Some more detail of our plans!

Feel free to contact us if you have ideas about how these can be improved.

Impact on Local Community and Economy

A Catalyst for Community and Economic Growth

The Caithness Broch Project is anticipated to significantly boost the local community and economy. The project aims to create a new visitor attraction, which will not only draw locals, day trippers, and tourists but also generate economic and social benefits for the region. The project's approach towards involving a wide range of people in heritage activities, along with the potential for associated events and educational activities, is expected to create a positive impact on the local community and economy. Some of the opportunities we would like to explore are:

  • Local Artisans and Craft Markets: Regularly host markets featuring local artisans and crafters at the project site. This initiative can stimulate the local economy by showcasing regional products and talents, creating a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. Hosting such events in a unique environment may be a particular draw for visitors.
  • Collaborations with Local Businesses: Establish partnerships with local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and transport services, to create combined offerings. For example, package deals that include a visit to the broch, a meal at a local restaurant, and accommodation. These collaborations can enhance the economic benefits for the entire community.
  • Seasonal Festivals and Cultural Events: Organise seasonal festivals and cultural events at the site, celebrating Caithness's rich heritage and traditions. These events can attract visitors from beyond the local area, further boosting tourism and local business.
  • Educational Tourism Packages: Develop educational tourism packages in collaboration with schools and universities. These packages could include guided tours, workshops, and interactive learning experiences, appealing to educational groups from across the UK and beyond.
  • Job Creation and Skills Training: Implement job creation and skills training initiatives as part of the project. Offer roles in site maintenance, tour guidance, event management, and educational programming, providing valuable employment and skill-building opportunities to the local community.
  • Sustainable Tourism Initiatives: Develop and promote sustainable tourism initiatives, positioning the broch as an eco-friendly and socially responsible attraction. This approach can attract a growing segment of environmentally conscious travellers.
  • Heritage Apprenticeships: Offer heritage apprenticeships, focusing on skills like traditional building techniques, heritage conservation, and archaeological practices. These apprenticeships can provide unique career pathways and skill development for local youth.
  • Volunteer Programmes: Establish a robust volunteer programme, encouraging community members to participate in various aspects of the project. This programme can foster a sense of ownership and pride within the community, while also supporting the project's operations.
  • Local Produce and Cuisine: At the on-site café, serve local produce and traditional Caithness cuisine. This not only supports local farmers and producers but also offers visitors an authentic taste of the region.
  • Photography and Art Exhibitions: Host photography and art exhibitions that showcase the beauty and heritage of Caithness. These exhibitions can draw additional visitors and provide a platform for local artists to gain recognition.

Incorporating these elements can significantly amplify the project's impact on the local community and economy, creating a multifaceted attraction that benefits and engages various sectors of the region.

Environmental Concerns

Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

The Caithness Broch Project is deeply committed to environmental stewardship, a principle embedded in every phase of its development. Acknowledging that construction and ongoing operations will alter the landscape, the project team is dedicated to implementing strategies that not only minimise environmental impact but also actively contribute to the region's ecological richness.

Key to our approach is the harmonisation of the project with the natural surroundings of Caithness. This involves:

  • Eco-Friendly Construction Methods: Utilising sustainable building materials and techniques that reduce carbon footprint. For example, sourcing local stone and timber, employing traditional construction methods that require less energy, and using green technologies wherever feasible.
  • Biodiversity Enhancement Initiatives: Going beyond mere preservation, we plan to enhance biodiversity. This includes creating habitats like wildflower meadows, nurturing existing and planting native tree species, and establishing protected areas for ground-nesting birds. These efforts aim to attract and sustain a diverse range of flora and fauna, offsetting the human presence.
  • Eco-Education Programmes: Developing educational programmes focused on environmental awareness and conservation. These could include guided nature walks, workshops on local ecology, and citizen science projects where visitors can contribute to environmental monitoring and research.
  • Sustainable Visitor Management: Implementing strategies for sustainable visitor management to mitigate the impact of increased footfall. This might include designated walking paths to reduce soil erosion, controlled access areas to protect sensitive habitats, and the use of interpretative signage to educate visitors on the importance of conservation. Our path creation at Ousdale is an example of work that is sensitive to the environment and that has a low environmental impact by not using geotextile under the path and winning stone for the path from the land under and around the path.
  • Green Infrastructure: Incorporating green infrastructure elements like rain gardens, permeable pavements, and natural drainage systems. These features will help manage stormwater, reduce erosion, and maintain the natural hydrology of the site.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: Exploring the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to power the site's facilities. This approach aligns with the project's commitment to sustainability and sets a positive example for eco-friendly operations.
  • Regular Environmental Impact Assessments: Conducting ongoing environmental impact assessments to monitor and adapt strategies as needed. This ensures that the project's environmental footprint is continually assessed and improved upon.
  • Collaborations with Conservation Groups: Partnering with local conservation groups and environmental experts to leverage their knowledge and expertise. This collaborative approach will enhance the project's capacity to positively impact the local ecosystem.
  • Waste Management and Recycling: Implementing robust waste management and recycling systems on-site to minimise waste generation and ensure responsible disposal.
  • Community-Led Conservation Initiatives: Engaging the local community in conservation efforts, such as tree planting days, wildlife surveys, and habitat restoration projects.

