Striking Gold in Helmsdale
Anyone at the south end of "The Far North Line" looking for a day out could consider a day return to Helmsdale. We took the 11.45 from "The Muir" and arrived at Helmsdale at 13.45. A short walk out of the station and across the River Helmsdale on the Telford Bridge, passing the War Memorial and clock tower, which must be one of the best in the north of Scotland, brought us to the village. We made a beeline for "La Mirage" for the obligatory fresh fish and chips which could have been followed by strawberries and cream, if only there had been room! The restaurant is an experience in itself.
The harbour has a shop and information centre which will hire out gold panning equipment by the day. If only we had caught the earlier train! This is a throwback from the Kildonan Goldrush of 1869 when prospectors flocked to the area to make their fortune.
We then walked north along the coast for about a mile to Navidale and had a final look round the village before catching the 5.45 train home. A drink on the train and seeing seals basking on a beach rounded off a delightful day.
Next time we go we will definitely visit the Timespan Museum and Visitor Centre, look in the Ice House and take a walk in the hills.