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Crosskirk and St Mary's Church - Visit Caithness

Crosskirk in Caithness | visit Scotland and explore the Scottish Highlands

Crosskirk is a small hamlet, mostly of agricultural and coastal land, around 6 miles west of Thurso in Caithness. The area has historical connections with a lost broch, and St Mary’s Church and burial ground, the Chapel dates back to the 12th century and is the oldest church building in Caithness. On OS maps you can also see several abandoned quarries nearby. Crosskirk has a small rocky bay, Crosskirk Bay, with the salmon fishing river – Forss Water running into it. The iconic ruined building next to the stony beach, next to the river, provides photographers an interesting background to the rugged coastal landscape. The beach, ruined building, along with St Mary’s Chapel is a short walk (half a mile to the Chapel, around 10 minutes steady walk) from a private area where you are allowed to park your car. The parking areas is at the end of the road leading to Crosskirk from the main A836 road. Dogs need to be kept on the lead when livestock is seen in the farm fields.

Fishing on the river – Forss Water is private fishing, some salmon fishing beats may be available as certain times of the year. The website for Forss Water provides details.

Crosskirk near Thurso in Caithness, Scotland.

Crosskirk - showing the ruined house next to the river - Forss Water, with St Mary's Chapel and burial ground in the distance.

St Mary's Chapel signpost

The Historic Scotland (now called Historic Environment Scotland) sign next to the car parking area and gate.

St Mary's Chapel

St Mary's Chapel, over 800 years old, the building without a roof can be entered. The Chapel and burial ground is surrounded by a more recently built wall.

St Mary's Chapel

St Mary's Chapel burial ground - gravestone dating to 1778. The earliest legible gravestone is dated 1692.

Entrance - St Mary's Chapel

Entrance - St Mary's Chapel

Gated Entrance to Burial Ground St Mary's Chapel

Gated Entrance to Burial Ground St Mary's Chapel

Burial Ground at St Mary's Chapel

Burial Ground at St Mary's Chapel

Walled area around St Mary's Chapel

Walled area around St Mary's Chapel

Crosskirk Cairn located near the location of the broch

The cairn is located at the location of the broch that was destroyed and covered over after being investigated and photographed.  The broch was excavated by Fairhurst and Taylor during 1966-1972 for the Department of the Environment, before being demolished, earthed over and seeded with grass. More photographs and information can be found on Highland Historic Environment Recordand other information on Historic Environment Scotland website.

Crosskirk Cairn located near the location of the broch

When you look the cairn on the coastal side you may possibly see the remains of the broch.

Crosskirk with the river - Forss Water running into Crosskirk Bay

Crosskirk Bay with Forss Water, a salmon river, running into the bay. Remains of an old building is on the foreshore.

Abandoned house on the shore of Crosskirk Bay nest to Forss Water

Remains of an old building is nest to Forss Water that runs past it into the bay. The mound of stones is interesting although I have no information on what it is from.

Sunset over Brims Ness

Picture Gallery of the area around Crosskirk

Crosskirk - Caithness, Scotland

View over Crosskirk Bay

Coastal View over Crosskirk Bay

Coastal View over Crosskirk Bay

Forss Water and Crosskirk Bay

Forss Water and Crosskirk Bay

Path to Crosskirk Bay and St Mary's Chapel, Caithness

Path to Crosskirk Bay and St Mary's Chapel

Path to Crosskirk and St Mary's Chapel, Caithness

Path to St Mary's Chapel

Forss Water, a salmon fishing river in Caithness, Scotland

Forss Water, a salmon fishing river in Caithness

Bridge over Forss Water, a salmon fishing river in Caithness, Scotland

Bridge over Forss Water towards St Mary's Chapel

Building ruin and mound of stones - Caithness, Scotland

Building ruin and mound of stones

Old House at Crosskirk - Caithness, Scotland

Old House at Crosskirk

House on shoreline at Crosskirk Bay - Caithness, Scotland

House on shoreline at Crosskirk Bay

House at Crosskirk Bay - Caithness, Scotland

House at Crosskirk Bay

Cairn at Crosskirk - Caithness, Scotland

Cairn near "missing" broch location

Lichen on drystone wall at Crosskirk

Lichen on drystone wall at Crosskirk

Sea birds on rocks, Caithness coastline

Sea birds on rocks, Caithness coastline

Caithness coastline at Crosskirk

Caithness coastline at Crosskirk

Croft House near shoreline

Croft House near shoreline

Crosskirk, Caithness Location Map

Crosskirk location map

Crosskirk map location