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Bradshaw’s Guide

Helmsdale

Is a large and pretty populous fishing district. At its harbour about 200 boats prosecute the herring fishing in autumn. There is excellent hotel accommodation at Helmsdale, and the roads are excellent.

We are now in the confines of Caithness, to which twice a day coaches bring us. Leaving Helmsdale we cross the celebrated Dass called the Ord, six miles beyond which is Berriedale, pleasantly situated in the bottom of a romantic valley, and boasting of an excellent hostelry. This property was recently purchased by the Duke of Portland, and has splendid moors and forests.

The whole sea coast to Wick, along which the coaches travel, now bristles with fishing hamlets and villages, from which immense numbers of boats prosecute the herring fishing in the season; so much so that from a famous landmark known as “Bruan Head,” as many as 1,700 boats may be seen at one time along the coast from Ord Head to Noss Head, a distance of 30 miles. Sir James Elphinstone, M.P., who visited the locality in 1858, subsequently described the sight as “the most extraordinary in the world.”

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