Who Said What about Wick? 

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Certainly Wick in itself possesses no beauty: bare, grey shores, grim grey houses, grim grey sea; not even the gleam of red tiles; not even the greenness of a tree. The southerly heights, when I came here, were black with people, fishers waiting on wind and night. Now all the S.Y.S. (Stornoway boats) have beaten out of the bay, and the Wick men stay indoors or wrangle on the quays with dissatisfied fish-curers, knee-high in brine, mud, and herring refuse. The day when the boats put out to go home to the Hebrides, the girl here told me there was ‘a black wind’; and on going out, I found the epithet as justifiable as it was picturesque. A cold, BLACK southerly wind, with occasional rising showers of rain; it was a fine sight to see the boats beat out a-teeth of it. —-Robert Louis Stevenson, in a letter to his mother in 1868


The herring fishing has increased the wealth, but also the wickedness…There is a great consumption of spirits, there being 22 public houses in Wick and 23 in Pulteneytown. Seminaries of Satan and Belial. —-Rev Charles Thomson, 1840

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Camps Bar Wick
Crown of the Wick Herring Queen

Crown of the Wick Herring Queen

The streets are full of the Highland fishers, lubberly, stupid, inconceivably lazy and heavy to move. You bruise against them, tumble over them, elbow them against the wall — all to no purpose; they will not budge; and you are forced to leave the pavement every step. ——Robert Louis Stevenson, in a letter to his mother in 1868

Wick spreads grey and uncompromising around the head of Wick Bay. It is the most northernly town on the east coast of Britain…and makes few concessions to the picturesque. Yet it has a fascination not uncommon in this bleak northeast corner of Scotland: the frequent drama of high skies over flattish, largely treeless, land, and impressive cliff and rock scenery along the coast…Its biggest tourist attraction, it is said, is a factory - The Caithness Glass Works—where beautifully designed hand-blown glassware, known far beyond Scotland, is produced. —-The Scottish Highlands, John A. Lister, 1978, John Bartholomew & Son Limited

Caithness boggy landscape around Wick a favorite with new-age settlers

Caithness boggy landscape around Wick a favorite with new-age settlers

If you go to Wick…

See Venture North’s local guide to Wick history and attractions