Castletown Heritage Society News 2017

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Dateline: Monday 14 August 2017

Make the most of summer - Cream teas at Castlehill

Returning by popular demand, we will be serving Cream Teas at Castlehill on every Sunday afternoon in August .

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 to enjoy the sights and perfumes of the superb Heritage Garden.

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Flagstone Exhibition - Now On!

Our very popular summer exhibition returns, featuring themed displays of artefacts, photographs and stories exploring the fascinating industrial and social history of the Flagstone Industry in Caithness.

Open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm - 4pm.

To find out more click HERE

Dateline: Monday 15 May 2017

Ceramic Button workshops get off to a cracking start

It is always satisfying to find a local tutor for a workshop at Castlehill. Castletown ceramicist Miriam Nicol is no stranger to the centre. At our Boxing Day party she provided a festive activity making seasonal decorations in the shape of ceramic angels.

She has recently returned to instruct a large number of eager participants from all over the county to make artistically decorated ceramic buttons. Once the clay is worked and rolled, shapes cut out and dried, the buttons are painted before the final glazing and firing. The final result can be used to decorate a corsage, a hat or simply hung from ribbon as a pendant.


By popular demand Miriam has agreed to run a pre-Christmas workshop on the creation of small ceramic gifts. Watch this space for details of the event!

To find out more and register interest, click HERE

Dateline: Tuesday 25 April 2017

Castlehill Heritage Centre is 10 Years Old!

This year we will celebrate 10 action packed years since we completed the conversion of some redundant farm buildings at Castlehill into Castlehill Heritage Centre. From humble beginnings the Centre has gone from strength to strength. Highlights have included a visit by HRH The Duke of Rothsay!

To celebrate we are having an open day at 1pm on Saturday 3 June, which will be opened by Lord Thurso as part of a month-long exhibition showing the development of the building and garden from a derelict shell to the present set up. Come and learn more about our future plans!

Plus! Displays and activities from other groups who use the Centre including Caithness Astronomy Group, North Highland Woodturners, Dunnet Forestry Trust, Ornithologists (SOC), Radio Hams and art class. Refreshments available.

Some memories:

Doors Open Day, August 04

Electricity and lights are go! Apr 06

Lining and insulation of exhibition space underway - Jan 07

Kitchen installation underway - Apr 07

Operational! - May 07

Tidying of the courtyard heritage garden - July 2010

To find out more and register interest, click HERE

Dateline: Friday 17 February 2017

Thank You!

Since first opening our doors to the public some ten years ago, we have always been very grateful for feedback from our visitors as to what we are doing right and to help us identify areas where we could improve the visitor experience. Castlehill Heritage Centre has always totally run by volunteers, so whilst browsing our current Visitors Book the other day it was truly humbling to read some of the feedback that people have taken the time and effort to record there. Click the images to read some random examples.

Thank you so much, and haste ye back!

Dateline: Saturday 11 February 2017

The Bothy Night - another winner!

Our traditional annual Bothy Nicht workshop had become something of an institution, but in 2013 we decided to let the event rest for a while. The Bothy Night was clearly missed as members of the local community regularly asked when we were going to run them again. The decision to revive the event for 2017 was rewarded with a capacity crowd - the gentle blend of information, learning, a good supper and wholesome entertainment seems to be a successful formula, and Saturday's event was no exception!

Host for the evening was committee member Jayne Blackburn, who inbetween acts entertained the audience with informative pieces bringing to life the social history of the bothy, and in particular the character and working conditions of workers farm servants who used to inhabit them round the turn of the century.

A veritable cornucopia of local entertainers kept everyone toe tapping and joining in throughout the evening - Clapshot, Joan Elder, the young and very promising Castletown Buskers, Denis Manson on accordian, Muriel reading stories and poems, Joanne Carr and friends with some fine folk tunes, Mary Smith and Joan plus the inimitable whistling Issy Curry, accompanied by Nancy Foggo.

CHS Chairman Roy Blackburn rounded the evening off with heartfelt thanks to all the entertainers and eveyone who came along to the event. Next year perhaps?

The audience gathers in preparation for an evening of entertainment, education and a tasty supper

Jayne Blackburn explains the social history and living conditions of Bothies

Clapshot kick off the first session with a fine selection of tunes, with Danny O'Hagan on guitar and Roger Broughton on banjo.

Joanne Carr and friends

The Castletown Buskers

Nancy Foggo accompanies the inimitable Issy in a whistling extravaganza

Dateline: Sunday 5 February 2017

All Change - 'Life at Home' exhibition draws to a close

Our fascinating exhibition illustrating everyday life at home in Castletown in by-gone times has had a very successful run since December. The eclectic mix of artefacts from the Society's extensive collection of objects, appliances, tools, furniture, photographs, newspapers and other domestic ephemera went down a treat, with many very positive messages being recorded in our Visitors Book.

The next themed exhibition is currently being set up and we expect his to be open to the public around the 22nd of February. Hatches, Matches and Dispatches will explore the rites of passage through life and features a wide range of artefacts and ephemora from our extensive collection of items. From christening gowns, wedding dresses and bier stretchers, to stories of growing up and old in Castletown and Olrig parish.

Dateline: January 2017

2017 Programme of Events

The 2017 programme of activities is starting to talk shape and will get underway later this month with the first of our series of evening talks:

Tuesday 17 January - Ice and Fire

An illustrated talk by Castletown Heritage Society committee members Neil Buchan and Elspet Chapman exploring the different styles and approaches to the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage in the diverse climates and ethnicity of Iceland and Cyprus.


Wednesday 1 March - Highland Railway Memories

John Macdonald started his career as a signalman at Georgemas in 1956, later working at Perth, Blair Athol, Aviemore, Beauly and the Kyle line. John's illustrated talk will include memories of how the railway worked in the age of steam and the transition to the first diesel engines. Includes some rare images taken by an engine driver in Helmsdale on probably the last goods train under steam.

Tuesday 25 April - What ever happened to Janet Oal?

Muriel Murray presents another of her fascinating talks exploring the life and times of another of the more interesting characters from the local area. The talk will follow the Castletown Heritage Society AGM which will take place at 7.30pm.

All talks and the workshop will take place in Castlehill Heritage Centre. Talks start at 7.30pm prompt.

For a full listing and latest news of events scheduled for 2017 click HERE

If you are interested in learning more about building your own boat, please contact us HERE.