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National Gazetteer, 1868

Olrig - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

"OLRICK, a parish in the county of Caithness, Scotland. It comprises the village of Castletown. It extends in length about 6 miles from N. to S., with an extreme breadth of 3½ miles. It is bounded on the N. by Dunnet Bay, and on the other sides by the parishes of Dunnet, Bower, and Thurso. The surface is generally level, but rises towards the S., where it becomes hilly, affording excellent sheep-walks. The soil of the arable lands lying towards the sea is rich and fertile. Oats are extensively cultivated. The principal hills are Durran and Olrick. From the latter there is a fine prospect, with traces of a watchtower on its summit. The parish contains the loch of Durran, which is nearly 3 miles in circumference. Along the coast, which is rugged and shelving, though not bold, are some sandy links. To the E. is Castle Hill Bay, where is a commodious harbour, and near it another bay called Murkle, which might easily be made an excellent harbour at no great expense. The village of Olrick is about 16 miles N.W. of Wick, and 3½ S.E. of Thurso. It is situated on Dunnet Bay. A portion of the inhabitants are engaged in the sandstone, limestone, slate, and flagstone quarries, with which this district abounds, and others in the fisheries. There was formerly a nunnery at Murkle, connected with St. Columba's church. This parish is in the presbytery of Caithness, and synod of Sutherland and Caithness. The minister has a stipend of £218. The parish church was erected in 1841. There are also a Free church, parochial school and library, and other schools. The principal mansions are Murkle (a seat of the late Earl of Caithness), Ratter, Olrick, and Castle Hill, this last so called from an old castle, of which scarcely a vestige is discernible. Picts' houses occur in various parts of the parish."

"CASTLETOWN, a village in the parish of Olrick, in the county of Caithness, Scotland, 6 miles to the E. of Thurso, and about 290 from Edinburgh. The strong and durable paving-stone, known as Caithness pavement, is quarried at Castlehill near this village."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003