Armadale, Sutherland

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Armadale Village.jpg
Armadale, the bay and the remains of Armadale Inn
Grid reference: NC786643
Location: 58°32’60"N, 4°5’22"W
Population: 0
Postcode: KW14
Local Government
Council: Highland
Caithness, Sutherland
and Easter Ross

Armadale is a small village on the north coast of Sutherland, and part of the parish of Farr. It is to be found about 30 miles west of the town of Thurso (in Caithness), off the A836 road.

The population of Armadale is around 50, and shrinking.

Armadale is first mentioned in charters in the 13th century as part of the parish of Farr. There was a small fishing hamlet consisting of two or three houses north of the village before the year 1600 called Port Moir.

At the north end of the village is Armadale Salmon Fishery, owned by James "Jukesy" Mackay.


The name of the village is from Old Norse. There is a like-named village, Armadale, Skye, in Inverness-shire.

Sutherland's Armadale gives a name to the town of Armadale in West Lothian. It is also the original of a suburb named 'Armadale' in Victoria, Australia.

In the centre of Armadale in Sutherland stand the ruins of an old inn, which was open in the early 19th century and was run by one Alexander Munro who was a boat builder and house carpenter and his wife Barbara Mackay. Their grandson, James Munro, was born and schooled in the village. He moved to Australia and eventually rose to become the 15th Premier of Victoria. It was from him that the Armadale in Victoria takes its name.


William Honyman (whose mother, Margaret, was a daughter of John Mackay of Strathy) bought the estate from his grandfather about 1779 and built a new mansion at Armadale. The Armadale estate under the ownership of Honeyman was the first to bring the North Country Cheviot to Sutherland. William Honeyman, as a judge of the Court of Session took the title of “Lord Armadale of Strathy”. Honeyman removed the tenants that lived on both sides of the Armadale burn and settled them where the village is now before 1800.

In 1812 the Armadale Farm extended from the burn of Kirtomy in the west to the water of Strathy in the east, some six miles along the seashore and four miles inland and contained about fifty acres of green pasture and arable land. Honeyman sold the estate to the Duke of Sutherland in 1813 for the sum of £25,000 On a map of 1823 by John Thompson and William Johnson both the old Armadale and the new Armadale Fishing Village are shown. The present layout of the village was designed in 1855. Two miles west of Armadale is the deserted township of Poulouriscaig, this was a post “Clearance” village of seven houses that was settled in the 1830s and the last family had left by 1935 and moved into the present village.


Since 2006, five new houses have been erected, two by the council to encourage more people into the area, and three private builds. Armadale has an old school house, doctor's house (both of which are now owned privately properties) and a small village hall, used for the Strathy and Armadale Grazing Committee meetings and such. Armadale also has a doctor's surgery and the south end, which is the main surgery for places as far out west as Skerray and east as Melvich.

About the village

Bridge over Amadale Burn

At the north end of Armadale is a point called Reismeave, which is a good local fishing spot and great for seeing the coastal birds such as the oystercatcher, rock dove and the famous puffin. Growing at this point is the famous and extremely rare Primula scotica, the Scottish primrose, although often very hard to find.

Armadale beach is a six hundred yard stretch of golden sands, offering good tanning and picnic spots during the summer months and two burns flowing either side of the beach, splitting it into three sections. The beach is at its best during the summer, which attracts surfers and body boarders, but the best time to go surfing is from late August to October. The rocks surrounding the bay are excellent for rock pooling and climbing. The beach is accessible by either Armadale itself, or parking near the eastern bridge, and heading down a small track.

Outside links

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about Armadale, Sutherland)