Friday, 7 August 2020

Keiss Castle

 Keiss Castles - the old and the not so old. The 'old' one was built by George, 5th Earl of Caithness

Even older inhabitants lived just along the way - Keiss Broch apparently dates back to the 1st centuries BC/AD

Saturday, 18 July 2020


Known today as a Clearance Village this was the precarious home of people who were removed from  their inland homes to make way for sheep

Ultimately their living was so precarious that they chose to depart for New Zealand

Around 1793 Sir John Sinclair evicted 12 families from his Langwell Estate, then around 1804 James Anderson evicted more people from Ausdale. Then in 1830 Donald Horne, then of the Langwell Estate, removed families from the nearby Auchencraig to Badbea and finally in early the 1840s Horne evicted families who had lived at Badbea all their lives

A Monument in memory of the residents of Badbea was erected in 1911

Thursday, 16 July 2020



The name of Timothy Post is synonymous with cartography as the first to produce detailed maps of Scotland. Timothy and his brother Zachary also have connections to Caithness.

Dunnet Church

Timothy Pont was minister of Dunnet Church from 1602 to 1610. Dunnet Kirk however has a history back to the 13th century.

Zachary Pont was for a short term minister in Bower. Zachary was married to a daughter of John Knox.

Bower Church
Bower Church the resting place of the Henderson of Stemster family is now a little overgrown'

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Much of the base of Caithness is made of flagstone - a commodity that when quarried has been shipped across the world. Pavements in many of the world's cities are made of Caithness Flagstone. Flagstone quarries still exist but many like this one at Achscrabster are now largely part of our industrial heritage.

A feature of this and other local quarries was the use of windmills for power. The surviving Achscrabster stump, one of several still existing, is about 12 ft diameter at the base and 13 ft high, and was probably operational pumping water in c1860.

Thursday, 11 June 2020


The centre piece of the township of Ackergill is Ackergill Tower. Helen Gunn, the maid of Braemore was abducted and held captive in Ackergill Tower. She jumped and today her ghost is reputed to continue to move among the rooms.

Greatly enlarged by Sir Richard Dunbar of Hempriggs, it became the Dunbar ‘seat’ for many years. The Dunbar’s were also instrumental in establishing a harbour and a fishing station at Ackergill. Fishermen and their families were imported from the Moray Coast. Sitting in Sinclair Bay it was something of a harbour of refuge when ships that were unable to enter Wick Harbour. Passengers from the regular Steamers were often landed at Ackergill. Boats however did have challenges in Sinclair Bay and to negate the need to wheel a lifeboat out from Wick, Ackergill was established as a Lifeboat Station.

Farming land is rich in Ackergill and supported three large farms – Ackergill Mains, Upper Ackergill and Shorelands.