Coast in Golspie with Ben Bhraggie behind the village
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
During a series of visits from the Right Honourable Elizabeth Countess of Sutherland plans were drawn up for the regulations that were written in to future leases, imposing restrictions on the 'tacksmen' with regard to sub-setting and overstocking, and requiring them to adopt improving farming techniques. Consideration was also given to possible development of fishing villages on the east coast, the absence of any safe harbour being the greatest hindrance. Local fishermen used only small, light boats which could be drawn up onto the beach when not in use and this confined them to line fishing close to the shore. The herring fishing in the North Sea (at that time known as the German Ocean) was in the hands of the Dutch, who had a good fleet of decked vessels - the 'Holland Busses' - and it was hoped that some means could found of developing a similar trade for the benefit of the people of Sutherland.
In one visit (between July and August 1805) the first plans were laid for Golspie village. It was to be based on "the street of the Fishertown of Golspy" and was to consist of houses 50 feet by 20, each with a croft of 3/4 acre, The people were to get a 99 years lease for their houses, which they were to building themselves, but the croft ground was to be re-let annually, this permitting changes in the lay-out of the village from time-to-time. In addition to the individual crofts, it was intended to provide common cow pasture.
One improvement was quickly made and that was the building of a little pier or jetty to provide a safe landing place for boats serving Dunrobin. In a letter to her husband the Countess described how she had caused intimation to be given at the Church door that forty men were wanted for the next week at the rate of 1/- a day, to build this jetty, using stones from the beach. The work was supervised by William Pope, who was being considered as a possible person to take charge of the proposed development of the harbours at Culgour and Helmsdale.
In April 1805 the Colonel Campbell submitted for Presbytery's approval a plan for a new schoolhouse in Golspy, the old one having been classed as ruinous the previous year. The plan for the new one was as follows:- the school was to be 40 ft in length, a kitchen 12 ft and the master's room 14 ft; the width all through to be 14 ft; the side walls 7.5 ft high, a roof of grey slate and to be furnished with windows, locks and doors, desks and seats, the total cost being £127:12/-.
Centred on Loch Fleet, three miles south of Golspie, is a national nature reserve with wading birds, wildfowl and seals. Osprey, terns and swallows frequent the loch in summer. Rare wild flowers and plants can be seen in nearby Balblair Wood.
There are four hotels, several guesthouses and bed and breakfast premises as well as self-catering cottages. Dunrobin Castle, the seat of Clan Sutherland, is nearby and has falconry displays. There is a static caravan site. The Old Bank Road drill hall was completed in 1892.
The village has a Choral Group, Rotary Club, and dancing classes. At the start of August Golspie Gala Week is held. Among the 100 events staged throughout the week are a car-banger derby, a fancy dress parade, a wheelbarrow race and a parade of massed pipe bands as a finale. Golspie Heritage Society has a permanent home in the former Fisherman's Welcome on Station Road. The IT-equipped public library, open for limited periods four days weekly, is in the Community Centre complex adjoining the High School.
There is a small hospital, The Lawson Memorial hospital, located just off the main road to the south of the centre of the village. Among other services, the hospital provides a pain clinic and offers pain intervention procedures as part of the Chronic Pain Management Service for the whole of the northern Highland Region.
Buses operate about every two hours Mondays-Saturdays and infrequently on Sundays from Golspie to Dornoch, Tain and Inverness in the south and Brora, Helmsdale, Berriedale, Dunbeath, Halkirk, Thurso and Scrabster in the north. These are on route X99 and are operated by Stagecoach in the Highlands, but tickets can be bought on the Citylink website.
Golspie has award-winning safe bathing beaches to the north and south of the tidal pier and there is also a public swimming pool in the centre of the village. The Kart Race Track is a mile or two down Ferry Road. The golf course has a mix of links, parkland and heath and there are central facilities for tennis and bowling, football and playing fields. Around Golspie there are opportunities for walking, bird watching and botany study, fossil-hunting and gorges and waterfalls. There is loch and sea angling, as well as sailing and yachting in the bay. In 2006 mountain bike trails were opened on the slopes of Beinn Bhragaidh.
Notable people from Golspie
- Megan Boyd (1915 – 2001), fly-tier
- Lewis Williamson, Formula Renault driver
- Jimmy Yuill, Royal Shakespeare Company actor
- Adam Gunn (1872 – 1935), American athlete, was born in the village
- Professor Gordon MacLeod, international educator: UK, Australia, Pakistan, Africa
- Professor Donald Mackenzie, University of Edinburgh
- William Fowler (architect) (1824-1906), who designed a high proportion of the public buildings in Golspie
- Geordie Jack (singer /songwriter) founding member of country music group Colorado, recipient of induction into British Country Music Association hall of fame.
- Maclean, R. (nd) Gaelic and Norse in the Landscape: Place names in Caithness and Sutherland, Scottish Natural Heritage, ISBN 978-1-85397-633-9
- Wilson Grant, Margaret (1983). Golspie's Story. Edinburgh: Northern Times. ISBN 978-1873610015.[unreliable source?]
- "Golspie, Old Bank Road, Volunteer Drill Hall". Canmore. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- List of Mod's places for each year on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig website
- "Berriedale ● Dunbeath ● Wick ● Gills Bay & Inverness ● Dornoch ● Golspie ● Brora ● Dunbeath ● Thurso - Timetable from 7 April 2014" (PDF). Stagecoach Bus. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Beach awards- Golspie beach". Keep Scotland Beautiful. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Golspie: Contributions to its Folklore, 1887, Annie and Bella Cumming and others.
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