Helmsdale is a sheltered fishing town that is surrounded by gray hills and was once a major herring fishing center. Its name points to its Viking origins. The Timespan Heritage Center covers local history including the 1869 Strath of Kildonan gold rush, art exhibitions, and Dame Barbara Cartland, the romance novelist who once lived here. Overlooking the town, the Emigrants Statue is a memorial to the Clearances and the resulting diaspora of Scots all over the world. There are several bed and breakfasts in town but for something special you should try the historic Bridge Hotel, with its plush rooms and deluxe baths. If you’ve ever wanted to experience what romance novelists have for tea, stop into La Mirage with is flamboyant pink ambiance.