Ord  Caithness


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Ord like this:

Ord or Ord-of-Caithness, an abrupt, broad, lofty, granite mountain overhanging the sea, on the mutual border of Sutherland and Caithness, 4 miles by road NE of Helmsdale. The old road over it, formerly the only land ingress to Caithness, traversed the crest of its stupendous seaward precipices at a height and in a manner most appalling to both man and beast; and even the present road, formed in 1811, rises to an elevation of 726 feet above sea-level, and has very stiff gradients. ...

` The Ord-of-Caithness, ' says Miss Sinclair, ` was formerly pre-eminent for being the most dangerous bit of road in Scotland.. During the last century, whenever the late Earl of Caithness, my grandmother Lady Janet Sinclair, or any of the chief landed proprietors, entered that county, a troop of their tenants assembled on the border of Sutherland, and drew the carriage themselves over the hill, a distance of two miles, that nothing might be trusted in such a scene to the discretion of quadrupeds.. The mail-coach now rattles down the whole descent of the Ord, scarcely deigning even to use a drag! ' According to an old-world superstition, no Sinclair may, without fearful foreboding of evil, cross the Ord on a Monday; forty Sinclairs, led by the Earl of Caithness, having on that day ventured over the barrier on their way to the field of Flodden, where-with the exception of the drummer, who was dismissed before the battle began-all were cut down by the sword.—Ord. Sur., sh. 109, l878.

Ord through time

Ord is now part of Highland district. Click here for graphs and data of how Highland has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Ord itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ord, in Highland and Caithness | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 25th July 2024

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