The village of Helmsdale employed numerous coopers during the herring boom to make wooden barrels to store fish. The cooper required skill, strength and intelligence to make the casks watertight. The wooden oak staves, over 100 years old, were imported into Helmsdale Harbour, along with the iron hoops. The cooper would bend the staves and stack them in his yard for up to 36 months to enable the wood to dry in the open air. He used a range of tools to cut and shape the wood and fit the iron hoops. In 1839, over 25,000 barrels of herring were exported from the harbour.Click on an image to view it larger. Roll your cursor over the image to select ‘next’ or ‘previous’ arrows which will allow you to browse the full gallery without leaving this page.