The Sinclair family name is so prominent in these parts that there is even a bay named after them. Sinclairs Bay is just to the north of Wick, with Noss Head lighthouse marking its southern extreme. Near Noss Head are the remains of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, one of the earliest seats of the Clan Sinclair, built in the late 15th century. The castle suffered a series of conflicts, but the cause of its final demise is unclear. There is a school of thought that Cromwell's troops started its demolition, as had been the case with other castles. The bay is fringed by a long, sandy beach, with the Burn of Lyth running into it halfway along. The village of Keiss is graced by another castle dating from around the late 16th century, built by George the 5th Earl of Caithness, and now partially ruined. It must have made an impressive sight in its heyday, towering above the clifftop. A little further north still, the village of Auckengill is home to the Northlands Viking Centre, which exhibits the Viking Heritage of Caithness, and goes back even further in time to the pre-Viking kingdom of the Catti.
Map of the area.
© 2008 Fergus Mather, via Wikimedia Commons