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Dunbeath Preservation Trust is based in the Heritage Centre situated just two minutes from the new Dunbeath bypass on the A9 north of Inverness.  The centre is located in the former village school where the famous novelist Neil M Gunn began his schooling.  Easily reached by following the signs from the A9, a visit makes an enjoyable and interesting day trip for all.

This outstanding new amenity was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1989.  It provides facilities for the visitor to see something of the history and lives of the people in a Highland community from prehistoric times to the modern day.  The funding for the centre came from Mr R Stanton Avery an American who owned Dunbeath Castle for a number of years.

Historical detail has been extensively portrayed with a tableau of beautifully sculptured and dressed life-size figures depicting Dunbeath inhabitants from the present back to its early settlers. 

The Centre overlooks the Moray Firth and has a prime view of the Beatrice Oil Field - the only oilfield that can be seen from the mainland.  A pair of powerful binoculars in the Centre allows visitors to scan the area whilst listening to a recorded commentary.

Dunbeath Estate, a modern highland estate has established a fold of traditional Highland Cattle.  The work of the Trust is also shown with research projects and archaeological digs being planned and undertaken.  A photographic collection and family trees are also part of an extensive archive.

There are many excellent walks in and around Dunbeath, including the strath, the seashore and the harbour area, all immortalised in the novels of Neil M Gunn.  The Strath Trail enables the visitor to explore the beautiful and unique aspects of Dunbeath strath and discover its history, flora and fauna - many kinds of animals (including deer), birds, trees and wild flowers can be seen by the careful observer.  (A separate leaflet is available giving full details of the Strath Trail).

At the time of the herring boom the harbour was home to 155 fishing boats and there are still working boats based here.  Thousands of sea-birds nest along the cliffs in summer - kittiwakes, fulmars and puffins are some of he many species that can easily be seen by the visitor.  At certain times of the year seals visit the bay, and salmon can be seen leaping in the harbour and river.

Old School,

Tel 01593 731 233

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Check the Caithness.org What's On for Walks and events


Times Past

Study Centre

Unusual Use Of Floor

The centre has a wealth of information on the area's archaeology, wildlife and genealogy.  Also in the study room are a growing range of books including those by Neil Gunn.  There are growing range of family histories available for anyone researching their local roots.

Regular walks take place led alternately by the Highland Ranger Service and Nan Bethune the resident archaeologist.  Check the centre for dates ,  times and subject of the walks that vary over the summer months.

The area has a very long history about which much is still being uncovered.  With over 6000 years of evidence the area has much still to be discovered.  The last couple of hundred years are well documented and the centre is fast becoming the first port of call for many academics from writers, historians and archaeologists.  With recent discoveries in the county Dunbeath has become one of the focal points in gathering together the information and making it possible for new trusts such as the Caithness Archaeology Trust and the Yarrows Heritage Trust to come into being in the last few months.

The centre has a lot to offer the casual visitor or the more demanding academic.  If you have visited before then you may be surprised at the huge changes within the building .................

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