To Noss Head

It’s a long five hour drive from home to Wick, but after setting out early this morning I washappy to be looking out over its harbour before 9 a.m. The long days of June encourage meto do such daft things!

Actually, it wasn’t Wick that I’d come all this way to see, but rather to have a walk fromStaxigoe a couple miles further north. At one time, Staxigoe was the largest herring stationin Europe. Today, the “Silver Darlings” have gone and its tiny harbour lies empty.

After sitting in the car for so long it felt great to be out on my feet making my way northalong the coast towards the lighthouse on Noss Head. Many of the places hereabouts haveNorse roots to their names going back to the days when the Norsemen ruled the roost. Wick comes from their “Vik” meaning a Bay and Noss, “Snos” – meaning a nose.

Close to Stevenson’s lighthouse stands one of the most impressively sited castles inScotland. Rising from the vertical cliffs of a high sandstone peninsula set between two geos,Castle Sinclair Girnigoe’s roots go back more than six centuries.

It looks out over the widesweep of Sinclair’s Bay and away to the most north-easterly point on the mainland atDuncansby Head.

This is indeed Sinclair country and what tales of grandeur, greed and treachery this oldstronghold can tell. You could, and I did, spend quite a while here listening to these storiescarried in the wind.