written by
Andrew Baxter

Feel the lure of the mermaid pulling you to Balintore

Blog 1 min read

Hmmmm...that's a bit fishy! I can't see any water in today's #YCW2020 photo. Don't worry it definitely fits the Year of Coasts and Waters theme. The 'Mermaid of the North' sits upon a rock on the beach at Balintore. She's a beautiful 10ft high sculpture and is an enchanting depiction of the mythical creature. You can almost imagine sailors wrecking their ships on the rock as they fall victim to her charms.

Mermaid of the North Balintore
The Mermaid of the North - Balintore

I originally came across the mermaid, when exploring the Easter Ross area of the Highlands. Researching a history tour I was searching for the various Pictish stones that are to be found here. Stopping for a coffee in the fishing village of Balintore, I strolled along the shoreline enjoying the salty air of the Moray Firth. There sat upon a rock, stranded by low tide, is the alluring mermaid. She sits on the Clach Dubh, which means black rock in Gaelic. There's a large tidal range of 10 feet at Balintore with the mermaid's tail submerged at high tide.

Balintore and a local legend

The Mermaid of the North represents the legend of a local mermaid. She so bewitched a fisherman he cunningly captured her and hid her tail. The two married and had a family. Eventually, the yearn of the open waters was too much. The mermaid found her tail and escaped to the oceans. Thereafter, she frequently returned to Balintore to feed her hungry family.

Along with the neighbouring villages of Shandwick and Hilton, which almost flow into each other, Balintore forms what are known as the Seaboard villages. The mermaid is just one of five sculptures that make up the Seaboard Sculpture Trail. If you are in the area seek out the other sculptures. I rather like the giant salmon.

And just to prove that the mermaid is on a beach and not sat upon a rock high up in the mountains for some odd reason, here's a photo with the sea around her.

Mermaid of the North
The mermaid sat upon the Clach Dubh