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Castletown


Highland

Castletown Cafe
©2018 Gazetteer for Scotland

Castletown Cafe

A village in N Caithness, Highland Council Area, Castletown lies 4 miles (6 km) east of Thurso. Linear in shape, the village was planned c.1802 by Sheriff James Traill (1758 - 1847) in association with the development of the nearby Castlehill flagstone quarries. Eventually laid out in 1824 and initially employing 100 quarriers, the industry expanded to employ nearly 500 workers by 1900, the flagstone being exported to pave streets all over the UK and as far afield as New Zealand and South America. By 1925 the natural flagstone industry of Caithness had been superseded by precast concrete paving. Sheriff Traill's house in Castletown was burnt down in 1970, but a public hall and reading room gifted to the people of Olrig Parish in 1867 by Margaret Traill, daughter of Sheriff Traill, remains. Now disused, the Gothic Old Church of Castletown dates from 1840. In addition to livestock haulage, the largest local industry is now the manufacture of domestic and commercial freezers.

A pair of two-roomed flagstone workers' cottages known as The Backies have been restored by the Prince's Regeneration Trust. Largely unaltered since they were built in the 1890s but empty since the 1950s, the cottages were opened by Prince Charles in 2012.


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