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Duncansbay, Caithness

Historical Description

DUNCANSBAY, a township, in the parish of Canisbay, county of Caithness, 9 miles (N. by E.) from Keiss; containing 302 inhabitants. This place, said to be the Berubium of Ptolemy, is a beautiful promontory, forming the north-east corner of the island of Great Britain, of a circular shape, and about two miles in circumference. Towards the sea, which encompasses two-thirds of the Head, it is one continued precipice; and on the land side is a deep glen or ravine, over which a small bridge is thrown. The Stacks of Duncansbay are pyramidical pillars of naked freestone rock, rearing their fantastic summits to a considerable altitude, like huge spires of an old cathedral; and are frequented by innumerable sea-fowl. On the highest part of the Head are the remains of an ancient watch-tower, whence is a prospect the most noble and extensive that can be imagined, embracing the whole Pentland Firth, the Orkney islands, the North Sea, the Moray Firth, and the mountains of Banff, Aberdeen, and Elgin. The promontory is covered with excellent pasturage for sheep, intermixed with short heath. Here was formerly a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary; the site is still known by the name of Lady-Kirk.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis