History of Helmsdale Lodge & Hostel
Helmsdale Lodge & Hostel was built in 1931, as the village school gymnasium. From 1962 to 2005, it was taken over by the Scottish Youth Hostels Association and ran as a basic hostel up until they announced its closure in 2005. In 2006, the building was purchased by Irene Drummond, who carried out a sympathetic approach to renovations in efforts not only retain a hostel in the village, but to maintain as much character of the former school gymnasium as possible. In 2006, it was awarded a 4 star Visit Scotland accommodation grading. Since then the lodge has continued to provide quality and affordable accommodation for visitors travelling the far north coast of Scotland.
Marie started out her career as a medical scientist. She later trained as a Psychotherapist and used her skills within health and social work to help develop a professional community counselling service which she remains involved with. Marie also enjoys the great outdoors and has a passion for traveling and meeting people. She is also a keen cook and renowned for producing culinary delights on a basic camping stove on her many sea-kayaking and cycling trips.
Irene’s father first introduced her to hostelling and cycle touring. As a child she can still recall defiantly saying to her father ‘if there is another hill I am not moving’ - nonetheless with his encouragement they always made their destination! She remains an avid cyclist and has toured extensively through the UK, Europe, America, Canada and Asia. Next trip on her list is Tennessee and New Orleans - any advice from fellow cyclist’s welcome! Irene is also interested in bee keeping, bronze casting, woodworking and has completed a furniture making course in Maine, USA.