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This article is about the village in Scotland. For the village in Alberta, see Halkirk, Alberta.
Scottish Gaelic: Hacraig
Halkirk is located in Caithness
 Halkirk shown within the Caithness area
OS grid reference ND130594
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Caithness
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HALKIRK
Postcode district KW12
Dialling code 01847
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Scottish Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Ross constituency in the Highlands and Islands electoral region
List of places

Coordinates: 58°31′N 3°29′W / 58.51°N 3.49°W / 58.51; -3.49

Halkirk (Scottish Gaelic: Hacraig) is a village on the River Thurso in Caithness, in the Highland council area of Scotland. From Halkirk the B874 road runs towards Thurso in the north and towards Georgemas in the east. The village is within the parish of Halkirk, and is said by local people to be Scotland's first planned village.


It was at one time the site of the cathedral of the Diocese of Caithness, but this was moved to Dornoch in the early 13th century. There are no remains of the early church and bishop's seat.

Historic distilleries[edit]

Halkirk has had two whisky distilleries, Gerston from 1796 to 1885, and Ben Morven (also known as Gerston II) from 1886 to circa 1911. Both were established on the banks of the River Thurso, near Gerston Farm, and both drew water from Calder Burn. The Ben Morven distillery was named for the mountain, the highest point in Caithness.

The original Gerston distillery was first registered by a Francis Swanson, and was expanded by two sons, John and James, in 1825. Sir Robert Peel is said to have acquired a taste for the whisky. The distillery closed not long after it was sold to new owners in 1872, and a London company, calling themselves the Gerston Distillery Company, decided to build a new distillery.

In 1897 the new distillery was sold to Northern Distilleries Limited, who gave it the Ben Morven name. It was never very successful, and it closed circa 1911. The stillhouse is still standing.

Fairview House[edit]

Fairview House is a former poorhouse dating from 1856, which is now a residential complex.

Alexander Keith[edit]

Halkirk is the birthplace of Alexander Keith (1795 to 1873), who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia and became established as a respected politician and brewer. He is known across Canada for his most famous beer, Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale.



External links[edit]