By adopting these measures, The Caithness Broch Project aspires not only to respect the region's natural heritage but also to actively enrich and celebrate it, ensuring that environmental considerations are at the forefront of this historic endeavour.

Educational Value

A Hub of Learning and Discovery

The project is poised to offer substantial educational value. We intend to deliver a range of activities and events with a focus on educational activity, including training opportunities for volunteers. These opportunities will be designed to cater to all age groups, providing a hands-on learning experience about heritage, traditional building methods, and local history. We will also want to consider maximising educational opportunities through some creative ideas such as:

  • Interactive Digital Archives: Develop an online digital archive or app featuring detailed information, images, and 3D models of the broch and its construction process. This resource can be used both in educational settings and by individuals keen to learn more about Iron Age life and architecture.
  • School Partnerships: Form partnerships with local and regional schools to integrate the project into their curriculum. This could involve special school-day trips, interactive workshops on-site, and educational materials tailored to different age groups.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences: Utilise VR technology to create immersive experiences, allowing users to virtually step into the Iron Age and explore the broch as it would have been thousands of years ago. This can be particularly effective for schools or individuals who are unable to visit the site in person.
  • Seasonal Themed Events: Host seasonal events that explore different aspects of Iron Age life, such as Iron Age cuisine, traditional crafts, or storytelling. These events could be both educational and entertaining, engaging a broader audience.
  • Collaborative Research Opportunities: Partner with universities and research institutions to offer internships and research opportunities at the site. This could include archaeological digs, field walks, geophysical studies, conservation projects, or studies in ancient technologies.
  • Heritage Skills Workshops: Offer workshops in traditional skills such as stone carving, thatching, or Iron Age cooking techniques. These workshops not only educate but also help preserve ancient crafts and techniques.
  • Community Lecture Series: Organise a lecture series featuring experts in archaeology, history, and heritage conservation. These talks could be open to the public and offer deeper insights into the significance of brochs and the broader historical context.
  • Youth Ambassador Programme: Create a youth ambassador program where young volunteers are trained to guide tours, helping them develop public speaking and leadership skills while deepening their knowledge of local history.
  • Art and Writing Competitions: Host competitions for art, essays, or poetry inspired by the broch, encouraging creative engagement with the site’s history and cultural significance.
  • Expanded Mission: Create a hub for learning about round buildings worldwide, from prehistoric through to the modern day, to appeal to a broad range of people from archaeologists to architects (professional and potential!).

By integrating these elements, the educational aspect of The Caithness Broch Project can be greatly enhanced, making it a dynamic and multidimensional learning hub.


Inclusive Access for All

Plans for accessibility and inclusivity at the project site have been considered. The terrain and location of the site pose certain challenges, but these will be addressed in a practical way through thoughtful design and planning. The aim is to ensure that the broch is accessible to a diverse range of visitors, including those with mobility challenges. The design of the broch itself will need to carefully consider accessibility for a wide range of visitors.

To enhance this aspect of the project, we have some additional ideas:

  • Multi-Sensory Experience: Design the site to offer a multi-sensory experience, ensuring that it is engaging for visitors with visual or hearing impairments. This could include tactile models of the broch, audio descriptions, and aromatic gardens that replicate scents of the Iron Age era.
  • Transport Links: Create transport links to the site on certain days per year (to tie in with demand), with accessible shuttle services from nearby towns and villages. These services could include vehicles equipped for wheelchairs and other mobility aids, making the journey to the site as accessible as the destination itself.
  • Inclusive Programming: Develop educational and recreational programs that are inclusive of all abilities. For instance, workshops and tours that are designed for people with learning difficulties, ensuring that everyone can engage with and enjoy the historical and cultural significance of the broch.
  • Community Collaboration: Involve local disability advocacy groups and organisations in the planning and design process. Their insights can be invaluable to us in making the site not only accessible but also welcoming and comfortable for all visitors.
  • Adaptive Infrastructure: Consider the implementation of adaptive infrastructure, such as adjustable height displays and interactive exhibits, to accommodate visitors of various ages and abilities.
  • Alternative Access Points: For areas of the site that may be challenging to navigate, provide alternative access points or viewing platforms. This ensures that all visitors have the opportunity to experience key aspects of the broch and the surrounding landscape. Alternative ways of experiencing the broch, such as by using virtual reality, will also be considered.
  • Staff Training: Invest in comprehensive staff training to ensure that all team members are equipped to assist visitors with diverse needs, from providing information in various formats to offering physical assistance where required. Particularly, staff should make all visitors feel welcome.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement: Establish a system for collecting feedback from visitors about the site's accessibility and inclusivity. Use this feedback for continuous improvement, ensuring the site remains adaptable to the needs of all visitors.

