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Thomas Telford bridge in Helmsdale. (Credit: Venture North)
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Helmsdale War Memorial

By Rona Ellis

Journey Stone tribute to Helmsdale War Memorial
Image provided by Rona Ellis

Helmsdale War Memorial was unveiled in 1924 to honour the fallen of the Great War from Helmsdale and the Strath of Kildonan. The memorial is a clock tower with an Ogee roof. The names of the dead from other wars have since been added.

The memorial was extensively refurbished in 2018 with the assistance of volunteers who fundraised and organised the works. The Helmsdale Woodlanders put out large wooden crosses that they made each of them inscribed with the rank, name and unit of all the fallen that are listed on the plaque to the East side of the memorial, the crosses can be seen from the centre of the village and are installed at the beginning of November and only taken down at the end of November each year.

It is worth noting that only a small handful of those who fell are buried in Helmsdale and Loth. The Helmsdale Woodlanders decided to make the crosses to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War and also to provide a physical reminder of those who fell and lie in graveyards abroad.

Many thanks to Rona Ellis for sharing with us the story behind her journey stone, created as part of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands.


Prior to the beginning of the stitching of each tapestry panel, each stitcher of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands was tasked with telling their interpretation of the 'Spirit of the Highlands and Islands' within a blank outline of a stone. The possibilities were truly endless - is it represented in the land? The people? A historical site? A favourite memory?

In any case, each journey stone represents the connection between each individual stitcher, their story, and their own sense, or 'spirit', of place. Discover more of the stories behind the journey stones of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands here.