One of the best-preserved brochs in Caithness, located along the route of a stunning riverside walk.
Crossing the Houstry Burn by the footbridge, Dunbeath Broch is reached by following the path uphill to its prominent position overlooking the Burn and Dunbeath Water. A modern D-shaped wall has been constructed to protect the broch from livestock. The broch was in a state of disrepair, until the summer of 1990, when consolidation work was undertaken by Dunbeath Preservation Trust. The guard cell, a further interior cell, and the entrance are still evident. Dunbeath Broch is the best-preserved of several brochs in the Strath.
Continuing on the north side of the river, the path takes you through hazel, birch, rowan, and cherry woodlands. The Strath is famed for its hazel nuts, which may be picked in the autumn. It is very sheltered and is a haven for many birds, including buzzards and eagles. Dippers hunt for caddis fly larvae at the water's edge, and roe deer also live in these woodlands. During the summer months the area is abundant in wildflowers, mosses, and ferns.
You can find out more about Dunbeath Broch, as well as other archaeological and historical sites, on Canmore, Scotland’s historic environment record.
The Annals of Ulster mention of siege of Dunbeath in 680 AD, possibly by Brude, a Pictish king on his way north - perhaps it was this broch that was besieged!