The Halladale River ends its route northwards at the sandy Melvich Bay, where the villages of Melvich and Portskerra run into each other. On the east bank of the river is Bighouse Lodge and Estate, built in 1765 and a former home of the chief of the Clan MacKay. Nowadays it offers sumptuous accommodation, along with a variety of outdoor pursuits. The saddest sight hereabouts is the Drowning Memorial, bearing the names of local men who have drowned while fishing over the years. It stands as a constant reminder and warning about the treacherous seas off this coast. The many drownings which have occurred here include a disaster in 1918, when many young men from the area were away fighting in the First World War, meaning that any fishing was mostly done by elderly men who were normally engaged in other activities. The day of the disaster started out as a beautiful hot summer's day, but a ferocious storm moved in while the men were out at sea, killing seven of them. One boat returned with nobody on board. The disaster was retold as part of a Five Minute Theatre event organised by the National Theatre of Scotland last year, and had an airing on the web.
Map of the area.
© 2006 Phil Williams, via Wikimedia Commons