Castle Sinclair Girnigoe | Caithness

Visit Caithness in the Scottish Highlands for Castles and Holidays in Scotland

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. To visit the castle take Noss Head road (drive towards Staxigoe) from Wick and at the end of the single track road you will find a car park and picnic area. The castle is down a relatively short walk from the car park.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Dogs should be kept on a lead when sheep are nearby and also for safety as there are steep cliffs near the castle. The path is well maintained although it is best to wear good strong shoes or walking boots. Please close all gates.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Path from Car Park to Castle

Track to Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe first seen from the path down from the car park

Path down to the castle from the car park is on a farm track. It is an easy walk to the coast and castle.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe was continuously inhabited by the Sinclair Earls of Caithness until George Sinclair, the 6th Earl of Caithness died without issue in 1676, after which John Campbell of Glen Orchy, who married George Sinclair’s widow, claimed the title of Earl of Caithness, as well as Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. George Sinclair of Keiss, who was considered the rightful heir, stormed the castle in 1679, an action which led to the Battle of Altimarlech in 1680, in which the Campbells were victorious.

In 1690, George Sinclair of Keiss once again besieged the castle, but this time it was destroyed. Although he reclaimed the title of Earl of Caithness for Clan Sinclair, Castle Sinclair Girnigoe was now a ruined shell (information from Wikipedia page).

Recent work by the Clan Sinclair Trust has worked at protecting the castle structure which was basically falling into the sea. The work of the Trust has been impressive and is ongoing to preserve part of Scotland history.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

The track down to Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is close to farmland so dogs need to be kept under close control.

Scottish Castle

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe with steep cliffs around the castle

The castle is in a well defended position with cliffs surrounding the castle and views over Sinclair's Bay


Conservation work on the castle structures has taken places over several years

Bridge over to Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Bridge over the Castle

Bridge over to the castle spanning the steep cliffs around the castle

Castle entrance

Castle entrance


Castle was larger in the past with chapel and inner courtyard

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe ruined castle

Castle Girnigoe - position on coastline

Castle Girnigoe

Coastal area around the castle

Coastal area around the castle

Coastal area around the castle

Scotland Coastal Castle Natural Environment

Coastal area information around the castle


The information posters around the castle help you appreciate the history of the castle and natural environment around the coastline in Caithness.

Caithness Castle Location Map

Castle location map

Castle map location.

Coastal area around the castle - Picture 3 Coastal area around the castle - Picture 4 Coastal area around the castle - Picture 5