Drystone dyking training day

Castletown Heritage Society operates the Castlehill Heritage Centre as an educational resource for visitors, local students and school children and the local community. Through a programme of interpretive exhibitions and interactive workshops, we seek to stimulate and sustain interest in and understanding of the history, heritage, vernacular skills, biodiversity and physical environment of Castletown and the parish of Olrig. Our aim is to preserve and maintain the unique heritage of our community within both local Caithness and broader Highland contexts.

To see events and activities from previous years, click here:

2012 2013

Guided village walk


All events take place in Castlehill Heritage Centre unless otherwise stated

Event detail colour key - those highlighted in GREEN are confirmed, those in GREY are yet to be confirmed

(Completed 2016 events in BLUE at bottom of listing)


Monday evenings

7 - 9pm

Castlehill Artists

Our very popular painting workshop with Helen Moore.

Sessions run from 7-9pm on Monday evenings at a cost of £8 per evening plus materials. Juniors and OAPs £5. Beginners are especially welcome

To find out more and register interest, click HERE

Nov - Feb

Open every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon from 2pm to 4pm

Winter Exhibition - Life At Home

A fascinating exhibition illustrating everyday life at home in Castletown in by-gone times. Featuring artefacts from the Society's extensive collection of objects, appliances, tools, furniture, photographs, newspapers and other domestic ephemera, some of which may be all too familiar…

To find out more click HERE


Tue 17 Jan


Evening Talk - Ice and Fire

An illustrated talk by Castletown Heritage Society committee members Neil Buchan and Elspet Chapman exploring the different styles and approaches to the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage in the diverse climates and ethnicity of Iceland and Cyprus.

All welcome. Admission free. Donations welcome.

To find out more click HERE

Sat 11 Feb


Traditional Music Workshop - Bothy Night

A traditional skills workshops exploring the social history of the bothy, and in particular the traditional songs and stories of the workers and farm servants who used to inhabit them. Featuring local artists and performers.

Bothies were outbuildings on a farm or estate, where unmarried labourers and workers used to sleep, often in harsh conditions. In the evening, to entertain themselves they told stories, sang old songs and often composed their own songs, occasionally lampooning their masters, working conditions or day to day events. The stories and songs were sometimes topically political, and given the single sex environment, frequently quite rude!

Our previous Bothy Night workshops have proved to be extremely popular, so early booking is advised!! Event includes a light supper. Bring own refreshments if desired. To find out more and register interest, click HERE

Date to be confirmed

Caithness Chair Workshop

We have received several enquiries over the years for information about the vernacular Caithness Chair. Fortunately we have a good surviving example in our artefacts collection, which has prompted us into exploring the possibility of running a hands-on traditional skills workshop focused on the manufacture and repair of these iconic chairs.

If all goes to plan the workshop will take place later this year. Full details to follow, but to find out more and register interest, click HERE

Date to be confirmed

Pottery Workshop

We are planning to run a hands-on traditional skills pottery workshop.

Details are still under development, but to find out more and register interest, click HERE

Date to be confirmed

Glass Craft Workshop

A unique opportunity to learn the art of 'Lampworking' glass in this hands-on traditional skills workshop. The workshop will be led by local award winning glass artist and master craftsman Ian Pearson, of Glass Creations, Thurso.

Full details to follow, but to find out more and register interest, click HERE



The 2016 programme of activities got underway with a series of evening talks:

Wednesday January 20th 2016 - Angela Simpson from Forsinard presented a talk entitled "Flows to the Future - a Landscape of Global Significance".

Wednesday February 10th 2016 - Caroline Wickham-Jones on "Underwater Survey and Changing Landscape of Prehistoric Orkney".

Tuesday 15th March 2016 - Muriel Murray revealed the fascinating social history of James Smith Esq. of Olrig.

Wednesday 20th April 2016 was our AGM where we to welcomed Anne Dunnett, Lord Lieutenant of Caithness as guest speaker. Her topic was "Feuar, Tenant, Wadsetter - An Insight into Land Tenure of Yesteryear".

Our first vernacular skills event of the year was a Rag Rug Workshop. Clemency Crowe led a class on Saturday 2nd April 2016.

See the NEWS page for reports on the above events.

Every Wed, Sat & Sun afternoon

2pm - 4pm

Winter Exhibition - Getting the message across

Our Winter Exhibition depicted communications in the parish through the ages, from word of mouth and the written word, through dispatch riders, beacons on hills, postal system, newspapers, telephone and fax, to radio, television, and the internet

To find out more, click HERE

Every Wed, Sat & Sun afternoon

2pm - 4pm

Big is Beautiful Exhibition

An exhibition exploring of some of our larger artefacts and items that command a substantial presence all of their own. From early labour saving kitchen and laundry equipment to a blacksmith’s pedal hammer, farm implements and a WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin engine!

To find out more, click HERE

June - Sept

Open every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon from 2pm to 4pm

Summer Exhibition - Flagstone Industry

Learn about how the Flagstone Industry shaped the social history of Castletown and the Parish of Olrig. Discover life as a flagstone worker in the 18th and 18th century, when the robust, high quality flagstone from the local quarries was exported as far afield as Argentina and Australia!

To find out more click HERE

Every Sunday in August

Afternoon Teas at Castlehill

In response to popular demand, on every Sunday in August we will be serving afternoon teas at Castlehill.

Unique, locally themed home baking Flagstone Biscuits, Primula Scotica Cup Cakes, and Dunnet Head Layer Cake. Guaranteed to get the taste buds dancing!

A perfect way to complement a Sunday afternoon stroll round the Flagstone trail or a meander round the Heritage Garden.

Thursday 26 December

1pm to 4pm

Boxing Day Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

Join us at Castlehill Heritage Centre for mulled wine, mince-meat pies and a good going chinwag on our traditional festive Boxing Day opening. Always a popular event!

Watch this space for confirmed dates and further details, alternatively:

CONTACT US by email or phone 01847 821 204

To book a place on an event, email or phone as above

Please ensure you make it clear which event you wish to book!