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TITLE
Ye Booke of Halkirk [1911], photograph of Dirlot Rock-pool
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_HALKIRK_060111_012A
PLACENAME
Halkirk
DISTRICT
Caithness - Western
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Halkirk
DATE OF IMAGE
1911
PERIOD
1910s
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
37834
KEYWORDS
villages
place names
castles
rivers
Ye Booke of Halkirk [1911], photograph of Dirlot Rock-pool

Page 12A of a booklet entitled 'Ye Booke of Halkirk - A Ross Institute Souvenir' published in 1911.

This page contains a photograph of Dirlot Rock Pool from top of Peel. 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 50 feet (15 metres) in the River Thurso. The rock is adjacent to a bend in the river next to the deep pool pictured here, 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 60 feet (18 metres) 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.

The Ross Institute was a building originally erected by John Ross, later Sir John Ross of Dunedin, New Zealand, who was born at Gerston, Halkirk, in November 1834. It was officially opened on 8 March, 1912 by his eldest son John Sutherland Ross. He gifted it to the people of this Parish in 1913. Completely renovated in 1997 it was re-opened by his great grandson, William Thomas Fergus Ross, of Dunedin, on 30 August 1997.

Halkirk is a small village situated 6 miles south of Thurso in Caithness.

The derivation of the place name Halkirk is a Norse form of ecclesiastical origin. It appears as Ha-kirkju in the Norse sagas, takes the forms of Haukirc and Haukyrc in two Latin documents of the thirteenth century, and is to the present day pronounced Haekirc by Gaelic speakers. The last limb is undoubtedly the Norse word for 'kirk,' and the first member is almost certainly the feminine form Ha of a Norse adjective, meaning 'high.' Hence Halkirk means 'High Kirk,' but why so called remains uncertain. It is quite possible that Hoy, a place-name in the immediate neighbourhood, also meaning 'high,' gave its designation to the kirk, and that in the name Halkirk Hoy lies concealed.

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Ye Booke of Halkirk [1911], photograph of Dirlot Rock-pool

CAITHNESS: Halkirk

1910s

villages; place names; castles; rivers

Highland Libraries

Ye Booke of Halkirk, 1911

Page 12A of a booklet entitled 'Ye Booke of Halkirk - A Ross Institute Souvenir' published in 1911.<br /> <br /> This page contains a photograph of Dirlot Rock Pool from top of Peel. 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 50 feet (15 metres) in the River Thurso. The rock is adjacent to a bend in the river next to the deep pool pictured here, rumoured to hold treasure guarded by a vicious water horse. <br /> <br /> It was a small keep, probably more for a small garrison of soldiers than for great defensive purposes. The tower rose to about 60 feet (18 metres) 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 /> The Ross Institute was a building originally erected by John Ross, later Sir John Ross of Dunedin, New Zealand, who was born at Gerston, Halkirk, in November 1834. It was officially opened on 8 March, 1912 by his eldest son John Sutherland Ross. He gifted it to the people of this Parish in 1913. Completely renovated in 1997 it was re-opened by his great grandson, William Thomas Fergus Ross, of Dunedin, on 30 August 1997.<br /> <br /> Halkirk is a small village situated 6 miles south of Thurso in Caithness.<br /> <br /> The derivation of the place name Halkirk is a Norse form of ecclesiastical origin. It appears as Ha-kirkju in the Norse sagas, takes the forms of Haukirc and Haukyrc in two Latin documents of the thirteenth century, and is to the present day pronounced Haekirc by Gaelic speakers. The last limb is undoubtedly the Norse word for 'kirk,' and the first member is almost certainly the feminine form Ha of a Norse adjective, meaning 'high.' Hence Halkirk means 'High Kirk,' but why so called remains uncertain. It is quite possible that Hoy, a place-name in the immediate neighbourhood, also meaning 'high,' gave its designation to the kirk, and that in the name Halkirk Hoy lies concealed.