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:

Guided village walk


All events took place in Castlehill Heritage Centre unless otherwise stated


First Sunday of every month from 1.30pm to 3.30pm


Third Thursday of every month from 7pm - 9pm

Spinning Group

Returning spinners and new spinners most welcome.

Come along and have a try. No wheel needed. Come and be inspinnerised!!

To find out more and register interest, click HERE

All Year

Castlehill Archaeology Club

The Castlehill Archaeology group meets regularly under the guidance of Paul Humphreys. The current project is entitled 'Uncovering the Garth', and investigates the possible medieval settlement on the site of Lower Garth, between Castlehill and Thurdistoft.

Interested in taking part? - click HERE See CAT website for details.

At the end of the project soil samples will be processed at the Castlehill Archaeology Research Facility within the Castlehill Heritage Centre, where volunteers are welcome to take part in the processing of the excavated materials.

Monday evenings

7 - 9pm

Wash and Brush Up

Our very popular painting workshop with Helen Moore is taking a well earned break for a couple of weeks. Classes restart on Monday 8 October.

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


Thursday 29 March


Quiz Night at Castlehill

Traditonal 'pub style' quiz night fun

Prizes and Raffle - Home baking and tea/coffee

See the news page for report of event



Fri 13 (Basic skills)

Sat 14 - Sun15


Fri 20 (Basic skills)

Sat 21 - Sun 22

Traditional Basket Making

We are delighted to welcome back Tim Johnson as our tutor for our traditional basketmaking workshop sessions. Tim, from the Isle of Wight, is an internationally renowned craftsman, travelling the world studying and teaching his art. This will be Tim Johnson's third visit to Castlehill as part of the ongoing programme of traditional skills tuition organised by Castletown Heritage Society.

This year Tim will lead two workshop weekends. The Friday workshop is aimed at introducing beginners to the basic skills required to make an article from rush or willow. During the Saturday and Sunday two-day workshops, Tim will help participants develop their skills to a higher level.

The first weekend will be focussed on rush and soft materials while the second will be willow mainly but some use of soft materials in combination with the willow. Tim will offer new challenges to those who have attended our previous workshops.

See the news page for report of event

Saturday 5 May

Sunday 6 May

Drystone Dyking Workshop

See the news page for a report and photographs from our very popular two-day drystone dyking courses at Castlehill, under the guidance of local master craftsman, George Gunn.

Wed 25 April 7.30pm

Castletown Heritage Society Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Castletown Heritage Society was held in the Castlehill Heritage Centre on Wednesday, 25 April at 7.30pm.

See NEWS page for a full report.

Saturday 19 May

Full day

Summer of Archaeology

A day long mini conference organised by Caithness Archaeological Trust entitled a "Summer of Archaeology".

Speakers presented illustrated reports on last summer's archaeology events in the county, together with an exhibition of photos and finds.

To find out more click HERE

Sunday 20 May

10am to 12.30pm

1.30pm to 3pm

Family Fun Wool Day

A participative workshop introducing beginners to spinning, weaving, dying and felting.

To find out more click HERE

26 May

10am to 3.30pm

Creative Writing Workshop

Returning by popular demand - a full day workshop led by Clio Gray of the Highland Writers Guild, aimed at helping budding authors, poets and playrights capture those creative ideas on paper! Focusing on the building blocks of writing: description, character, narrative, and point of view.

If you have a draft of something you wish to develop further, please forward this using the link below as soon as possible - Clio will try to tailor the workshop to meet your needs.

To find out more click HERE

Every Wed, Sat & Sun afternoon

2pm - 4pm

Winter exhibition - Castletown in Uniform

Our latest themed exhibition, exploring the fascinating social history of Castletown in uniform - from the postie, to the district nurse to the RAF personnel stationed at RAF Castletown, and more!!

Now closed - come and see the summer exhibition!!

Saturday 9 June

12 noon to 2pm

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

To mark 60 years of The Queen's reign the Diamond Jubilee will take place in 2012.

Castletown Heritage held a special event to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 9th June.

Prize for best ladies hat!

See the News page for a full report and photos.

Crown Copyright of above photo is acknowledged

Saturday 7th July

1pm to 4.30pm

Olympic Day round Dunnet Bay

To celebrate the holding of the Olympic Games in the UK during 2012, Castletown Heritage Society held a special themed event based in and around Dunnet Bay.

ON hand was Kate Barnet and her London Olympic 2012 torch!

Starting at Julian Smith's bird hide at St Johns Loch, Brough, participants followed the trail of five separate venues, each offering a themed activity at which an " Olympic ring " was created. On collecting all five rings they were presented with a certificate at the Castlehill Heritage Centre - the final venue.

See the News page for a full report and photos.

Wed 25 July

7pm - 10pm

'Facebook' training sessions

Learn how to make best use of 'Facebook' to promote your organisation.

Evening workshop, led by Alexandria Patience.

Sunday 29 July

1pm - 5pm

Scotlands Garden Scheme

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) is a registered charity created in 1931 which raises funds for other worthy charities by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens of horticultural interest throughout Scotland to the public.

