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Kenn and the Salmon.jpg
Kenn and the Salmon, a statue in memory of Neil Gunn at Dunbeath harbour
Dunbeath is located in Caithness
Dunbeath shown within the Caithness area
OS grid referenceND160298
Civil parish
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtKW6
Dialling code01593
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
58°14′58″N 3°25′55″W / 58.249314°N 3.431925°W / 58.249314; -3.431925Coordinates: 58°14′58″N 3°25′55″W / 58.249314°N 3.431925°W / 58.249314; -3.431925

Dunbeath (Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Bheithe)[1] is a village in south-east Caithness, Scotland on the A9 road.[2]


It was the birthplace of Neil M. Gunn (1891–1973), author of The Silver Darlings, Highland River etc., many of whose novels are set in Dunbeath and its Strath. Dunbeath has a very rich archaeological landscape, the site of numerous Iron Age brochs and an early medieval monastic site (see Alex Morrison's archaeological survey, "Dunbeath: A Cultural Landscape".)

Of Dunbeath's landscape, Gunn wrote: "These small straths, like the Strath of Dunbeath, have this intimate beauty. In boyhood we get to know every square yard of it. We encompass it physically and our memories hold it. Birches, hazel trees for nutting, pools with trout and an occasionally visible salmon, river-flats with the wind on the bracken and disappearing rabbit scuts, a wealth of wild flower and small bird life, the soaring hawk, the unexpected roe, the ancient graveyard, thoughts of the folk who once lived far inland in straths and hollows, the past and the present held in a moment of day-dream." ('My Bit of Britain', 1941.).

There is a community museum/landscape interpretation centre at the old village school (http://www.dunbeath-heritage.org.uk).

Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed when his Short Sunderland flying boat crashed on a Dunbeath hillside on 25 August 1942.[3]

Notable people[edit]

Dr John N Sutherland, graduate of Glasgow, St Andrews and Edinburgh Universities, former Professor of Virtual Reality at Gifu University in Japan, founder of video games as an academic discipline,[4][5][6] was brought up in Dunbeath and attended Dunbeath Primary School and Dunbeath Parish Church.


  1. ^ Gaelic and Norse in the Landscape: Placenames in Caithness and Sutherland. Scottish National Heritage.
  2. ^ "Dunbeath". The Gazetteer for Scotland. School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  3. ^ http://www.rafoban.co.uk/page10.htm
  4. ^ New Statesman
  5. ^ "A masters in Space Invaders?". BBC News. 9 November 1997. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  6. ^ Times Higher Education Supplement