Scheduled Monument

Caisteal Bharraich, TowerSM1896

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: tower
Local Authority
NC 58081 56753
258081, 956753


The monument comprises the remains of a small tower house standing upon the summit of a promontory high above the Kyle of Tongue. Its history is unknown although it is said to have belonged to the Bishop of Caithness who stayed here on his way from his castle at Scrabster to his property of Balnakiel. The monument was first scheduled in 1938. On this occasion, an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The tower, measuring externally 7.5m along the south wall and 6.7m along the other three sides, stands to first floor height. It is constructed of random rubble and is bonded in shell lime. The tower appears to have been of two storeys with a single chamber on each floor, perhaps with an attic; the slots for the roof ties still survive. The ground floor, entered from the N, was vaulted, as is demonstrated by the remains of the springing. The ground floor also had a window through the east wall; only the E ingo now survives. The ground floor does not communicate with the first floor, indicating that the first floor had an external doorway. A plan by MacGibbon & Ross (1887-92) shows a first floor doorway through the S wall. However, it is now impossible to confirm this interpretation.

To the N of the tower there is a scarp showing traces of walling, which extend NW for 20m from a rock outcrop near the tower to the coastal cliff.

The area to be scheduled includes the tower house and an area around it that has the potential for the survival of associated archaeology. The area is irregular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 110m from its westernmost point to its easternmost, and 75m from its northernmost to southernmost points, as marked in red on the attached map.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 22/04/2024 00:44