Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 00:19 UK

HMS Hood stones to be refurbished

HMS Sutherland
HMS Sutherland is twinned with the region of the same name

Stones spelling out the name of a region in the Highlands and first laid by crew from one of the Royal Navy's most famous ships will be refurbished.

The word Sutherland was set out on a hillside above the area's Loch Eriboll by crewmen of HMS Hood in 1935.

The battle cruiser was sunk in 1941 after an exchange of fire with the German battleship Bismarck.

The crew of HMS Sutherland plan to refurbish the stones during the vessel's tour of the Highlands.

The loch and others along the coast were used as an anchorage by the Royal Navy.

HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, is twinned with the region.

During the tour, the crew will stop off at towns and villages and also host visits to the ship and take on local teams at football and rugby.

When Bismarck was spotted in the Denmark Strait in May 1941, HMS Hood was sent in pursuit.

During the Battle of Denmark Strait it was bombarded with shells, one of which caused a huge explosion that ripped through the ship, sinking it in less than three minutes.

In 2001, the wreck of HMS Hood was found 3,000m below the surface of the sea between Greenland and Iceland.



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