Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Dirlot Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.4173 / 58°25'2"N

Longitude: -3.4976 / 3°29'51"W

OS Eastings: 312611

OS Northings: 948636

OS Grid: ND126486

Mapcode National: GBR K6QG.YB8

Mapcode Global: WH5CB.7PQK

Entry Name: Dirlot Castle

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5897

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Halkirk

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument consists of the remains of a medieval castle which may date from the fifteenth century. It occupies a steep sided rock outcrop on the W bank of the River Thurso.

The outcrop, over 20m high, is naturally well defended with sheer drops on all sides. Access is easiest on the S side where the rock formations are block-like. The S side of the castle is defended by a curved stone and turf rampart (now with a central gap), about 2m high, extending 9m out from the base of the rock, measuring 25m NW-SE in length and approximately 8m in thickness. The castle occupies the

N portion of the rock summit. Stretches of its outer wall-face are preserved on the S and E, while the S portion of the summit formed a courtyard which had a stone parapet.

The rectangular keep measures 8.7m N-S by 5m over walls 0.7m thick. The courtyard is 9m N-S by 6m. Considerable amounts of stone have fallen from the S and E wall faces. An artificial platform of stones and earth appears to have

been constructed along the E bank of the river to the S of the castle.

The area to be scheduled is irregular, defined to the N and W by the foot of the cliff, to the E by the river bank, and extending S to a line running E-W, the nearest point of which is 20m S of the outer edge of the curved rampart, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a small medieval castle of considerable strength. Although not itself mentioned in charters, the associated lands of which passed to Odo alias Y Makky by Royal charter in 1499. In addition to its historical importance, it may preserve archaeological evidence with the potential to increase our understanding of defensive architecture, technology and construction methods, settlement evolution and material culture during the medieval and early post-medieval period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as ND 14 NW 5.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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