A Brief History

The Bannockburn Inn has been around for over 170 years. The Inn used to take in travellers who arrived on horseback - the stables were across the road which is now a privately owned house. The Inn consisted of an off-licence, a snug and a few chairs huddled around a coal fire and a very small bar. The original arched entrance is still visible from outside but has long since been bricked up.

In the Polson Days
The Bannockburn Inn 1980

The Bannockburn Inn has always been a busy bar, you would often hear the sounds of Ceilidh. For a number of years popular locals Ethel and John could be heard playing the keyboard and accordion in the bar on a Saturday night.

Helmsdale was once the home of one of the largest herring fleets in Europe. When the fishermen arrived home from a considerable time at sea, the landlady would stand at the bar door awaiting her “dues” for the settlement of the tab from their last visit home - the wives, allegedly, getting their money second. There was talk of a customer who managed to get past the landlady before she got his money - it is said that she had him dragged from his house and hung upside-down from a beam in the bar and was shaken until all his change fell to the floor - happy with her tab being paid he was finally let down - suffice to say he never did it again!

The Helmsdale Harbour,
Christmas 2010

But nowadays, the Bannockburn Inn offers a much more friendly welcome providing food, drink and self-catering accommodation.  The Tartan Lounge Bar and Restaurant was refurbished and re-opened in 2011 and has built a reputation for the quality of its award winning steaks from the Mey Selections.

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