Brief History

Huna is likely to have been an important sheltered port from Norse times and it has been suggested that it equates to Hofn, the burial place in 980AD of Hlodvar Thorfinnsson the Norse Earl of Orkney. In ‘Placenames of Canisbay, Caithness, Huna is described as:

A crofting township two miles west from John o’ Groat’s, situated at the foot of the Mool Hill. Bordered on the west side by the burn of Huna, and on the east side by the Ness of Huna, a small crest–like peninsula which terminates in a beach. On Huna links are the remains of a Picts’ village and several burial cairns. It is supposed to be the burial place of earl HlQðver , who, the saga states, was buried at HQfn in Katanes, about 975. The haven of Huna is a sandy beach. O.N. hQfn > ham in Orkney and Shetland, and there is a Ham in Dunnet adjoining an earth-house. Myrkkol, now Murkle, where HlQðver’s brother, earl Arnfinnr, lived, is much nearer Ham than Huna. In Caithness charter, 1574 , Hwnaye; 1777 Houna. Cf. Huney in Shetland, O.N. Húna-ey, the island of a man Húni. O.N. *Húna-á, the burn of Húni. Cosmo Innes in Orig. Par. Scot. suggested, “Huna appears to be the Hofn where earl Hlodver was buried” – a suggestion which apparently arose from an impossible derivation.

John o’ Groat (Jan de Grot) ran a ferry from Huna to Orkney c1500 and a mail service between Huna and South Ronaldsay began in 1819.

Over the last 2000 years Huna has been owned as a part of the greater area of Caithness under wider ownership such as the Pictish Kingdoms and later the Estates of Mey. The possibility of individual ownership of land and property within Huna and nearby townships didn’t occur until 1952 when the estates of Mey were broken up and sold by Captain Fredrick Bouhier Imbert-Terry, including the sale of individual crofts within Huna.

Approximate Dates Owners Notes
25 – 871 AD Kingdom of Cat (Cait), Pictish Kingdom Kingdom Waned from 697AD After the death of King Taran mac Entifidich
871 AD – Unknown Wider Pictish Kingdom  
Unknown Norse Kingdoms possible burial place in 980AD of Hlodvar Thorfinnsson the Norse Earl of Orkney
Unknown Earls of Orkney (Norway) Caithness Disputed as part of Norway and Scotland
Unknown Bishops of Caithness As part of the Bishoprics of King David 1st
1334 – 1335 Earls of Caithness (1st Creation) Forfeited to the Crown
1335 – 1375 Scottish Crown  
1375 – 1437 Earls of Caithness (2nd Creation) Awarded to Son of Robert II of Scotland later Forfeited by 3rd Earl
1437 – 1452 Scottish Crown  
1452 – August 1454 George Crichton Earls of Caithness (3rd Creation) Passed to Crown by Agreement upon death [1]
August 1454 – 1455 Scottish Crown  
1455 – 1889 1st – 15th Earls of Caithness (4th Creation) Grant unto William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness Builder of Rosslyn Chapel
1889 Mr F.G. Heathcote (Sinclair) Estate of Mey Bequeathed by 15th Earl of Caithness
Unknown Captain Fredrick Bouhier Imbert-Terry Purchased the Estates of Mey from the widow of Mr F.G Heathcote (Sinclair)
1952 Individual Ownership Mey Estate broken up and sold including Castle of Mey and Crofts of Huna