Castlehill Heritage Centre will form the local base for the event, where a map plus information and details relating to flagstone village gardens within Castletown that will be open to the public as a special event, will be available on payment of the admission fee.

A main feature will be the Castlehill Heritage Garden, where light refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon.

See the News page for a full report and photos.

Sat 1 September

1pm - 4.30pm

North Highland Woodturners Association

Exhibition of the art and craft of wood turning by members of the Horth Highland Woodturners Association.

Woodturning demonstrations by Michael O’ Donnell - two sessions starting at 1pm and finishing at approx 4:30pm with a break for tea, coffee.

Display of items made by club members. Sales table for tools and equipment.

The demos will be free for members of NHWA and £3 for non-members.

See the News page for a full report and photos.

Sat 15 & Sun 16 September

10am - 4pm

Family workshop - Build your own automaton!

Unique hands on workshops inspired by the film Hugo, where you can design and build your own automaton! A great opportunity for some technology bonding time with Dad/Mum!

Two workshops will run concurrently - a K'Nex model-building workshop for Primary School age children and parents, and a Lego Mindstorms programmable robotics based workshop for children over 10 yrs.

Using the creations from the first part of the workshop, the children will learn how to use digital cameras to create stop-frame animated film using the models.

Led by local STEM Embassador Pat Kieran MBE, the event is a follow-on local activity in support of the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, and is supported by the British Science Association.

See the News page for a full report and photos.

22 September

10am - 12.30pm

1.30pm - 4pm


Two practical skills workshops on bookbinding, with locally based bookbinder and storyteller Alistair Hamish Macdonald.

Participants will be shown how to turn their formatted text into a lovely hand-crafted and uniquely personal book. Ideal for special gifts or preserving a personal piece of writing.

Morning: Bookbinding: Make a Hardcover Book Discover the principles of bookbinding by making your own hardcover blank journal from common materials. It's a time-honoured, useful skill—and not as difficult as you might think!

Afternoon: Indie publishing: Make a Paperback Book Learn how to design, print, bind and publish your own books. You'll get started by making a paperback in this interactive session. As someone once said, "Freedom of the Press belongs to those who own one"!

See the News page for a full report and photos.


Summer exhibition - Castlehill Flagstone Industry

A themed exhibition, exploring the fascinating social history of the flagstone industry in and around Castletown.

10 & 11 October

2 day workshop 10am - 4pm

Wild North Festival - Making Videos at Castlehill

The Wild North Festival is a new initiative which focuses on encouraging enjoyment, understanding and awareness of the rich natural heritage of the North Highland area through events and activities for visitors and local people.

Castlehill Heritage Centre played host to a two day film making workshop - Making Wild North Videos in Nature - with Toby and Fionn Watts.

See News page for a full report

Sunday 14 October

10am - 4pm

All things woolly!

Fresh from the recent double success of presenting the skills of dyeing carding and spinning to Wick High school and Castletown Primary school, Ann Johnson and her spinners and dyers group held an open workshop and display at Castlehill Heritage Centre from 10am to 4 pm on Sunday 14 October. See News page for full report.

The workshop was held as part of the Wild North Festival

Bees and Beekeeping

A fascinating exhibition on bees and beekeeping, under the banner of Wild North Festival. Robin Inglis who heads the Olrig and District Bee-keepers Association is an authority on bee-keeping and his wife Gail an accomplished photographer.

Learn about the life and work of the humble bee and the activities surrounding the collection and processing of honey.

Saturday 3 November

10am - 3pm

Basic Sewing

Come along and learn (or re-familiarise yourself) with this basic traditional skill. Learn how to put in a new zip, take up a hem or sew on a button. Bring your problem with you! An experienced seamstress will be on hand to guide you through the basics and answer your queries.

Saturday 17 November

12.30pm - 3.30pm

Pre-Christmas Craft at Castlehill

Struggling to come up with that original Christmas gift for a friend or loved one? Then why not come along to our pre Christmas sale to peruse our unique selection of original Christmas gifts, all locally produced.


  • Wood items lovingly crafted by the North Highland Woodturners Association
  • Hand knit hats, scarves, bags, socks and Christmas ornaments
  • Silk scarves, driftwood art, hand felted items from Castlehill Crafts
  • Books and calendars from Castlehill Heritage Centre
  • Locally produced pens, soaps, jewellery and much much more!

Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and home baking as you browse and purchase.

To find out more or register interest in taking a stall, click HERE

Friday 23 November

7pm prompt

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!!

£7.50pp - included a supper of traditional fare.

For a report on this event, see the news page.

Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon 2pm- 4pm

Winter exhibition - Personal memories

Our latest themed exhibition, setting on display for the first time the amazing selection of artefacts donated to Castletown Heritage Society over the past year. From milk churns to period costume and paraffin lamps - an eclectic mix of ephemera and memories of granny's house. A real memory jogger!

Display now includes a 1941 Rolls-Royce Merlin engine!!

Wednesday 26 December

Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

Join us at Castlehill Heritage Centre for mulled wine, mince-meat pies and a good going chinwag on our festive Boxing Day opening. Also features continental Christmas gingerbread decorating with Jana Emburey.

See NEWS page for a full report and photos.