Caithness, Scotland's northernmost county, is located at the heart of the North Coast 500. Known for its exceptional natural beauty, Caithness is bordered by Orkney to the north and Sutherland to the south. The county has a distinctive personality and property style, with charming puppet houses and old Victorian manor houses becoming a staple

This area guide will take you through the county’s rich history, iconic landmarks, and modern amenities. It also covers the exceptional schooling system, navigable transport links, and the current property market trends in Caithness.

History of Caithness

Originally part of the Pictish kingdom, Caithness has a rich and varied history which can be traced back to the ancient times. It was also part of Viking settlement, contributing to its seafaring history. Whaling and herring trade once made it a prosperous region. Today, Caithness's historic legacy can be found in the numerous archaeological sites, ancient castles, and cultural events that celebrate its past.

Landmarks in Caithness

The county of Caithness is known for its breathtaking landscapes and unique landmarks. The most prominent among these is the Castle of Mey, the former home of Queen Mother. Other noticeable attractions include The Old Pulteney Distillery, where one can learn about the distillery’s long-standing tradition, and Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on the UK mainland with stunning cliffside views.

Landmarks we love

  • The Grey Cairns of Camster: Located in the central part of Caithness, these two Neolithic chambered cairns offer a rare glimpse into the past.
  • Whaligoe Steps: These 330 steps cut into the cliff face lead down to a natural harbour, which was extensively used for herring fishing.
  • John O'Groats: Known for the iconic “End of the Road” sign, it's the starting point for many distance walkers and cyclists.
  • Duncansby Head: It is famed for its dramatic sea stacks and bird colonies.
  • Strathy Point lighthouse: This striking white lighthouse is a great spot to watch the sun setting or even glimpse Orca whales.

Top 10 things to do in Caithness

  • Visit Castle of Mey: Explore the gardens, wildlife park, and enjoy local produce at the castle’s Tea Room.
  • Walk the Whaligoe Steps: Take in the breath-taking view from the bottom.
  • Explore Dunnet Head: Famous for bird watching and offering spectacular views.
  • Sample Old Pulteney’s whisky: Learn about their heritage and sample their award-winning whisky.
  • Explore the Thurso River: Known for its salmon fishing.
  • Visit John O'Groats: Take a picture with the famous ‘End of the Road’ sign.
  • See the Stacks of Duncansby: Walk through the dramatic landscapes.
  • Visit Caithness Horizons: Learn about the county’s rich history.
  • Visit the Laidhay Croft Museum: Step back in time and learn about crofting history.
  • Take a stroll on Dunnet Bay beach: The perfect place to relax and unplug.

Our recommended areas to live in Caithness

  • Thurso: It is the main town in Caithness and offers a wide range of amenities and a bustling community.
  • Wick: Known for its river, airport and industrial history, it is the second largest town in Caithness.
  • Halkirk: This small village is well-located and offers a quiet life with beautiful landscapes.
  • Castletown: Its charming harbour and proximity to Dunnet Bay makes it a popular choice.
  • Watten: This small village is known for its loch and the bird life it attracts.

Best schools in Caithness

The education system in Caithness is excellent. Schools in this region cater to all age groups and provide high-quality education that meets the needs of the students. There are several primary and secondary schools in the region, each offering a unique curriculum that adheres to the guidelines set by the Scottish Government. For higher education, the area is served by the North Highland College in Thurso, which is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Transport links in Caithness

Caithness has strong transport links to the rest of the UK. The Inverness airport is a two-hour drive away, whilst Wick has its own airport, offering flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The A9 and A99 link the region to much of Scotland's urban centres. Bus services provide local travel, along with train stations in Wick and Thurso offering connections to Inverness and further afield. Regular ferries connect Caithness to Orkney.

Caithness showcases a beautiful blend of nature, history, and modern amenities. With a peaceful life pace, panoramic landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and excellent education system, living in Caithness promises an unforgettable experience. The perfect balance of coastal charm, ancient history, and modern convenience makes Caithness a unique and appealing place to live. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or someone looking for a peaceful place to settle down, Caithness caters to all.

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