A new memorial to lost Highland seafarers has been unveiled in Wick.

The Seafarers Memorial, designed by Scottish sculptor Alan Beattie Herriot, commemorates those lost to the sea from WK-registered vessels.

The memorial, which stands 5m tall, depicts a figure with one hand raised holding a haddock, and the other pointing to depictions below of lost fishermen. It honours those lost from along a section of coastline stretching from Portmahomack up to Stroma, and across to Port Vasco.

Wick’s new memorial was unveiled at a ceremony last month. (Photo: Douglas Cowie)

A large crowd gathered at the town’s Braehead for the unveiling, including invited guests and members of the public. The ceremony featured speeches, seafaring songs, a poem and a specially composed pipe tune.

The Seafarers Memorial Group, founded five years ago with the aim of funding a ‘long overdue’ memorial, raised more than £100,000 for the project.

The group’s treasurer, Allan Tait, told Fishing News. “The support for the project has been overwhelming, with organisations, businesses and individuals all contributing generously to reach the £110,000 target.

“Alan Herriot was commissioned after a competition to design the memorial, and the statue erected has exceeded all expectations. The response from everyone that has seen the memorial looking over Wick Bay has been overwhelmingly positive.”

On the north coast of Scotland, with its long history of seafaring, Wick in particular was built on the fishing industry, and was regarded as the herring capital of Europe during the 1800s. However, the wealth provided by the sea came at a cost, with countless losses of life including the ‘Black Saturday’ disaster in 1848 when 37 lives were lost in Wick Bay.

Speaking at the unveiling, the group’s chairman Willie Watt described the monument as ‘our angel of the far north’.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here. (Main image credit: Gordon Miller)

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