Jessica hopgood on 2006-05-11 20:36:01

i think that it is really interesting what happens in helmsdale and also and can see some things that my grandma has been doing, marydudgeon.

Left by Amy peters on 2006-05-11 12:11:39

my great aunt lives here and her daughter used to own the la mirage chippie. its well cool

Left by Martin briscoe on 2006-04-30 17:32:41

i was reading the report in your newsletter about the visit to the raf chain home radar station at loth. i wonder if anyone locally knows anything about the raf chain home low radar station at navidale. some of the buildings are still there but there is a report in one book (rdf1) that it used the roof of the navidale hotel for a time, probably before the main site was built - does anyone know more about this. i take it that the structure on top of the hill above there is nothing to do with the radar station?

martin briscoe

Left by Ellie gunn on 2006-04-16 01:18:54

thanks for the photos and information about helmsdale. i am planning a visit in late july 2006 and hope to wander up the river. perhaps i'll send some photos when i get home. ellie from oregon, usa

Left by Sophie wyllie on 2006-04-12 10:12:59

i lived in portgower with family in 2001,we moved in 2003 i went to school in helmsdale with my sister mollie . we would like to hear from anybody who were our friends.hear are a few names of some people ,audrey pearson,amy mc cloud,clair loggie,abby rhona and anybody elts that new us.please get in touch sophie and

Left by Mark david keith on 2006-04-05 20:10:42

very good:) keep up the good work

Left by Brian blair on 2006-04-05 10:24:13


wonderful website, a great resource. my mother's family lived at caen in the early 20th c and my g granfather was river watcher. my aunt "mime" lived in helmsdale all her days and i have spent many a happy holiday there and now my children do too. my mum still has cousins living in helmsdale and it will always be a special place for me. i bet you have had a good snowy 2006 so far!

Left by Margaret warren formerly cowie on 2006-03-20 21:30:37

great website - well done!

my cousin margaret (durn) cowie (seine net queen) is in old photos 2 as are my parents - james (jimmon) cowie and bessie cowie (a fisherman's ball) and not his brother sander and wife teenie as stated.

my auntie mabel cowie lives in the village also some of my cousins. if granny margaret cairns was formerly cowie she is probably one of my cousins. angela bates (cowie) is my twin.

Left by Andrew sutherland allen on 2006-03-20 17:17:32

my mother martha lived here and left probably around 1955 i know she had a sister betty and a brother called andrew who i think was married to agness i think they lived in a train station masters house ,andrew used to be a fisherman and was keeper on a river ,thats about as much as i know. i have few memories of this place ,i visited in 1966 with my mother, and am thinking of visiting in the summer if anyone could give me any useful info it would be greatly appreciated ,, thanks

Left by Mark thomas on 2006-03-20 00:40:55

cold, damp, wet and miserable. waited 5 mins and the sun came out!! warm, dry and smiling again!!
area of 4 seasons in a day- beautiful when the sun is shining- stay in the pub when its not!!
friendly locals.
great- ill be back!

Left by Annonomous on 2006-03-14 18:49:27

come on the helmie

Left by Angela cowie now bates on 2006-03-12 15:41:05

ileft helmsdale in 1963 my father was jimmon cowie my auntmabel cowie still lives in the village asdo many of my cousins.the website is marvellous

Left by Naomi macleod on 2006-03-12 13:16:09

hi what information do you have on the mcleod family of helmsdale my grannie is from there but she relocated to australia after second world war and it's mcleod family mc she married another macleod (mac) out here in australia but all her sisters and brothers stayed in scotland. thanks naomi macleod

Left by Mandy cairns on 2006-03-07 18:30:20

hiya all ma cousins and family in manchester jst writing this 2 show use we have seen your messages....liam i added u on hopefully tok 2 ya soon!

love yas all
missing u loads
mandy xx

Left by Liam cairns on 2006-03-02 21:34:18

i rote a letter and none ov the cairns family have got back to me so could you please ask the to get back to me thank you liam cairns p.s. love you loads granny and uncle andrew and auntie helen and kids

Left by Liam cairns on 2006-02-27 18:50:52

i would like my granny margreat cairns to please write back to me and i would like my uncle andrew cairns to get mandy billy and andrew and kevin if any of them have msn messenger please add my contact so i could keep in touch with you (

Left by Hollie cairns on 2006-02-23 17:53:45

i have been looking on the site and i am just wondering if you can send me a copy of any photos ao the cairns family i am margret cairns granddaughter and i would really like some old photos of my dad as you might no he is not with us any more god rest his soul! i love my dad and just want some more photos of him when he was younger thank you so much.
if you need any info please contact margret cairns.

Left by Keifer cairns on 2006-02-22 21:08:57

i would like to say hi to all my family.and i would like to say hi to granny margaret cairns and andrew cairns and helen p.s plz get back to me

Left by Alan wales on 2006-02-22 16:53:25

great site lovely part of the world see you in july for great fishing

Left by Gareth cairns on 2006-02-22 10:35:09

i like ur web sight coz i normally go to my grannys up in helmsdale shes called margret cairns i was looking on your family photos and there are non of the cairns"s so if u could try and get some pics of them i would be greatful thanks

Left by Shaun squire on 2006-02-17 19:42:18

excellant site ,very informative living in somerset england and coming up in march on holiday,to view houses with the intention of moving to your wonderful village,looks very friendly place to live with my family.once again great site.

Left by Eleanor ronald (nee bremner) on 2006-02-15 13:58:06

very interesting and informative website.

Left by Irene jones on 2006-02-02 14:45:31

thank you david for a look into my grandfathers past. granddad, thomas tulloch was born in helmsdale in 1874 so this has been a wonderful experience for me to read about the history, view the photographs and take me back in time. i will be back again to visit your very informative website on helmsdale.

Left by Victoria on 2006-01-30 14:15:09

great job david - the site looks really brilliant. and thank you for all the additional work you've done on the timespan website which is looking fantastic.

Left by Brian on 2006-01-30 11:57:01

congratulations, on a very good information site, thanks

Left by Alistra on 2006-01-28 14:52:02

good to see the guestbook working again

Left by Cathel on 2006-01-27 23:22:36

good to see the guestbook back looking forward to checking it out ..well done david