A HIGHLAND community is aiming to raise £25,000 to send an ‘injured’ mermaid statue back to sea.
A sculpture of a mythical half-woman, half-fish – known as the Mermaid of the North – in Balintore, Easter Ross, has been removed from her rock in the sea and kept in safe keeping after becoming damaged.
Now the community want to recast her in bronze and return the mermaid to her perch, as she has become a popular tourist attraction.
The mermaid was created by the Seaboard Initiative community group to mark the Highland Year of Culture in 2007.
The work of art forms part of a sculpture park and is based on a local legend of a mermaid said to have been captured by a young man who hid her tail.
According to folklore, the couple married and raised a family, but she found her tail, put it on and went back to the sea.
The bronzed statue is constructed round a wooden frame. Structural damage, thought to have been caused by youngsters throwing stones, was made worse in severe storms last winter, leading to the surface breaking and water getting in.
The sculpture was lifted from her rock and taken ashore to dry out.
The local community want to recast it entirely in bronze to prevent the same thing happening again.
The statue is looked after by the local memorial hall committee, and director Maureen Ross said: “We don’t want to lose her because she is a very important asset to the community.
“Coach parties come this way and stop at the mermaid before coming to the cafe at the hall. She is very much a visitor attraction and if she goes it will impact on the economy of the Seaboard.
“We managed to secure the £2,220 to get her off the rock and she’s now gone to the Black Isle Bronze headquarters in Nairn.
“We’re looking to raise another £25,000 to get her cast in bronze.”
She plans to submit a funding application to Foundation Scotland’s enterprise ready grant scheme and hopes to have the sculpture back in place by Easter for the start of the tourist season.