This postcard from 1915 shows Castle Street and the Hector McDonald Memorial, Dingwall.
The original castle from which Castle Street takes its name probably dated from more than a thousand years ago. Then the Maormores ruled Ross and they almost certainly built a stronghold in the place we know as Dingwall. Macbeth is believed to have been born in the castle here in 1005 and was himself for a short time Maormore of Ross.
The Norse leader Thorfin, who established his "seat of justice" or "thing vollr" on the Greenhill to the west of the town and gave Dingwall its name, had a castle on the same site which was the centre of social and judicial life.
Tradition has it that when Earls of Ross held sway here until the fifteenth century, the castle was among the largest and strongest north of Dumbarton and Stirling.
However when the last earl joined a failed attempt to overthrow the throne and the earldom was confiscated by the crown the castle became a ruin by neglect. It was finally demolished in 1818. Some of the stone was used to build a "doocot" which still stands in Castle Street today. Any fragments of the original building are in the grounds of a "fort" style house called "the Castle" built in 1821 for Captain Roderick Maclennan
The building in the middle, on the corner of Castle Street and the High Street, is the mid-Victorian Royal Hotel. Built on the site of the old almshouse, it was formerly known as the Gladstone Building. The mother of William Gladstone, four times Prime Minister of Great Britain was born in Dingwall. Gladstone was given the Freedom of Dingwall in 1853.
Castle Street leads to Hill Street and Mitchell Hill, named after John Mitchell, a provost of Dingwall. On top is the impressive monument to Major-General Sir Hector Macdonald, the son of a Black Isle crofter who joined the army as a private and whose rise through the ranks was unprecedented. He served with distinction in Afghanistan, South Africa, India and Sudan and became a national hero, earning the nickname "Fighting Mac". He was knighted in 1901 but grave charges were brought against him. After reading damaging reports in the press he committed suicide in a Paris hotel in 1903.