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 2015 event reports in BLUE at bottom of listing)


Open every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

from 2pm to 4pm

Exhibition - Domestic artefacts over time

A fascinating display of artefacts, tools and domestic equipment from a bygone era and how these have evolved over time. Are the modern 'labour saving' gadgets we take for granted an improvement over what used to be used? Or are we just fooled into thinking so at the hand of advertising pressure? Decide for yourself!


First Sunday of every month from 1.30pm to 3.30pm


Third Thursday of every month from 7pm - 9pm

Castlehill Spinning Group

Returning spinners and new spinners most welcome.

Come along and have a try. Demo wheel available. Come and be inspinnerised!!

To find out more and register interest, click HERE


All Year

Castlehill Archaeology Club

The Castlehill Archaeology Club meets regularly under the guidance of Paul Humphreys.

Interested in taking part? - click HERE

See also CAT website for details.

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



Thu 22 Jan 7.30pm

Tue 10 Feb 7.30pm

Tue 17 Mar 7.30pm

Wed 15 Apr 7.30pm

2015 Evening talks programme

Following on from the success of the highly popular series of winter evening talks held earlier this year, a full programme of talks has been arranged as follows:


Thursday 22nd January 2015. The speaker will be Ian Leith and the title of the talk is "The Men Who Went Far Away". It is about Caithness men and women who went to Patagonia in the late 19th, early 20th Centuries.

Tuesday 10th February 2015. The speaker will be Neil Buchan and the title of the talk is "Iceland - a Caithness Saga". It is an illustrated talk about an intrepid Caithness explorer and his experiences of the fascinating cultural and archaeological heritage of Iceland and the Icelandic mission to develop tourism.

Tuesday 17th March 2015. The speaker will be Nick Lindsay of Clyne Heritage Society and the title of the talk is "Highland Graveyards". This talk will not just be a straight talk listing graveyards but will contain some amusing information.

Wednesday 15th April 2015. The speaker will again be Neil Buchan and the title of the talk is " Traditional Icelandic Turf Buildings". This is an illustrated talk about Neil's hands-on experiences at the Fornverkaskolinn Heritage Craft School in northern Iceland and its activities promoting the preservation of traditional Icelandic building skills and methods. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE

All talks will take place in Castlehill Heritage Centre and will start at 7.30pm prompt.

Watch this space for further details. To find out more click HERE

Wed 29 April


Castletown Heritage Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Castletown Heritage Society will be held in the Castlehill Heritage Centre on Wednesday 29 April at 7.30pm.

Tea/coffee and biscuits will be served thereafter. All members and friends welcome.

Watch this space for further details. To find out more click HERE

Saturday 20 June

Castlehill Food Fayre

Enjoy the best of Caithness produce. Sample and purchase a wide range of locally produced foods and drinks.

Barbeque in Heritage Garden, weather permitting.

Watch this space for further details. To find out more click HERE


October or November

Rag Rug Making

Returning by popular demand - learn how to make traditional rag rugs in our hands-on workshop.

Watch this space for further details. To find out more click HERE

Thursday 26 December 14

2pm 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.


Tue 10 Feb


Iceland - A Caithness Saga

It was an in-house production tonight, when the speaker at the latest in our programmed winter talks was CHS vice chairman Neil Buchan. Neil gave an illustrated talk on his stay in Iceland in May 2014 through the Cultural Heritage Interpretation and Sustainable Tourism (CHIST) programme promoted by the ARCH Network and funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture. The aim of the programme was to demonstrate to participants, Iceland's commitment to sustainable heritage tourism. This topic is very dear to CHS. Neil joined a small group of hand-picked delegates including archaeologists and conservationists. They were given hands on experience in the conservation and reconstruction of traditional turf- built houses, an iconic feature of the Icelandic landscape.

Being an accomplished photographer Neil treated the delighted audience to images of the breath-taking snow covered mountains, the ice-blue lakes and the formidable waterfalls for which the country is famous. The impressive man-made cathedral and public buildings in its capital did not fail to amaze. Particularly interesting for members of Castletown Heritage Society were examples of how Iceland portrays its social past through its heritage centres and museums.

Lastly Neil gave proof of the Caithness - Iceland connection and its continued importance to the Icelanders through the story of queen Aud or Audrunn, who features in the Icelandic sagas. Aud left Caithness with a large retinue by ship in the 9th century. After settling a large area of western Iceland, Aud set up stone crosses which are still visible today in honour of her conversion to Christianity. CHS hopes to interpret the epic story of Aud, incorporating it into a music and art project involving local schools.

Thu 22 Jan


The men who went far, far away

A capacity audience filled Castlehill Heritage Centre to hear Ian Leith talk about the fascinating social history surrounding the Caithness people who left these shores in the late 19th and early 20th century for a life in Patagonia. Why Patagonia? Patagonia is an awful long way from Caithness, yet in the late 19th century a number of Caithness people took on this challenge not knowing what to expect.

By drawing on his extensive research which included a recent trip to Patagonia, Ian delivered a thoroughly enjoyable and informative talk on the lives and experiences of those who originally made the journey and their decendants living there today. This proved to be of particular interest to a number of individuals in the appreciative audience who were related in some way to the original Patagonia pioneers.

The excellent talk was followed by a lively question and answer session, during which Ian revealed that he hoped to capture all the information he had gathered in a new book. To find out more about Ian's research and the Patagonia project, click here.

Tue 17 Mar


Highland Graveyards - Grave Misteaks

Seldom has the very title of an evening talk piqued so much curiosity. For weeks in advance we received several queries - what will be so amusing about Highland Graveyards? Well, almost as soon as the talk started everyone in the audience had a smile on their face as guest speaker Nick Lindsay from Clyne Heritage Society (Brora) revealed some of the 'typographical' errors perpetrated by the monumental masons of yesteryear.

Nick kicked off by talking about the voluntary project the Clyne Heritage Society undertook a number of years ago to clear the grounds of the Clynekirkton Graveyard at Brora in Sutherland. kirkyard, which was disappearing under 'Russian Ivy' and other predatory shrubs. The transformation was truly amazing.

During their work they discovered much about the physical and social history of the kirkyard, including a number of unusual gravestones - and quite a few 'howlers' in the engraving department. This inspired Nick to explore many other graveyards throughout the Highlands and elsewhere in the UK, resulting in a fascinating compendium of historical typos, each with a story to tell. He also revealed some examples from overseas.

Nick fielded a broad range of enthusiastic questions throughout the talk, and was somewhat taken aback when one of the audience pointed out that a photograph of a particularly striking wooden cross memorial he found in one of the local cemetries belonged to her mother's grave! As Nick put it "That's never happened to me before!"

To find out more about the activities of Clyne Heritage Society click here.

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!