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


Oct - Dec

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

Autumn Exhibition - Needles, shuttles and all

Explore the fascinating world of needles, thread, thimbles, awls, brads, looms, sewing machines, knitting machines, lasts, patterns and all sorts of intriguing equipment and devices. Learn about the trades that relied on them, and the hobbies and pastimes that used them. Do you know your Singers from your Brothers? Almost every home used to have one!


Wed 29 Jan

Wed 12 Feb

Tue 4 Mar

Tue 15 Apr


2014 Evening Talks

The programme of events for 2014 is coming together nicely, and to kick off the year in fine style we have arranged a series of illustrated evening talks by local presenters.

  • Wednesday 29th Jan 2014 - "The Drove Roads" by Dave Glass
  • Wednesday 12th February 2014 - "Shepherds in the Straths" by Jennifer Bruce
  • Tuesday 4th March 2014 - "HOUSED ICE From Sherbet to Salmon, Ancient Mesopotamia To Modern Caithness. A story of a fascinating and remarkable product" by George Bethune
  • Tuesday 15th April 2014 - "Caithness History and How to Exploit it" by Professor Donna Heddle

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

With the exception of the talk on Wed 12th February, all talks are in being staged association with Caithness Archaeological Trust.

First Sunday of every month from 1.30pm to 3.30pm


Third Thursday of every month from 7pm - 9pm

New for Spring - Hand Spinning Classes

The Castlehill Spinners Group are planning to hold a series of five spinning classes aimed at the beginner. Under the tutelage of Ann Johnson, delegates will participate in hands-on workshops where all the basic techniques will be revealed and put into practice.

The workshops are keenly priced at £5 per session. For those unable to bring their own wheel and materials, wheels will be available to hire for £10 for the whole five weeks, including materials.


Wed 23 April


Castletown Heritage Society Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Castletown Heritage Society will be held in the Castlehill Heritage Centre on Wednesday 23 April at 7.30pm.

Guest speaker: Catherine Paterson on Family History Research

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

Castlehill Harbour

Sat 3 May

10am - 4pm

Rowing Skiff Day at Castlehill Harbour

In support of our current exhibition theme 'Our Maritime History', the Wick Coastal Rowing Club will be showing and demonstrating their skiff “Spirit O’ Wick” which was built by them and launched in July 2013.

Weather permitting, enjoy a trip in Dunnet Bay in this superb example of a St Ayles skiff.

Castlehill Heritage Centre will be open throughout the day where light refreshments will be available.

7th & 8th June

Watch this space for further details

Wild North Festival

Two day paper making workshop by internationally renowned textile artist Joanne Kaar, featuring the inclusion of local wild plants and flowers in the paper. Every sheet unique!


Feb - June

Winter exhibition - Our Maritime Heritage

The theme explored the rich social history linking our community to the sea - from early Caithness settlers to and villains, heroes, wrecks and rescues from the 16th century to modern day.

This exhibition has now closed - see above for details of the Flagstone Heritage Exhibition, now running.

July - Sept

Open every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

from 2pm to 4pm

Summer Exhibition - Flagstone Heritage

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! Also on display is a special feature on the work of the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust.


Sat 30 & Sun 31 August

Wild North Festival - Books and Bees

Once again, Castlehill Heritage Centre will be hosting a series of events in support of the Wild North Festival.

  • On the 30th we have a talk from Ben Macgregor aka 'Ralph', well known serial adventurer and racconteur from the Caithness Courier and John O'Groat Journal, on some of his travels around the Highlands. This will take place between 7.30pm and 8.45pm.
  • On the 31st there will be a talk from Robin Inglis of the Olrig Beekeepers Asspociation on the topic of Honey Bees.

The Caithness Moths group are also holding events at the Castlehill Woodland on the 29th, 30th, and 31st.

9 to 30 July

Open every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

from 2pm to 4pm

Special Feature - Postcard SEA exhibition and fundraiser

In parallel with the Summer Exhibition, from 9th to 30th July there will be a special exhibition of all the postcard sized artworks created as part of the Postcard SEA challenge.

All the postcards will be available for purchase via a secret silent auction. Click on the poster (left) for further details.

All funds raised from the sale will be given to Brough Bay Association and Castletown Heritage Society, both of which are run by volunteers.

Sat 26 July


Caithness Writers Presents - Angus Dunn

Angus Dunn, highland poet and novelist presents a reading of his works. He will be joined by local writers Catherine Byrne and Margaret Wood

Admission free - all welcome.

Event funded by Scottish Book Trust Live Literature.

Limited places are also available for a writing workshop, led by Angus Dunn, on Sunday 27 July, 1pm - 4pm.

Every Sunday in August

2pm - 4pm

Afternoon Teas at Castlehill

On every Sunday in August we will be serving afternoon cream teas at Castlehill.

Unique, locally themed home baking, such as 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.

Sat 16 August

10am to 4.30pm

North Highland Woodturners Annual Demonstration Day

Live demonstrations by the North Highland Woodturners Association of wood turning techniques.

Local woodturner and renowned international demonstrator Michael O'Donnel, will show how to turn Japanese Spinning Tops and Fungi, and professional demonstrator Alex Mutch will explore the art of segmented woodturning.


Sat 18 & Sun 19 October

10am - 4pm

Something Corny - Cancelled

Returning by popular demand. Internationally renowned Elaine Lindsay from the Guild of Straw Craftsmen will lead a hands-on workshop demonstrating how to make 'corn dollys' and other traditional handicrafts using straw as the base material.

Due to unforseen circumstances this event has been cancelled.

Sat 15 November

10am to 4pm

Castlehill Food Fair

A new event at Castlehill. Enjoy the best of Caithness produce. Sample and purchase a wide range of locally produced foods and drinks.


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.

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!


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!