Freswick Castle has been my home over the last fifteen years but I have been privileged to share this wonderful place with many visitors from around the world. During years of national and international travel, whilst working in theatre, television and film, I have been able to speak of the glories of Caithness in places as far apart as New York, Oslo, Cape Town and Moscow – and friends and colleagues from many of these great cities in the world have found a welcome at Freswick.
But I am particularly glad that my own family has been able to put down roots here. My two sons were educated at Wick and Thurso High Schools and have spent important years living and working in Caithness. Their film company, Far North Films, reflects their continued attachment and involvement here and they continue to return to the county whenever they can.
Freswick Castle is very much a family home and I take my responsibilities in looking after a ‘Grade A’ listed building very seriously. This ancient tower house is built upon the foundations of a 12th Century Viking settlement, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in Scotland. The architecture ranges from medieval to 18th Century periods and the imposing building dominates the coastline, which is a haven for wild-life, seals in the bay, otters in the burn, and a vast variety of sea birds. The cloudscapes and night skies are spectacular, with no light pollution and huge horizons. Freswick Castle has all the feeling of glorious remoteness, but is near to local amenities, Wick airport, rail links south, and ferries to Orkney.
I have hosted hundreds of people here over the last decades, especially creative artists, but there is a warm welcome for people from every walk of life. This historic home has a long history with the great families of the Mowats and the Sinclairs in past centuries. I am conscious that my family is only a very recent steward of this great heritage. But I am glad to say that Freswick Castle, as it is gradually renovated and renewed, is becoming a haven of peace, inspiration and joy for many – a home with an exciting future.