Place:Dunnet, Caithness, Scotland

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NameDunnet
TypeParish
Coordinates58.617°N 3.35°W
Located inCaithness, Scotland
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dunnet is a village in Caithness, in the Highland area of Scotland. It is within the Parish of Dunnet.

The village centres on the A836B855 road junction. The A836 leads towards John o' Groats in the east and toward Thurso and Tongue in the west. (At the junction however the road's alignment is much more north-south than east-west.) The B855 leads toward Brough and Dunnet Head point in the north.

The Northern Sands Hotel is located on the A836, adjacent to the village church. It is a small, family-run hotel with 12 bedrooms, a large dining room, a large car park and 2 bars. It was originally called The Golf Links Hotel, there being a links course between Dunnet and Castletown that fell into disuse during World War II. It is locally owned.

The village has a hall, The Britannia Hall, which is run by a committee, and which is used for a variety of activities including a children's nursery, an indoor bowling club, a badminton club and the Post Office, which visits twice a week, on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays. Its main fund raising activity each year for the upkeep of the hall is the Marymas Fair, held in late August on a nearby farm field, it has the usual attractions such as Highland dancing, a display of vintage and classic cars and motorcycles, bonniest baby, home baking, tossing the wheatsheaf, line dancing, face painting, raffles and tug of war.

The House of the Northern Gate (sometimes called Dwarick House) sits in a commanding position on Dunnet Head, overlooking the west side of the village. It is thought to have been built by the Sinclairs of Freswick, who owned a great deal of the village historically. It was later owned by Admiral North, then from the 1930s to the late '50s, by Commander Clair Vyner and his wife Lady Doris Vyner. They used it as a summer residence and ran the local salmon station. Lady Vyner was a close friend of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and invited her to stay at the house in 1953. During her stay, she looked east out of one of the upper floor windows and spied the tower of the recently-vacated Barrogill Castle, away. Upon enquiring about the castle, a visit was arranged to view it. It was owned by Mr and Mrs Imbert-Terry, an eccentric couple whose family reputedly owned Terry's chocolate factory in York. A deal was struck to buy the rather dilapidated castle and Longoe Mains farm for a reported £6,000. The Queen Mother renamed it the Castle of Mey, its original name.

The House of the Northern Gate was made into a hotel by Bill Dodd in the '60s and owned by a Mr Divanian Gold in the '70s, a flamboyant Jewish fashion clothes manufacturer from Manchester, who used it as a summer home. He later tried to sell building plots on its land, but the council vetoed the project on grounds of drainage and sewerage difficulties, because the land is flow country or blanket bog.

In the late '70s it came on the market again, and the rock band Led Zeppelin viewed it several times with a view to making it into a recording studio. A possible reason for this may be that guitarist Jimmy Page already owned Boleskin House, for many years the home of notorious occultist and white witch Aleister Crowley, near Foyers on the south bank of Loch Ness, and was a frequent visitor to Caithness. Also Woody, of the band The Bay City Rollers, looked into buying the house as a country retreat. His uncle worked at Dounreay at the time and Woody was a frequent visitor to Caithness in the mid '70s.

During this period, scenes from a horror film were recorded using the outside of the house as a backdrop. The house was empty until the mid '80s, when a family from Kent bought it and made it into a private residence again. It has of land, 2 lochs, a small pier and a small beach, the Peedie Sannie ("Small Beach").

Dunnet Church is near the road junction and has documented history dating from 1230.

CH Haygarth & Sons, gun and rifle makers, are situated on the A836 on the eastern side of the village. They are Scotland's oldest practicing gunmakers and cartridge loaders, and the only full-time gunshop North of Inverness. They are unusual in that it is still family owned and run by Colin's second son, Ross, marking the business's third generation of ownership by the Haygarth Clan. They were the Queen Mother's gunsmiths from 1964 until her death in 2001. The building was the site of the original village shop, owned by the Begg family, which closed in the mid-1950s. The property was built in 1900.

Dunnet is at the north/northeast end of Dunnet Beach, which extends across three miles (5 km) towards Castletown.

Dunnet Forest is south of the village and east of the here southward A836.

St John's Loch, known also as Dunnet Loch, is north-east of the village.

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