The rock formation at Dunnet Head is freestone, and throughout the rest of the parish grey slate: at Inkstack are some quarries of flagstone, supplying materials for pavements, of which considerable quantities are shipped for the south. The annual value of real property in Dunnet is £4268.
The parish contains the three villages of Dunnet, Brough, and Scarfskerry. Part of the population is engaged in salmon-fishing, which has been carried on, particularly in Dunnet bay, with great success for the last few years: there is also a lobster-fishery, and cod, haddock, flounders, halibut, and skate are obtained. Four fairs are held, of which the principal is Marymas, on the Tuesday after August 15th (O. S.); it continues two days, and is almost exclusively a cattle and horse fair: the others are on the first and third Tuesdays in October (O. S.) and first Tuesday in April, for cattle, horses, &c. Cattle are also conveyed by steamers to the Leith and Edinburgh markets; the grain is generally shipped to the same quarter, and meal is sent to the weekly markets of Wick and Thurso. For ecclesiastical purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Caithness, synod of Sutherland and Caithness; patron. Sir James Colquhoun, Bart. The stipend of the minister is £191, with a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £12. Dunnet church, which is very ancient, is a plain oblong building, with a tower at the west end; in 1836-7 it underwent a thorough repair, being re-roofed, and enlarged by a capacious aisle, and it is now a commodious and comfortable place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches of education; the master has the maximum salary, with about £10 from fees, and a house and garden. Another school is supported by the General Assembly, and a third partly by Mr. Traill, on whose property it is built, and partly by fees. There are also two female schools, aided by the respective heritors and the Kirk Session. In 1764 William Sinclair, Esq., of Freswick, bequeathed an annuity of £5. 11. for the poor of the parish; and the late Messrs. Oswald, of Glasgow, left £600, now vested in land, for the same purpose. The lighthouse on Dunnet Head was first lighted on the 1st October, 1831; it stands on a precipice, about 300 feet above the level of the sea, and from the ground is sixty-one feet in height: the erection has proved of great service in preventing shipwreck and guiding vessels through the Firth. Timothy Pont, who did much to illustrate the geography of his country, was minister of Dunnet in the beginning of the seventeenth century.