To the north west of
the Caithness town of Thurso, close to the seashore, sits a few confused
grassy rubble mounds. These are all that remain of the ancient Scrabster
castle or the 'Palace' of the Bishop's of Caithness, first recorded in
1328. The site apears to have had a keep a lean-to hall block with
kitchens, a low surrounding courtyard wall and possibly a gatehouse on the
landward side. In 1544, Scrabster was seized by the Sinclairs, Earls of
Caithness of Girnigoe castle for unclear reasons. But likely to stop
Alexander Gordon, son of the Earl of Sunderland from taking hold of the
castle as temporary Bishop and turning the site into a Gordon interest. By
as early as 1726 the castle was totally ruinous.
Today the seaward side of the castle is marked by a World War II concrete
pill box, while the landward side is highlighted by a ditch and stream.
Which at one time if dammed back could provided a reasonable moat to
defend the castle's landward approach and must have been spanned by a
wooden drawbridge. The reconstruction shows the castle as it may have
appeared from the sea with the courtyard wall running back to the main
keep seized by the Sinclairs in 1544.