It dawned a beautiful day and it was a pleasure to stroll around the old harbour there and marvel at the size of some of the flagstones paving the harbour. Everything there was made of stone even the bollards for securing the ships were made of stone, the benches along the shore front were stone, and the harbour walls were made from stacks of flagstones.
There is a huge complex of old buildings which were involved in this massive industry who's heyday spanned from 1814 to 1914, when the increasing use of concrete killed the demand for flagstone and the plant closed. Previously flagstones from the harbour at Castlehill were shipped as far away as Sydney, Calcutta and Montevideo, and around 500 people were employed.
Early Morning View from Thebus' Window
CASTLETOWN TO PULTENEYTOWN
Harbour wall built of massive flagstone blocks
Incidentally - that's a piece of seaweed dropped by a gull, not a you know what!
Are these the biggest flagstones you have ever seen?
Phoebe by harbour wall
Massive Stone Bollards for tying up ships
Far Headland through sea haze
Although I had visited Wick once already I hadn't really looked round the town as being so foggy I wanted to get to Inver before dark, and now I was so far north again I thought it was worth a second look, especially now I had learned a little more of its history. Plus the Whisky Distillery there had been named the Worlds Best Whisky in 2012, and as they did tours I thought a visit was in order.
Arriving in Wick we pulled up alongside a small sort of lawned park area with a Victorian Bandstand, and wonderful views out over the harbour, and I cooked myself a steak sandwich as the distillery only conducted two tours a day, one at eleven, far too early to drink whisky and one at two, still too early but not quite so bad. So I thought that something substantial as a stomach liner was called for.
Looking out over Wick Bay and Harbour
Thebus parked up in Wick
The cheaper tour included a tasting of their twelve year old whisky, but for a little more you could sample the twelve, the seventeen year old, and the world beating twenty one year old, and in anycase I think a comparative tasting is far more interesting. Of course this was all decided in advance, and on the warm day that I visited three tots of whisky just after lunch was about two and a half tots too many.
I imagined there would be a group of us, but all the others had opted for the single tasting, so alone in splendour I drank three whiskies. With no-one to discuss them with and nothing to eat with them I think I drank them far too quickly. At the end when the tour guide came back to me I could hear her speaking but the words meant nothing. Thankfully I could just spend the night in Thebus, well afternoon and night actually as I was good for nothing except a lie down. Though I did manage a walk round the harbour in the evening.
Wick Fog Cannon - Very necessary in the area I think!
Pulteney Whisky Distillery, and my excellent and well informed tour guide