Ancient Monuments

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Castletown Battery, battery 505m north of Tralorn

A Scheduled Monument in Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.6017 / 58°36'6"N

Longitude: -3.4049 / 3°24'17"W

OS Eastings: 318454

OS Northings: 969047

OS Grid: ND184690

Mapcode National: GBR K5YZ.YVM

Mapcode Global: WH6CQ.N2T5

Entry Name: Castletown Battery, battery 505m N of Tralorn

Scheduled Date: 10 October 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13625

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery

Location: Olrig

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Thurso and Northwest Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is the remains of a coastal artillery battery constructed around 1866. It is visible as a mortared stone wall and earth bank, with two cannon embrasures. A small sunken chamber lies at the east end of the battery and a rectangular building at the west. The battery is located on the coast overlooking Dunnet Bay, around 10m above sea level.

The monument was constructed in response to the perceived threat of a French invasion, and manned by a volunteer artillery battalion. The wall of the battery is constructed of Caithness slabs and stands 1.95m high, measuring 0.73m wide at the base, tapering to 0.48m at the top. It is protected on the seaward side by an earth bank measuring about 7m wide and 1.5m high. The two cannon embrasures are slightly splayed and faced with Caithness slabs bolted to timber beams running across the width of the bank. The small sunken chamber, likely the powder room, is set down three steps at the east end of the wall and bank, while the rectangular building, which measures 6.45m in length by 3.4m transversely, is at the west end of the battery.

The scheduled area is irregular in plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but excludes the post and wire fence to the north and east.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular of the construction and use of late 19th century artillery batteries. It is a good example of a coastal artillery battery that retains its field characteristics, and represents one of the best preserved examples of its class. The monument is an unusual survival of a formerly common defensive structure, and can significantly expand our understanding of the history of defence and volunteer forces in Caithness and Scotland in the late 19th century. The loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the nature and character of late 19th century artillery batteries and the role of volunteer regiments within Caithness society and more widely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The Highland Council Historic Environment Record Reference is MHG52816.

Grierson, James Moncrieff, Lt Gen Gen, 1909. Records of the Scottish Volunteer Force, William Blackwood and Sons.

Ordnance Survey, Name Book. Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Caithness Volume 7, 32.

Watson, G 1996. The Artillery Batteries at Mey and Castletown (Caithness Field Club Bulletin Vol. 5 Number 8), Vol 5, Number 8.

HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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