What to do in and around Castletown,
Dunnet and Dwarick


Heritage Centre Sculpture Trail Flagstone Walk
Dunnet Ranger Centre Forest Walk Mary Ann's Cottage
Castlehill Harbour Dwarick Pier  Peedie Sands
Dunnet Beach Sculpture St Clair Arms Hotel St. John's Loch
Castletown Heritage Centre

Is currently looking for new premises and it is believed that it should be up and running again in 2005.

Castlehill Community Woodlands and Sculpture Trail

This gentle walk is a pure pleasure on a sunny day. Hidden among the trees and grass you will find all sorts of interesting and informative sculpture. Flagstone has been used imaginatively to inform visitors of the birds, sea creatures and plant life in the area. There are picnic tables where you can sit in peace and soak up the atmosphere.

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Dunnet Head Information Centre
The Castletown Flagstone Walk, Castlehill

A signposted and detailed walk taking you round the various parts of the Castlehill flagstone trail.  There are plenty of details informing the visitor of the local traditional flag-stone industry in past times.  If you look at the field walls in Caithness you will see two main types.  One is made of large flat flagstones and the other is a built wall of flagstone fragments, similar to the building seen in the picture on the right.

Flagstones were exported from Caithness from about 1825 and you will find many towns - even in the South of England paved with them.  The flagstones were exported no only all around Britian but also around the world with some to be found in Bombay, Sydney, Dunedin and Montevideo.

 Well worth the walk on a sunny day and especially as you have the beautiful backdrop of Dunnet Head beckoning you on to Dunnet Beach and the Ranger Centre there.

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Dunnet Ranger Centre

Are you interested in plants, wildlife, burial chambers, beaches, fossils and walks in the area? The Ranger Centre is where to go for help and advice.  Guided walks available. 

Opening Hours: 
Tues-Fri 2pm -5pm
Sat/Sun 2pm to 6pm from April to the end of September. 
Closed Monday.

Dunnet Beach Sculpture Competition every year in the 2nd week of August.  See Pictures!

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Dunnet Forest Walk
Near the Dunnet end of Dunnet Links you will find the Dunnet Links National Nature Reserve.  This includes a large wooded area complete with bridges and walkways, a good place for children and even toddlers should manage to toddle it!

Dunnet Links is one of the largest sand-dune areas in the North of Scotland and the reserve hosts at least 230 different plant species, one of which is the Scottish Primrose which is only found on the North coast of Scotland and in the Orkney Isles.

Mary-Ann's Cottage

Take the A863 to Dunnet, turn toward Brough and Dunnet Head, keep straight on at the first junction (toward Dwarick Pier).

 A crofter's cottage build in 1850, preserved by Mary-Ann the last of the family. Depicting a way of life seldom seen in these days.

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The Harbour at Castletown, Castlehill

A lovely working harbour built in the 1820's by James Bremner of Keiss for James Traill of Rattar after he purchased Castlehill House and established the flagstone industry at Castlehill Quarry.

The Harbour was built to ship the flagstone produced by the quarry.  The ships used to take the flagstone would return with loads of coal, oilcake and other feedstuff.

The Harbour is now administered by a trust.

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Dwarick Pier and Slipway

The people of Dunnet, along with Caithness County Council funded and constructed this pier and slipway.

The Pier has had it's fair share of winter storm damage, in the winter of 1967/70, the lower slipway was washed away.

The pier is used by many people for diving (sub-aqua), fishing from the end of it and launching of small boats.  There is a picnic area and car park to allow visitors to relax and explore the area.  If you cross over the hill from Dwarick and follow along the coast - be very wary and don't go too near the cliff-edges,  you will come to what is known as the Peedie Sands.  A lovely secluded beach.

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Peedie Sands
Over the hill from Dwarick Pier you will find a small sandy beach.  This is a lovely sheltered beach and a nice walk.  Beware of the cliffs though.  DO NOT GO NEAR THE EDGE!  The cliffs could crumble and it is always dangerous to go too near the edge.  There is a style across the fence and a vague path along the cliff top to the Peedie Sands.  
 

This picture was taken from underneath an overhang at the end of the beach.

Otters have been seen here.

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St. John's Loch
The story goes that this loch has curative powers.  To reap the benefit of these powers you should walk around it, bathe in it, throw a piece of silver into it and be gone by sunrise.

However, anyone taking away a bit of silver from the loch would then acquire the disease of the cured person!

Click here for Fishing information