Welcome to the Scottish Highlands, where north of Inverness you will discover Caithness and Sutherland, two counties that covers an area from the east coast to the west of Highland Scotland. At the far top right corner of the Scottish Highlands is the county of Caithness, an ancient land lived in by the Picts and invaded by the Vikings. Explore the far north of Scotland in pictures and maps and plan your next visit to Scotland and the Highlands of Scotland.
When you visit Caithness and Sutherland you will discover stunning scenery making this area a perfect place for holidays for all the family. As the countryside and landscape varies from high rugged and remote mountain ranges and wild places, to crofting and farming communities and fishing towns and villages. The area has a fascinating range of old castles, remnants of pictish settlements, standing stones, and brochs along with the more recent effects of the clearances with abandoned villages and houses now long empty.
For latest on whale and dolphin sightings - see Facebook group Caithness & Moray Firth Cetacean Sightings
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Harold's Tower- this distinctive building can be seen from several locations around Thurso and can be visited by taking the road from Thurso to John O’Groats and then taking the road toward the water treatment plant on the outskirts of the town. Harold’s Tower was built around 1780 and was possibly used as a mausoleum, some say it was a folly. It is in a location called Hill of Clairdon, being next to where Earl Harold (the younger) is supposed to have been killed and buried at the Battle of Clardon Hill in 1196, the Tower is said to have been built to commemorate Earl Harold’s death in battle. The Tower was built by Sir John Sinclair. More on Harold's Tower along with Highland Historic Environment record of the site.
Mary Ann’s cottage lies near Dunnet within sight of Dwarwick pier that is at the end of the single track road coming from Dunnet. This old traditional croft was lived in by Mary-Ann Calder up until 1990 when she moved into a residential home. She had lived and worked the croft with her husband most of her life. Since this time the croft has been looked after by a Heritage Trust and volunteers now provide a guided tour of the croft when the building is open to visitors during the summer. The building and contents have been preserved to show how the building was lived in, and the croft worked, until relatively recently. Pictures and location map for Mary-Ann's Cottage.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is located about 3 miles north of Wick on the east coast of Caithness, Scotland. It is considered to be one of the earliest seats of Clan Sinclair. It comprises the ruins of two castles - the 15th-century Castle Girnigoe and the early 17th-century Castle Sinclair. Pictures, location map and more on the Castle.
Camster Cairns is a site of the Grey Cairns of Camster and the Round Cairn. The structures on this site are around 5,000 years old. The long cairns - known as the Grey Cairns of Camster were recreated in the 1980's, previously they were seen only as mounds in the moorland landscape.
Caithness and Sutherland has enough to keep most adventurers busy for several weeks and for people lucky to live in this area of Scotland the ever changing seasons and weather offer a new perspective on the area with every movement of the clouds and ray of sunshine. It is indeed a magical area and we you are very welcome you to visit the area and enjoy the beautiful scenery, historic buildings and some of the loveliest beaches in Britain.
John o' Groats is an iconic destination for people undertaking the NC 500 route around Highlands of Scotland as well as being the start / end point for many sponsored events raising money for charity. At John O’ Groats you can shop or enjoy a relaxing meal or quick snack at the cafés and hotel, watch out for passing killer whales, or take a day trip on the John O’ Groats ferry to Orkney.
Castle of Mey near John O' Groats, Caithness.One of Scotland's best loved castles is the Castle of Mey, purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1952, who restored the castle and developed the walled gardens. It is now open to the public during spring and summer months. You can now stay within the castle grounds in the newly opened The Granary Lodge B&B where you can experience luxury while on the North Coast 500 route around the north of Scotland.
Scrabster harbour and ferry port is an important part of Caithness with the ferry connecting Orkney to Caithness, while the harbour supports the fishing, offshore oil, gas and wind power industries. The marina is busy with local fishing and leisure boats and also has boats available for charter for sea fishing trips around Caithness and Orkney.
Wick and the busy commercial Wick Harbour and marina, Walrus in Scotland, St John's Pool, Skirza, Scot Trader (ship), Havila Subsea at Scrabster Harbour, Eye of the Wind Sailing Ship at Scrabster, Sandside Beach overlooking Dounreay, pictures of seals near John O' Groats, Peedie Sands along from Dwarwick Pier, near Dunnet. Along the coastline of Caithness you will find historic villages including the small Fresgoe / Sandside harbour near Dounreay.
Nybster on the north east coast of Scotland for brochs, Nybster Broch - an Iron Age Atlantic roundhouse / broch at Nybster, Nybster old fishing harbour and monuments. Camster Cairns is also a fascinating place to visit to see depictions of burial cairns that were in Caithness thousands of years ago.
Scrabster, Mary Ann's Cottage, Yarrows Archaeological Trail, Yarrows, Whaligoe Steps, Staxigoe, St John's Loch, Sarclet, Noss Head Lighthouse, Lybster - a small east coast fishing village in Caithness with harbour, and hotels. Dwarwick pier looks over Dunnet Bay and the sandy beach area at Dunnet, as well as the start point for walking over to Peedie Sands beach, following the coastal path.
Laidhay croft museum - a 200 year old thatched longhouse, about crofting life in the Highlands. Keiss village in the north-east of Caithness with its old castle, ancient brochs, Keiss harbour and harbour house (available to rent for holidays and short breaks) along with the nearby Keiss beach.
Latheronwheel village and harbour, Hill O' Many Stanes reputed to be over 4,000 years old, Brough where you will often see seals near or on the jetty at Brough, Brough is on the road to near Dunnet Head, a popular location for whale watching. Sannick beach near John O' Groats has lovely views over towards Orkney.
Interesting resources on the Internet about Caithness and Sutherland
Old maps of Caithness and Sutherland held on the British History Online website, developed by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.