After a 160 year dispute among the churches of Wick, the parishes of Wick’s Old Parish Church and Bridge Street Church were reunited in 2007 to form the new Parish of St. Fergus. It will have its home at the former Old Parish Church which is known as St. Fergus Church. St. Fergus was an Irish monk who was a missionary in what would later become Caithness. Thus, he is Wick’s patron saint.
St. Fergus church was built in 1820, but earlier buildings on this site already existed in the 12th century. It is now Wick’s main church.
Despite the history of the new parish, St. Fergus chapel remains more interesting to me. It is a 13th century chapel which was left into decay. Together with the adjacent churchyard, it creates an atmosphere that can even top the most fallen down parts of Pulteneytown in “ghostlyness”. The chapel once contained an effigy of St. Fergus which was destroyed during the reformation. A replica is shown in Wick’s public library.
On the cliffs, around 1 ½ kilometres south of the town centre lie the ruins of Old Wick castle, often known under the nickname “Old Man of Wick”. Not much is left of the former castle, only the stump of a tower (once with the height of four stories) and a couple of stones remain in place. The castle was built by the Norsemen in the 12th century and changed ownership several times. John Sinclair captured it in 1569 and 200 years later fell into decay (probably, it was derelict in the 17th century already). A more detailed history can be found under the link below. At the site, here are two boards explaining the history of the castle and showing how it must have looked like. Entry is free – there are no ticket booths and the castle is open at any time of the day and year.
There are two paths leading to the castle. One possibility is to take the path on the cliffs which runs along the coast from the harbour (note: ON the cliffs, not directly at the coast). The other path runs south from the main graveyard, close to the retail centre. Be sure to have appropriate shoes with you, especially when the ground is wet and the stones become slippery (no high heels or flip-flops please). Both paths run through a zone which is adjacent to military grounds. In the rather unlikely case you see a red flag, please do not go further as that means that the army is training. A parking lot is located within a short walking distance of the castle, but don’t ask me which road leads there.