Castle Sinclair

Castle Sinclair Details

Castle Sinclair, ruined peninsular castle of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness dating to C15-C17. Partly open, under repair.

  • Closest To: Wick
  • Access: Free Public Access
  • Grid Reference: ND378549

Castle Sinclair is a ruined promontory castle on the coast north of Wick. Parts of the castle are unsafe, so stabilisation works have been underway for a long time, with the inner ward of the castle inaccessible. There are no facilities on site which is a half-mile walk from the nearest road.

The castle originally consisted of a tower-keep and long courtyard typical of its type dating to the 15th century, and was erected by the Sinclair family when they became Earls of Caithness in exchange for the Orkney title. As the seat of the earls, there may have been an earlier fortification here, but no evidence for one has been found. A second courtyard was added (it is this which is open to the public) in a massive remodelling of the castle in the late 16th century, and at this time it was renamed Castle Sinclair by the 4th earl. After the castle was garrisoned by English forces in 1650, debt forced the 6th earl to sell up, and in the dispute with the Campbells that ensued the castle was bombarded into ruin, and never restored.

Official Castle Sinclair Girnigoe website

HES Canmore database entry – Girnigoe
HES Canmore database entry – Sinclair

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