The name Wick comes from the Norse word, Vik meaning bay. Into this bay flows the River Wick which the Vikings used as a harbour for their longboats and trading vessels.
Wick in Scotland was granted the title of Royal Burgh in 1589. However, it was in the 1800s that Wick enjoyed its greatest prosperity as a thriving herring port, in time becoming the busiest in Europe.
Work to enable the development of the huge seasonal herring fishing first began in 1803 under the auspices of the British Fisheries Society. By the time trade at Wick peaked around 1900 there was a fleet 1120-strong.
A hidden gem in Wick is Lower Pulteneytown overlooking the harbour. Today, it is the most complete example of Thomas Telford’s planning genius. The layout was inspired by the architecture of Bath. The 1811 plans for the village are held by Wick Heritage Society and clearly show that Telford designed Lower Pulteneytown as a self-contained fishing community, with houses and accommodation for the huge migrant population following the herring fleets.
Wick is also in the Guiness Book of Records for having the shortest street in the world. Ebenezer Place is just 2.06 metres (6ft 9in) in length. The street is one end of the Mackays Hotel. Built in 1883 by Alexander Sinclair who returned to Scotland having made his fortune in America, the then council insisted Sinclair put a name on the short end of the building as they deemed it a street.