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TITLE
Dirlot Castle
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_352_FM_P009
PLACENAME
Dirlot Castle
DISTRICT
Western
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Halkirk
DATE OF IMAGE
1780
PERIOD
1780s
CREATOR
C Cordiner
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31186
KEYWORDS
castles
buildings
rivers
rocks
keeps
legends
Dirlot Castle

Dirlot Castle was built in the first half of the 14th century by Sir Reginald Cheyne. Although most castles in Caithness are on the coast, Dirlot Castle is about 20 miles inland in the middle of the Flow Country, an ever- moving peat bog.

The castle was built on a plug of rock which rises to almost 50ft (15m) in the River Thurso. The rock is adjacent to a bend in the river next to a deep pool, rumoured to hold treasure guarded by a vicious water horse.
It was a small keep, probably more for a small garrison of soldiers than for great defensive purposes. The tower rose to about 60ft (18m) and had three storeys. During its useful life it was occupied by the Cheynes, the Gunns, the Mackays and the Sutherlands, before it was abandoned around 1660. Stones from the building were used in other projects in the area including the wall of the nearby graveyard.

This illustration was taken from 'Antiquities and Scenery of the North of Scotland, in a series of letters to Thomas Pennant Esq', by Rev Charles Cordiner, Minister of St Andrew's Chapel, Banff (1780)

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Dirlot Castle

CAITHNESS: Halkirk

1780s

castles; buildings; rivers; rocks; keeps; legends

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

Dirlot Castle was built in the first half of the 14th century by Sir Reginald Cheyne. Although most castles in Caithness are on the coast, Dirlot Castle is about 20 miles inland in the middle of the Flow Country, an ever- moving peat bog.<br /> <br /> The castle was built on a plug of rock which rises to almost 50ft (15m) in the River Thurso. The rock is adjacent to a bend in the river next to a deep pool, rumoured to hold treasure guarded by a vicious water horse. <br /> It was a small keep, probably more for a small garrison of soldiers than for great defensive purposes. The tower rose to about 60ft (18m) and had three storeys. During its useful life it was occupied by the Cheynes, the Gunns, the Mackays and the Sutherlands, before it was abandoned around 1660. Stones from the building were used in other projects in the area including the wall of the nearby graveyard.<br /> <br /> This illustration was taken from 'Antiquities and Scenery of the North of Scotland, in a series of letters to Thomas Pennant Esq', by Rev Charles Cordiner, Minister of St Andrew's Chapel, Banff (1780)