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Copyright ©1999-2006
C.Garner and P.Wright

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Girnigoe - Sinclair Castle

July 15, 1999
Near Wick, Caithness
Map Ref: ND 379 549

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[Highland Region]

Top: View of the causeway

There seems to be some confusion on this castle. Some references claim it is two castles, Girnigoe and Sinclair, and others claim it is one caslte, Girnigoe. Whether one or two, this is a beautiful location and very nice structure.

It is a 15th century keep which has been altered over the years. In 1455, William Sinclair was given the title of Earl of Caithness. Girnigoe became the seat for the earldom.

The 4th Earl imprisoned his heir, the Master of Caithness for seven years. The Master was fed only salted beef with no water and eventually died insane from thirst. The 6th Earl had large debts due to the Campbell of Glenorchy, so he turned the lands of Girnigoe over to Campbell.

In 1679, the Sinclairs of Keiss sieged the castle to recover the seat and title. The Campbells went to battle and the Sinclairs were slaughtered in great numbers. The Sinclairs did get the Earldom back in 1681, however, the castle was left to ruin.

Girnigoe Castle

Girnigoe Castle