Wick is a very old town at the mouth of the Wick River. I you will check on your map of Caithness, you will see the city lies immediately South of Noss Head, and that the river goes through to Wick Bay, emptying into the North Sea at that Point.
Archeologists have discovered that early man was present in the area, probably because of the supply of year-round water, closeness to the sea and it's abundant food source, and livable if not comfortable weather conditions year round. More recently, fisherfolk and crofters made up the population, which was under the influence of Stone Age men, becoming a Pict stronghold, then under Norse domination for many years before becoming a part of Scotland.
Wick became a Royal Burgh in the reign of Scottish kings, and to this day only Wick and Thurso on the West Coast are little larger than they were in their fishing village heyday. You will find both places listed in any modern encyclopedia for statistical information
Because the port areas of Wick and Thurso were so important to fishing and shipping over the centuries, they were of prime interest to cultures which needed those facilities. Because the lands between are comparatively level and rich, they have supported family and local market crop levels throughout the decades .
The Sinclairs probably were attracted to that portion of the mainland we now know as county Caithness because their Norse ancestors spent many a year visiting all of these bays and taking on whichever peoples were living there at the time. The ruling Danes in the Orkneys and what was called Caithness were Sinclair ancestors. This has been covered in several books and in contributions to this net. A Sinclair was the first Earl of Caithness, and the remnants of the seat of this line is called Girnigoe-Sinclair Castle. The present Earl of Caithness, Malcom Caithness is a Sinclair of course, and much has been made about his involvement in the recent 600th Anniversary and the forthcoming year 2000 celebration in the summer of 2000. This is a really well-covered subject, and a bit of poking around on this net will give you even more than you really want, I'm sure. Have fun.
The first thing the traveler notices by car or train in Caithness is that the land is green with growth, but has no large trees or forests. There is a lot of water, with large and small lochs all over the county. The landscape , especially to the South and North is dominated by terrain features that break up the flatness of the land between the two towns, each on it's unique section of coastline. All of the coastal stretches overlooking the Orkney Isles are rugged and very picturesque. There are several excellent salmon streams coming down from the Southern maountain ranges.
The towns are quiet, well-ordered and clean. Because of the cold and wind in certain seasons, the building styles seem to me to be more like those in the Northeastern U.S. The hotels in Wick and Thurso are not "modern" in the U.S. sense, but are very comfortable and clean. Most new construction uses material and appliances which are British-made and Americans may not find them familiar, but I never found one that doesn't give service once you learn how they work.
To get a flavor of Caithness, try:
There's obviously a lot more than I can remember right now, but if you have any specific questions, respond to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope this was some help. Yours Aye, Ray Lower