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Castles

Dunbeath Castle -Pristine Beauty

It stands high on a rocky peninsula like a lone white sentinel, overlooking the North Sea that lashes the cliff on all sides. Pristine white-washed walls are topped by romantic turrets and perched over swirling waves. Dunbeath Castle on its estate is situated on the northern tip of Scotland, just south of Wick. A driveway leads through deep, dense woods, past stone pillars and a gatehouse covered with ivy. Suddenly you glimpse the pristine white castle at the end of driveway, when you least expect it.

The Earldom of Caithness along with the Dunbeath property and the other lands in the county were granted to the Crichton family by King James II in 1452. Dunbeath changed hands and passed through the Innes family and finally became the property of the Sinclairs of Geanies, when Marjory, daughter of Alexander Sutherland wed the first earl of Sinclair.

In 1620 the Sinclairs absorbed the existing structure as a part of a four-storey E plan tower house which is still part of the castle today. In 1650, in the absence of her husband, Lady Sinclair had to defend the castle against an attack by Montrose. Unfortunately Dunbeath Castle was captured and stayed with Montrose until he was defeated at Carbisdale and the castle returned to the Sinclairs.

More renovation was carried out in 1853 and 1881, making Dunbeath a modern home in the 19th Century. After 325 years of being occupied by the Sinclairs, it was sold in 1945 by the late Admiral Sir Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair to an American, Stuart Avery. Avery died in 1995 and the castle was sold to its present owner, a Scot, in 1996.

The castle is now a private residence and is not open to the public. It is possible to rent vacation homes on Dunbeath estate. Some of the buildings still bear the Sinclair crest. The Dunbeath Castle gardens are open for viewing by appointment during summer and there is great fanfare annually at its opening.

One can get an excellent view of the castle from Dunbeath harbor where there is a picnic area with barbeque and parking facilities. The harbor, a pretty little traditional working harbor has a statue of famous author Neill Gunn who lived in the village.