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This harbour was built in the 1820's by James Bremner of Keiss for James Traill of Rattar (1758 -1843).

James Traill was educated in Marischal College, Aberdeen and studied Law in Edinburgh.  In 1788 he became Sheriff-Depute and subsequently Sheriff of Caithness.

After Traill purchased Castlehill House, he built roads and established the flagstone industry at Castlehill quarry.

The harbour was built to ship flagstone, the first shipment being in 1825.  In 1856 output was 7112 tons.  the industry peaked in 1902 when 35,363 tons was produced by 500 employees.

The Schooners which shipped out flagstone returned with coal, oilcake and other feed stuff.  All commerce was controlled by Traill.  Workers were forced to buy from the Laird's store.

This fine harbour was reputed to be built by very few men using shearlegs.  slabs were quarried at low tide, tied to large timbers with chains and floated into the basin and then positioned using shearlegs.

Bremner's theory was that slabs placed upright had greater resistance to wave action.  boom gates at the entrance were used to enable excavation of the pumped out harbour basin and to control the run of water into the harbour when vessels were loading and unloading.

the harbour is now administered by a trust.  More About Castlehill

This harbour is in a ruinous state due to the persistent action of the sea and lack of maintenance.

The inlet was first mentioned in 1725 as a place used by small trading vessels.  In 1700 Captain James Moodie of Melsetter owned the public ferry between Hoy, Orkney and Rattar in Caithness.  the boat would land at Ham or Scarfskerry, whichever was most convenient.

By 1791 the first improvements to the natural inlet were described in the Old Statistical Account for Dunnet which records:
"Ham might be rendered safe for small vessels at little expense.  There is a superficial pier erected there already and the ground within it being pretty well cleared of stones.  vessels of or below 100 tons, find no inconveniency of loading or unloading cargo, or even lying there for weeks in the summer season.  It has, however, the inconveniency of a bar, or ridge of sand and gravel across the entrance, upon which there is not sufficient depth of water for vessels in any great burden, but with spring tides."

James Traill of Castlehill acquired and improved Rattar.  By 1830 the harbour at Castlehill proved inadequate for the growing output of flagstone so James Bremner was given the task of designing and supervising the harbour at Ham.  stone was quarried from the adjacent cliff face.

This ruined harbour is an interesting place to visit and is a favourite spot for picnics.  More about Ham

The original small stone pier was constructed and funded by the Caithness County Council and the people of Dunnet between 1893 and 1897.

In 1955 H.M.R.Y. Britannia anchored off Dwarwick Pier for the first and only time.  Queen Elizabeth, the duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne landed at Dwarwick Pier to visit the Queen Mother at her Castle of Mey.  this landing was commemorated by the erection, by Caithness county council, of a flagstone plaque.

Severe storms washed away the lower slipway and pier during the winters of 1969/70.  Dwarwick Pier Association was formed and improvements were undertaken with assistance from various agencies.

The area is an attraction to a large number of local people and tourists.  It is a favourite place to launch small boats, fish off the end of the pier in relatively deep water, skin dive, go surfing, picnic or park a car prior to exploring the area or walking on Dunnet hill.  More about Dwarwick

In 1794 Brough was described as a secure haven for small craft where a pier was needed.  It is partially sheltered by the reefs running from the shore to Little Clett rock and the Hen's Head on the west and by Hilligay on the East.

The stone built slipway and adjacent store were built in 1830 by the Northern Lighthouse Board when the lighthouse was being constructed at Dunnet Head by Robert Stevenson.  Stores arrived at Brough slipway and were taken to the lighthouse by horse drawn carts.

Local fishermen made their living here fishing for cod, ling and shellfish.  at the turn of the century, Brough fishwives used to walk 12 miles to Thurso carrying the catch to sell at the Auld Fishstane.

The slipway access road and environs are now owned by the Brough Bay Association formed in 1976.
More about Brough