Bucholie Castle (ND382658) is believed to have been built during the 12th century by Sweyn, a Norse pirate and freebooter. Hence, the site is often referred to by the Norse name of Lambaborg. However, the present visible structures were built by the Mowat family, who were granted a charter of the lands of Freswick by King Robert the Bruce, and settled there by the 14th century. It was the Mowats who brought the name Bucholie with them from their castle and estate of the same name in Aberdeenshire. It remained their principal seat in the north until it was sold to the Sinclairs of Freswick in the 17th century. The architecture of the present ruins is of 15th century date, so it must be assumed that the building had been extensively altered.
The ruined castle stands on an inaccessible and dangerous peninsula high above the sea, joined to the mainland by a treacherous neck of land. The site would originally have been entered across a drawbridge, which crossed a ditch. A passage passes through the building to the rear where a narrow courtyard turns sharply to the right providing access to a row of outbuildings and quarters. An unusual feature of the architecture is that the walls were built with an external batter.
All content © Caithness Archaeological Trust 2004
unless otherwise stated