Cubbie Roo's Castle

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Cubbie Roo's Castle


Cubby Roo's Castle.jpg
Cubbie Roo's Castle
Type: Norse fortress
Grid reference: HY44182629
Location: 59°7’12"N, 2°58’36"W
Condition: Ruins
Owned by: Historic Scotland

Cubbie Roo's Castle is the ruin of a Norse castle on Wyre, one the islands of Orkney. It was built about 1150, making it one of the oldest castles in the north.


In Orkney legend, Cubbie Roo is a giant, for whom the islands of Orkney were merely stepping stones:

In the days of miracles and other supernatural appearances there lived a mighty giant named Cubbierow beside the Fitty Hill of Westray. He seems to have had a feeling of enmity towards some unlucky individual, and was determined to punish him severely.

Although his foe had fled to Rousay, a distance of about eight miles, the giant took up his position on Fitty Hill; and seizing the huge slab, he hurled it at his enemy across the intervening sound....the marks of Cubbierow's fingers are to be seen on that stone unto this day.

—R Menzies Fergusson - Rambles in the Far North – 1884


The original Cubbie Roo, who built this castle, was Kolbein Hruga, a lord of the island during the Norse period who was said to have lived there; it is mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga.[1]

The castle is mentioned in King Haakon's saga, concerning the last Norse Earl of Orkney, Earl Jon. Snaekoll Gunnisson claimed lands by inheritance from his great grandfather, Earl Rognvald and demanded this of the Earl. He and King's Haakon's steward confronted Earl Jon in Thurso in 1291 and murdered him, then fled to Wyre. They took refuge in Cubbie Roo's Castle, which was so strong that the besiegers had to thrash out an agreement with them to get them out.[1]

Walls of the castle

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Cubbie Roo's Castle)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543.