Continuing on our journey from John O’Groats to Wick in Scotland on our 2014 holiday, we were passing plenty of castles…..but no time to stop. After passing Freswick Castle, in the distance across the fields there are the remains of a castle, perched on the cliff edge, Keiss Castle. Unfortunately erosion by the sea has caused a section of the cliff to fall into the sea, taking a large section of the building with it, now leaving a romantic ruins, but for how long, is anyones guess before it follows the rest into the sea.
A little history for you…..George, the 5th Earl of Caithness in the late 16th early 17th Century, built Keiss, the exact year of its construction not being known. It was reputedly built upon the site of an earlier fort called “Raddar” but nothing of this now remains. The castle stood four stories in height plus an attic. Unfortunately the NE angle of the tower, which contained the entrance is gone, as have the upper floors. According to the Rev John Brand the castle was ruinous in 1700, but in 1726 it seems to have been in repair with “at the side of it a convenient house lately built. In the 18th century Keiss passed to the Sinclairs of Dunbeath, who built a new Keiss Castle further inland. Though the new building glories in the name ‘castle’, it is really a large and elegant Scottish Baronial house. The original castle was abandoned by 1755. The new Keiss Castle is a private home and you can see the distance that they built it away from the old castle in one of the photos.
The following post will be about the new castle.