Unveiling on the Seafarers Memorial, Wick Published on 22nd May 2023

Crowds gathered during the unveiling ceremony of the Seafarers Memorial at the Braehead, Wick, this weekend 20 May 2023. The ceremony celebrated the culmination of a five-year campaign to raise more than £100,000 for a sculpture honouring all those lost at sea from, or in the WK registration area – stretching from Talmine in the west across to Stroma and down as far as Golspie.

There were speeches, pipe band, seafaring songs, a poem and a specially composed pipe tune and 10 local vessels formed a flotilla in Wick Bay, as invited guests and members of the public gathered around the towering bronze figure.

Sculptor Alan Beattie Herriot, one of Scotland’s leading figurative sculptors, was commissioned to create the monument. Alan was selected from a short list of five artists and his design was revealed at a public meeting in the town in June 2022. Standing five metres high at Wick's Braehead, looking across the harbour and bay, the bronze figure will symbolise how the sea "gives with one hand and takes away with the other".

The statue stands on top of a stainless-steel base plinth, and panels at the base of the column feature figures of sea users from past and present in bas-relief. The statue is surrounded by five lecterns with tops detailing different maritime themes. Three of these were designed by pupils at Wick High School. The base of the column is surrounded by Caithness stone slabs that are engraved with details of Black Saturday. A place of reflection and remembrance, the memorial also has four Caithness stone benches, two with backs detailing all the harbours and fishing stations in the WK vessel registration area.

Willie Watt, chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Group, accepts a cheque for £20,710 from Kayleigh Nicolson, vice-chairperson of the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund. Picture: Alan Hendry

The Caithness and North Sutherland Fund was delighted to support the fundraising efforts of the Seafarers Memorial Group with a grant award of £20,710. A cheque was presented to chairman Willie Watt, by CNSF vice-chairperson Kayleigh Nicolson, who commented: “We at the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund were absolutely delighted to support the Seafarers Memorial Group in putting the memorial together. It's just stunning the way it has turned out. It's going to be a focal point for the community. It really draws the eye. It's wonderful the way it looks like it has just come up from the sea.”

The full report can be viewed online here