Dornoch Castle

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Dornoch Castle

Dornoch Castle is situated opposite Dornoch Cathedral in the village of Dornoch, in Sutherland, Scotland, a little over 40 miles (64 km) north of Inverness.


Dornoch Castle was built around 1500 as the home of the bishops of Caithness.[1] Bishop Robert Stewart gifted the castle to John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland in 1557.[1] In 1570 the castle was set alight in a feud between the McKays and Murrays. The rebuilding which followed included the addition of the upper part of the tower.[1] The castle decayed during the 18th century, but was restored in 1813–1814 to serve as a school and jail. In 1859-60 it became a court house, and was made the headquarters of the Sheriff of Sutherland with extensive remodelling by William Fowler.[2]

Further alterations were made around 1880, including the heightening of the south-west block, and the addition of a three-storey east tower.[1] Following the restoration the castle became a hunting lodge for visiting sportsmen. In 1947 it became a hotel. The Dornoch Castle Hotel has 24 rooms, including suites, and garden rooms, which were built in the 1970s. In addition, there are several personalized rooms and a restaurant. The castle is a category B listed building.[1] The Castle is believed to have been haunted by the ghost of Andrew McCornish who was hanged for sheep stealing. [3]

The building passed into private hands in 1922, and became a hotel in 1947. It is now the Dornoch Castle Hotel.[4]


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Coordinates: 57°52′49″N 4°01′42″W / 57.88028°N 4.02833°W / 57.88028; -4.02833