Staxigoe, Caithness

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

A natural harbour with a good slip, usable at most states of the tide.

Excellent place for a shake-down dive, sheltered yet full of encrusting life.

When the tide is in a stride entry is possible, just for fun of course!

The dramatic 15th to 17th-century ruins of Sinclair and Girnigoe castles rise steeply from a needle-thin promontory three miles north of Wick. There’s a good clifftop walk to the castles via Noss Head lighthouse from the tiny fishing village of Staxigoe and out to sea. You’ll encounter seabirds, including puffins, and come across the beautiful Sinclair Bay beach, popular for windsurfing and sand-yachting.

Fig: Staxigoe diving

At one time, Staxigoe was the largest, “herring station” in Europe and the industry created work for the gutters, coopers, basket and sail-makers, carpenters and not least, the fishermen themselves. In the early days, as many as 50 boats could anchor in Staxigoe harbour. Gradually, boats got bigger and became mechanised by steam, and a safe haven was needed for the bigger boats, somewhere along the rocky windswept coast. the government provided money for just such a project, but after a bit of political manoeuvering, Wick was chosen as the port in which the new harbour would be built. Small boats formerly pulled up and ran back and forth to larger ships anchored further out. Today small creel and pleasure boats still use the small pier.

Fig: Staxigoe – Shore Dive – Sub-Aqua Diving in Caithness

and Sutherland


The village of Staxigoe is located on the east coast of Caithness district, 2 miles (3 km) east of Wick, Highland Council. From Wick follow the A99 north from the town centre and take the road signposted to Staxigoe. As you come into the village of Staxigoe there is a T-junction. Turn right here and follow the road round to the harbour, where the walk starts. There are occasional buses here from Wick.


Highland Municipal Council
Contact Person: Mr Alec Jappy, Helmsdale Harbour Master

Telephone no: 01431 821692

Fig: Sub-Aqua Diving in Staxigoe
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