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 take place in Castlehill Heritage Centre unless otherwise stated

Event detail colour key - event dates with GREEN background are confirmed, those with a GREY background are yet to be confirmed

(Completed 2021 events (BLUE background) at bottom of listing)

Castlehill Heritage Centre - Opening Times

Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons

2pm - 4pm

All year round (excepting Christmas Day and New Year's Day)

Other times by prior arrangement


2pm - 4pm

Every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

First and Last Exhibition

All the amazing objects and artefacts within our collections at Castlehill have been donated by local people with the intention that we look after them and allow as many visitors as possible to see them and learn about the history behind them. We try to do this in an organised way through regularly changed themed exhibitions, displays and hands-on workshops and activity days.

Our latest exhibition focuses on contrasts - First and Last, Early and Recent, Then and Now. Be it objects, buildings, services or occupations things evolve and change - not always for the better!

Friday 24 June

1pm - 4pm

Margaret Swanson - An Unforgotten Woman

The daughter of a Castletown cobbler, Margaret became an instructor in the Glasgow School of Art where she developed the "Margaret Swanson System of Educational Needlework" for young women. Travelling widely, Margaret broke the mould by inspiring and championing women's independent creativity.

Come along to see the displays, join Castletown Primary School and local crafts groups in making your own 'sampler' in Margaret's memory, and hear Pauline Moore, BBC producer and reporter and experienced podcaster, interview Muriel Murray about Margaret's amazing story. Tea and cake will be served!

This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 CommunityStories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

Sunday 5 June

1.30pm - 4.30pm

Platinum Jubilee Garden Party

As part of the events taking place in Castletown to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee we will be hosting a Garden Party at Castlehill Heritage Centre.

The fun will kick off at 1.30pm - hopefully in the Heritage Garden if the weather is good! Teas/coffees and home baking will be on offer, plus the chance to take part in 'hands-on' activities with the North Highland Wood Turners and the Caithness Astronomy Group. Don't forget to come suitably attired - there will be a prize for the best Platinum Jubilee themed outfit!

Entry is free - donations welcome!

Tuesday 26 April


Castletown Heritage Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Castletown Heritage Society will be held at Castlehill Heritage Centre on Tuesday 26 April 2022 at 7.30pm.

All Members, friends, supporters and interested parties from the Caithness community welcome.

The guest speaker will be Duncan Macniven, formerly Registrar General for Scotland (Aug 2003 - Aug 2011).

His talk Castletown's People 1755-2011 will explore what happened to the population of Castletown since records began in the mid-18th century, and will outline the demographic history of the area. Duncan promises lots of little known facts!


Sunday 3 April

1pm - 6pm

Society of Caithness Artists - Ukrainian Appeal Fund

The Society of Caithness Artists will be holding a fundraiser for the Ukrainian Appeal Fund at Castlehill Heritage Centre on Sunday 3 April between 1pm and 6pm.

Click on the poster for full details.

Do come along and support a very worthwhile cause!

Every Wed and Sun

2pm - 4pm

Maps and Charts exhibition

Our latest exhibition which features a fascinating display of local area maps, sea charts, building plans, survey equipment and plots of Caithness and Castletown area services.

Whether your interest is in ancient Bronze Age star maps, the evolution of survey and mapping techniques, or the latest LiDAR aerial laser scanning technologies there's sure to be something to pique your interest.

2pm - 4pm

Every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Living Landscapes of Castletown

Over the past eighteen months, University of the Highlands and Islands PhD student Julian Grant has been beavering away with his research into the relationship between tourists and local communities around the North Coast 500, with a particular focus on Castletown and the Parish of Olrig.

One exciting aspect of his project has been his desire to document and reflect upon the 'living landscapes' of Castletown through the eyes of some of the people who live here. Using disposable film cameras, five volunteer participants have created a set of images (and accompanying words) that show Castletown as a vibrant place where the land itself is etched with stories, relationships, uses and meanings. This reminds us all - visitors and locals alike - that this is not a remote wilderness but a peopled place. And, as you'll see in the subtle hints of pandemic and lockdown, these images are a record of the community at this moment in time: a 'heritage of now' for future generations to look back on.

All the images and stories are now on display in the Centre.


28 July


Through Our Own Eyes

For his research into the impact of the North Coast 500 on Highland communities, UHI PhD student Julian Grant developed three photography projects in Caithness, Assynt and Easter Ross. Local residents took photographs, wrote captions and created exhibitions on the themes of landscape, heritage and the impact of tourism in their community. In this talk, Julian shares images and stories from the projects and links them to the broader challenges and opportunities involved in tourism in the North Highlands.


7 and 21


2pm - 4pm

Cream Teas at Castlehill

Returning by popular demand, on the first and third Sundays in August we will be serving Cream Teas at Castlehill. £3.50 per person.

Delicious home made scones and cakes. 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 amazing Heritage Garden.

Friday 19 August

9.30 am - 4.30pm

Care of Paper and Photographic Collections Workshop

We will be running a full day workshop at Castlehill Heritage Centre on the 'Care of Paper and Photographic Collections' on Friday 19 August this year. The workshop will be led by Helen Creasy of The Scottish Conservation Studio. Whilst the workshop has been set up to serve our own needs we are opening it up to other heritage organisations locally. There are still some places available which will be filled on a first come first served basis.

If you or your organisation is interested in taking part and wish to find out more please contact us

2pm to 4pm

Monday 26 December

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!

July - November

2pm - 4pm

Every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Caithness Flagstone Exhibition

Come and enjoy the themed displays of tools, records, photographs and stories exploring the fascinating industrial and social history of the Flagstone Industry in Caithness.

December to February

2pm - 4pm

Every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Measurement Exhibition

Our latest local heritage themed exhibition features over one hundred exhibits demonstrating how we have measured things over the years. From length to time, speed, weight, volume, pressure and temperature to name but a few, on display is a fascinating collection of devices and instruments, both familiar and curiously fascinating.

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

CONTACT US by email or phone 01847 821120

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

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