The former Viking settlement of Wick is the principal town in the far north of the mainland.
The town sits astride the River Wick, stretching along both sides of Wick Bay, and holds the claim to fame of once being the busiest herring port in Europe in the mid 19th century. The remains of the Castle of Old Wick, often referred to as the Old Man of Wick, sits atop the edge of the cliffs about half a mile south of Wick Bay and overlooks the sea.
Around 3 miles north from Wick the dramatic 15th to 17th century ruins of Sinclair and Girnigoe castles rise steeply from a needle-thin promontory. There is a good clifftop walk to the castle via Noss Head Lighthouse from the tiny fishing village of Staxigoe. Visitors will encounter a wide selection of wildlife along the way including various species of seabirds and puffins and a beautiful scenic beach, popular for windsurfing and sand-yachting, awaits them at the end of Sinclair Bay.
The town’s story is told in the excellent Wick Heritage Centre in Bank Row, Pultneytown (Wick is actually two towns - Wick proper, and Pultneytown, immediately south across the river), which contains a fascinating array of artefacts from the old fishing days.