Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Golspie is the administrative centre of the district of Sutherland, and there is a statue of the First Duke of Sutherland, erected a year after his death in 1834, on a hill outside the village. The village's name is Norse in origin, from Gill’s-bie, the "township of the glen". Golspie Mill once served the Dunrobin estate, and is still a working mill powered by water from the Big Burn, offering high quality flours and meals. The Mill is the starting point for a wonderful woodland walk following the Big Burn trail, which leads to a waterfall. The Orcadian Stone Company workshop has displays of highland rocks and crystals. Golspie also has a harbour and sandy beaches.

The magnificent Dunrobin Castle, to the north of Golspie, with its extravagant turrets and pinnacles, has been in the hands of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th century. The embellishments were added to the original keep by Sir Charles Barry, who was the architect of the Houses of Parliament. Further work was done by Sir Robert Lorimer after a fire in 1915. The castle is open to the public and its museum displays Pictish stones and Victorian mementoes. Visitors to the castle who keep their ears well tuned may hear mysterious weeping sounds. The source of the sobbing is thought to be Margaret, daughter of the 14th Earl of Sutherland, whose ill-fated love affair with a castle groom came to the attention of her irate father, who locked her up. She fell to her death while attempting to escape. Margaret's ghost is sometimes seen as well as heard, as she wanders forlornly around the base of the castle crying for her lover.

Map of the area.

'Dunrobin Castle; Golspie, Sutherland' photo (c) 2006, John Haslam - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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