These suggestions aim to create an environment where inclusivity is not just an afterthought but a core principle guiding the development of The Caithness Broch Project.

Tourism Draw

Boosting Tourism in Caithness

The Caithness Broch Project is poised to become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors not only to the broch but also to the rich tapestry of experiences along the NC500. Its strategic location near iconic routes and towns like Wick, Thurso, and Helmsdale enhances its accessibility and appeal. The project's unique nature, blending ancient history with modern interpretation, will captivate those interested in heritage tourism, particularly the Scottish diaspora seeking connections to their ancestral roots.

In 2018, attractions like The Castle and Gardens of Mey and Dunnet Bay Distillery drew significant numbers, 28,961 and 18,681 visitors respectively. The broch's potential to surpass these figures is bolstered by its proximity to other popular NC500 destinations:

  1. Historic Castles: Nearby attractions like Old Wick, Keiss, and Sinclair Girnigoe Castles​​ offer a glimpse into Scotland's rich history, creating a complementary experience for visitors to the broch.
  2. John o’ Groats and Duncansby Head: Although John o’ Groats is seen by some as a brief photo opportunity, its proximity and the dramatic natural beauty of the beaches and nearby Duncansby Head​​ enhance the overall visitor experience.
  3. Other Caithness attractions: see our Caithness Adventure Map.
  4. Beautiful Beaches: Destinations like Durness, Balnakeil, Ceannabeinne Beaches​​, Sandwood Bay​​, and Achmelvich Beach​​ offer serene natural beauty, attracting those interested in Scotland's coastal landscapes.
  5. Gruinard Bay and Wester Ross Region: This area, known for its picturesque views and the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve​​, provides an enticing option for nature enthusiasts.
  6. Plockton and Eilean Donan Castle: Often described as the 'Jewel of the Highlands', Plockton​​, along with the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, adds to the richness of the NC500 experience, appealing to a diverse range of tourists.

The Broch Project can leverage these nearby attractions, offering joint itineraries or partnerships to create a comprehensive cultural and historical experience. This synergy between various attractions will not only enhance the appeal of the broch but also contribute to the broader tourism ecosystem of the Scottish Highlands. Additionally, the Project's educational and heritage-focused nature offers a unique, immersive experience, setting it apart as a must-visit destination on the NC500 route.

Local Amenities

Enhancing Visitor Experience

The Caithness Broch Project plans to enrich the visitor experience through the thoughtful addition of various amenities, tailored to the evolving needs of visitors. The initial phase includes the establishment of essential facilities like a café, a visitor centre, and campervan parking, with the vision to expand and diversify these offerings in response to visitor demand and feedback.

  • Modular Café and Local Cuisine: The café will initially start as a simple, modular unit, potentially evolving into a more permanent structure. It will focus on serving local delicacies and traditional Scottish fare, providing a taste of Caithness to visitors. It will also serve a killer brownie and a hot cup of coffee - not traditional Caithness food and drink, but essential in the 21st century!
  • Interactive Visitor Centre: The visitor centre will not only offer information but also interactive displays and exhibits about the broch, local history, and the project's progress. It will serve as an educational hub, enticing visitors with immersive storytelling and digital reconstructions of Iron Age life.
  • Eco-Friendly Campervan Facilities: The campervan parking area will be equipped with eco-friendly facilities, such as electric vehicle charging stations and waste recycling services, catering to the needs of environmentally conscious travellers.
  • Outdoor Amphitheatre for Events: Envision an outdoor amphitheatre for hosting events, workshops, and cultural performances, enhancing the site's appeal as a community and tourist venue.
  • Nature Trails and Observation Points: Develop nature trails around the site, complete with observation points and information boards detailing local flora and fauna, offering visitors an engaging way to explore the natural beauty of Caithness.
  • Artisan Market Space: Allocate space for local artisans to display and sell their crafts, providing a platform for local talent and a unique shopping experience for visitors.
  • Themed Event Days: Regularly host themed event days or festivals celebrating Scottish culture and history, drawing additional footfall and enhancing the site's appeal.
  • Collaboration with Local Businesses: Form partnerships with local businesses for pop-up shops or services on-site, promoting local entrepreneurship and community involvement.

By progressively developing these facilities, the project aims not only to cater to immediate visitor needs but also to adapt and grow, enhancing the overall experience and contributing to the site's dynamic evolution as a cultural and historical landmark.