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Caisteal Bharraich

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Caisteal Bharraich

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Varraich; Castle Bhurraich; Castle Varrich; Doun-vorrich

Canmore ID 5314

Site Number NC55NE 1

NGR NC 5807 5674

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Tongue
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland


Field Visit (25 April 1960 - 29 June 1971)

Caisteal Bharraich, a sub-rectangular tower on a rocky knoll. It measures externally 7.5m along the south wall and 6.7m along the other three sides. The wall is 1.7m thick except in the NW corner where it is reduced to 1.4m and is bonded with shell mortar. There are suggestions that it is a possibly 16th century part-reconstruction of an earlier tower. To the north is a scarp showing traces of walling, which extend NW for 20m from a rock outcrop near the tower to the coastal cliff. Surveyed at 1:2500. 2 photographs from 1960 attached to OS 495 card.

Visited by OS (JD) 25 April 1960 and (AA) 29 June 1971

Desk Based Assessment (3 May 1971)

NC55NE 1 5807 5674.

(NC 5807 5674) Caisteal Bharraich (NR)

OS 6" map (1962)

Castle Varrich or Bhurraich: the shattered remains of a small roughly-built tower whose history is unknown although it is said to have belonged to the Bishop of Caithness who stayed here on his way from his castle at Scrabster (ND16NW 3) to his property of Balnakiel (NC36NE 4). It appears to have been a house rather than a tower and is probably of late date. It consisted of two storeys with an attic, and probably a parapet. The walls are 4ft 6ins thick and the ground floor was vaulted but the arch has now fallen in. The ground floor was probably used for cattle and horses since there is no stairway to the first floor which was probably reached by a ladder. It had only one apartment.

Information from OS (ES) 3 May 1971

Sources: D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909

Field Visit (30 August 1978)

No change to preceeding field report.

Visited by OS (JM) 30 August 1978

Non Invasive Techniques (2007)

NC 58106 56777 Shell midden surveyed as part of survey in the Lochan Hakel area carried out by students from University of Aberdeen in July 2006.

J Kirby, D Marquardt, H MacFarlane and S Duthie 21 April 2007


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