stone

From The Quarry To Your Door...

If you find yourself surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Caithness whether you are driving round the North Coast 500, on route to Orkney or just here to enjoy the local culture, you may notice something that appears almost everywhere you look. Caithness flagstone.

Norse Stone Caithness Flagstone

Buildings are clad in it, walkways are paved in it, fireplace hearths are furnished with it and the endless rolling fields that make up the countryside are enclosed by large vertical slabs of it. Caithness flagstone is literally everywhere! Having it everywhere gives the impression that it is an easily accessible material and you could almost be forgiven for thinking so as well but the raw material used to produce these unmistakeable stone products first have to be extracted from the earth below our feet.

Every kind of stone has different properties and that means the extraction processes can have differences from stone to stone as well. Caithness flagstone is extracted from a 3m high bed which is quarried in 16 individual layers. These layers are then split into flagstones, cut to shape and finished to produce Norse Stone’s stunning product range. Sounds straight forward, right?

Recently we have been opening new sections in both our Lieurary and Banniskirk quarries but it’s not as easy as just picking any old spot and lifting the first layer of stone, we have to find the stone and dig down to it first! Reinforcements, in the form of Alan Gows Groundworks, have been on hand to help with this stage. Luckily we already knew where to dig, but it still took a joint effort and 1 week of hard graft to lift 4m of overburden (or top soil) to get down to the first layer of the flag bed.

Norse Stone Caithness Flagstone

With the flagstone layer now in sight, it’s time for the Norse Stone team to individually extract and sort each layer of stone before it is brought into our workshop and made into the wonderful items you see across our website, social media and brochures. With so many products to choose from that are suitable for a wide range of projects, the only question left is which would you choose?

Perfect Paving

Spring is finally upon us and that means it’s time to start planning those home improvements and design projects. For a lot of architects, urban designers and homeowners, that means looking outdoors and changing a drab, unused and uninviting space into a contemporary, relaxing environment perfect for spending those long summer evenings. One of the most popular ways of achieving this is using paving and that instantly starts the debate of which paving material is best to use. That’s where Norse Stone can help as our Caithness Flagstones and its natural properties are known worldwide and as such is considered one of the best paving materials. Don’t believe us? Have a look below and see why you should choose Caithness Flagstone for all your paving needs starting with our own Ugly Duckling story - The patio version!

(There once was an ugly patio with slabs all worn and brown....)

(There once was an ugly patio with slabs all worn and brown....)

As you can see from the before pictures, this outdoor space was in need of some TLC. The existing patio slabs were well used and passed their best with several cracked. Fast forward after some thoughtful planning and a lot of hard work and you have the finished result below.

(Say who’s an ugly patio? Not I! Not I!)

(Say who’s an ugly patio? Not I! Not I!)

Using a variety of sizes and shapes of Caithness Flagstone, and some gravel for contrasting colour and texture, the once unloved space is transformed into a modern outdoor retreat!

Of course, it’s not just small residential areas than can benefit from using this natural material, Norse Stone has collaborated on commercial paving projects as well. If you find yourself indulging in some retail therapy at the Glasgow Fort shopping centre, you only need to look down to find you are walking on our stunning  Riven paving. On your way to the Isle of Skye? Well, surrounding the Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments, and overlooking views of the castle itself, is an eye-catching selection of crazy paving from our Banniskirk quarry.

Glasgow Fort shopping centre (left) and Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments (right)

Glasgow Fort shopping centre (left) and Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments (right)

No matter the size of project, our stone can adapt to suit the new environment but why should you chose Caithness Flagstone over other paving materials?

As early as the 18th century, the Caithness flagstone industry exported from the North Highlands of Scotland, where this iconic stone is quarried, to destinations all over the world including New York, USA and Sydney, Australia. Even the streets of Boston, which were commonly said to be paved with Gold, were in fact paved with Caithness flagstone. To this day the original stones are still lining the streets with many walls and buildings around Caithness showing off stone dating back 200 years. This combination of durability and strength comes from the stone naturally forming over 370 million years ago. Even in comparison with some of the most popular UK and imported paving materials, Caithness Flagstones combination of strength and durability shines through.

Caithness flagstone comparison

So when you decide it’s time for your outdoor space to receive a facelift and turn it into a beautiful outdoor extension of your home, workspace or commercial project, make sure Caithness Flagstone is at the top of your wish list.

Get in touch with the Norse Stone team to order a sample and discuss your requirements.