Mermaid of the North rules the waves again thanks to SSE

An iconic tourist attraction in Balintore, Ross-shire, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, has been saved following a grant from SSE’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The 10 foot sculpture of the mythical ‘Mermaid of the North’ was a main visitor attraction of the area before it was removed after substantial damage during the severe storms of 2012.

However following a successful application to the SSE Sustainable Development Fund earlier this year, she is once again back amongst the waves off Scotland’s coastline.

The award of £24,900 allowed the Seaboard Memorial Hall committee to replace the badly damaged wood and resin statue with a replica made of bronze – a more durable and sustainable solution.

The installation of the Mermaid was carried out in a precise manner: she was transported on the back of a lorry to the shore where she was then hoisted above the rock. The installation team then bore a 10 inch hole into the granite rock where stainless steel fixings secured her position against the worst the elements could throw at her.

The statue origins are deep rooted in Easter Ross folklore. As local legend goes, a fisherman stole a beautiful mermaid away to be his wife and hid her tail. Years later, after bearing his children, she found her tail and escaped back to sea, returning regularly to the shore to bring fish to her hungry children.

Part of a sculpture park, the Mermaid statue brings over 2,000 visitors annually to the small fishing town – a key source of business to local trade – and the restoration has allowed locals and tourists to once again see her perched upon the seashore rocks.

Director of Seaboard Memorial Hall, Maureen Ross, said about the long term impact of the grant: “We’re delighted to see the Mermaid back where she belongs. The new Mermaid of the North will last for a very long time, drawing increasing visitor numbers to the area and helping greatly with the local economy.”

Ciara Wilson, SSE Community Investment Manager, said: “I’d like to congratulate the team for the quick completion of the project. This is a great example of how SSE’s funding can help maintain local heritage and provide a boost for local business at the same time.”

Provided as part of a community benefit programme from SSE’s onshore wind farms, the SSE Highland Sustainable Development Fund is open to all non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities in the Highland region. The fund is expected to re-open for applications in Autumn 2015.

Find out more about our Sustainable Development Fund here.