Castle of Old Wick, Caithness

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sun, 2009-11-22

Spectacular above water scenery, The “Brig O’ Trams” is a natural rock bridge connecting a sea stack to the cliff, another large stack is hollow in the centre and is through navigable with a small boat on a calm day.

Two boilers lie in the middle of the bay, to their north a cache of anchors can be found. Some small arms ammunition was dumped over the cliffs after the Second World War, this is still active and should not be touched!

The best places to go in North Caithness to watch seabirds are Duncansby Head, Dunnet Head, Holborn Head and Dunnet Bay (good for great northern divers) and in East Caithness Noss Head, The Castle of Old Wick, Lybster Harbour, Latheronwheel Harbour, Dunbeath and Berriedale (particularly for kittiwakes). This is a great coastal walk with amazing cliff scenery and masses of bird life all the way along it.

Castle of Old Wick is one of the oldest keeps in Scotland. It dates from the 12th century when the Norsemen ruled from the Orkneys. The Castle of Old Wick, known also as the Old Man of Wick was built in the 12th century when the Norwegian earldom of Orkney included Caithness, and was united under Earl Harald Maddadson. The castle is thought to have been his stronghold on the mainland of Britain. There is evidence that the site was occupied before the present castle was built.

All that remains today is a tall tower sitting on the very edge of the cliffs, about one kilometre (half a mile) south of Wick Bay and of the modern town of Wick, but originally the castle had at least 4 stories as well as extra buildings containing workshops and other quarters. ‘Castle of Old Wick’ (SDD nameplate) is as described by the previous authorities, and is now under guardianship. Steps lead seaward from Castle Walk, but the sea is inaccessible. The name ‘Old Man of Wick’ published by OS is erroneous, and probably confused with an unlocated natural feature in the vicinity.

All that remains today is a tall tower sitting on the very edge of the cliffs, about half a mile south of Wick Bay and of the modern town of Wick, but originally the castle had at least 4 stories as well as extra buildings containing workshops and other quarters.

Alternative Name(s) OLD MAN OF WICK, WIC 177; LORD OLIPHANT’S LEAP; CASTLE WALK; ‘AUL’ MAN O’ WICK’


Fig: Castle of Old Wick,
Boat or Wreck Diving

Fig: Castle of Old Wick
Historical Monument

‹ Brims Ness West, Caithness up Clett Rock, Caithness › Similar of ‘Castle of Old Wick, Caithness’

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