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Helmsdale Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Helmsdale Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 7433

Site Number ND01NW 19

NGR ND 0272 1515

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

ND01NW 19 0272 1515

(ND 0272 1515) Helmsdale Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 25" map, (1971)

The ruins of Helmsdale Castle occupy a most commanding position on the end of a steep bank at the S side of the mouth of the Helmsdale River. The structure was evidently of the L form, with a circular staircase in the angle, but is now a mere shell. The ruin stands to a height of some 24'. The castle is said to have been erected in 1488 by the seventh Countess of Sutherland, and to have been rebuilt and repaired by Sir Alexander Gordon of Navidale in 1616.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1911.

The S part of Helmsdale Castle is destroyed by erosion: the remainder is in danger of collapsing.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (N K B), 20 February 1968.


Demolished 1970.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

This castle is now totally destroyed. A monumental stone has been placed in the car park near the site. It bears the inscription 'Helmsdale Castle was built near here in 1488. The ruins were removed in 1970 to make way for the new road and bridge'.

Visited by OS (J B), 24 June 1976.


Photographic Survey (November 1963)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record/Ministry of Work in November 1963

Aerial Photography (June 1971)

Oblique aerial photographs of the site of Helmsdale Castle and the new bridge under construction, Shetland, taken by John Dewar in 1971.


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