Scheduled Monument

Borve CastleSM2112

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

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: castle
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NC 72530 64108
272530, 964108


The monument is the remains of Borve Castle, a medieval fortification located on a narrow promontory at around 40m above sea level, bounded by steep slopes decending to the sea. The castle is visible as earthern banks and ditches and turf-covered wall footings with some exposed masonry wall faces.

Borve Castle occupies a steep sided coastal promontory to the northeast of Farr. The landward side of the promontory is defended by a ditch, partly natural in nature. Beyond the ditch and on rising ground is the remains of a tower built of rubble masonry bonded with lime mortar. The tower occupies most of the width of the promontory but with space for a path to pass on its east side where a ditch has also been cut across the promontory. A second ditch, with a slight bank on either side, controls access from the lower seaward end of the promontory. Behind and adjoining the tower is a short range of buildings in the same style of masonry. There are also numerous scoops and footings of other buildings between the two ditches. 

The scheduled area is irregular, It includes the whole of the promontory above the steep slopes and an area of the mainland up to NC 72455 64075 where the neck of the promontory begins to widen out. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument continues to meet the criterion of national importance as the remains of a medieval castle. It contributes significantly to our understanding of the past as a rare example of a medieval castle in Sutherland. Its form and location are similar to a number of other castle sites further east in Caithness such as Old Wick, Forse, Bucholly and Braal castles, and together these help us understand the planning and siting of elite defensive residences in this part of Scotland. An historical account of the siege of the castle in 1555 helps us to understand the impact of cannon in siege warfare. The siege and subsequent warfare between the Mackays and Sutherlands is an example of clan conflict in the far north of Scotland.



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


Borve Castle, during daytime, on clear day
Borve Caste, looking south from the keep over the internal buildings.

Printed: 22/04/2024 01:21