This part of the coastline was a favourite landing place of raiders and pirates from Norway and Denmark. Keiss is 7 miles north of Wick. Local people devised methods to thwart the raiders, one of which was a beacon on Warth Hill, a blaze at night when raiders were spotted and a smoke beacon in the daytime. This early warning system allowed locals the chance to hide their cattle and valuables. It is thought that the name ‘Warth’ comes from the Old Norse “vartha” meaning “to watch”. On top of Warth Hill you can also find a large bronzed age Cairn. It is said to be 57 feet in diameter and was excavated in 1870. About 120 yards South of this Cairn is a grassy mound which could be a second, smaller cairn.
Botanists will love the cliffs and headlands along this north coast of Caithness. The exquisite Scottish primrose can be found at Faraid head, Strathy and into Caithness at Dunnet links, Keiss and Holborn Head. You will love going to the sea, picking crabs and collecting bags of whelks from under the Keiss Castle, a slim tower dating from the end of the 16th century. Other good sites are Inchnadamph, Dornoch Common Good Lands, Port Vasgo near Melness and Invernaver.
Walking – Keiss to Freswick: A part of the Walk Caithness Cliffs series
A walk of brochs and castles with some natural history thrown in. Wear boots and warm, waterproof clothing. Bring lunch. No dogs. Drivers taken back to the start Keiss Harbour. ND 351 609.
Enjoyable shore walk passing a traditional harbour and 16th century castle ruins. Looking at shore life, plants and birds. Keiss Beach car park. ND 344 601.