Ancient Monuments

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Sarclet, fishing station 135m east of Brodie House

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.3732 / 58°22'23"N

Longitude: -3.1118 / 3°6'42"W

OS Eastings: 335063

OS Northings: 943282

OS Grid: ND350432

Mapcode National: GBR L6PL.M6Q

Mapcode Global: WH6DV.5SFY

Entry Name: Sarclet, fishing station 135m E of Brodie House

Scheduled Date: 13 January 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13643

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: dock, harbour, lock

Location: Wick/Wick

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is a fishing station built for the herring trade between 1828 and 1844 by the Thrumster Estate. The herring station is located at sea level in a small, sheltered, steep-sided cove.

The herring station comprises a well-preserved two storey building, referred to as the curing house, measuring approximately 15.5m by 7m, standing to the wall-head. Adjacent is a near complete structure housing a fresh water spring with a neighbouring stone platform and related terrace. The original winch mechanism and capstan are sited on the stone platform at the head of the cove. A levelled and cut track leads down into the cove from the village above. The track continues along the west and south of the site, supported in places by a substantial dry-stone revetment up to fifteen courses in height, leading to the remains of a cambered slipway. There are traces of paved areas and the head of another slipway running across the width of the cove. All structures, slipways, paving and retaining walls are constructed from local rubble masonry with roughly worked dressing to the windows and doors.

The scheduled area is irregular in shape and includes the two storey building and adjacent structure with associated slipways, paved areas, retaining walls and a section of access track. The scheduled area extends to the Mean Low Water Springs mark, 1m either side of the access track, 1m to the west of the track as it passes the structures and the scheduled area follows the foot of the steep-slopes to the south of the site as depicted in red in the accompanying map.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the growth of the herring fishing industry in Caithness and Scotland during the 19th century. The herring fishery, which first developed in Caithness, was to grow into a major export industry for Scotland and by the late 19th century, the Scottish fishing industry was the largest in Europe. It is a well-preserved site, notable for the survival in excellent condition of a two storey building, adjacent structure housing a fresh water spring, in-situ winch and capstan and related slipways. Its significance is further enhanced by its location within close proximity of the sites of other fishing stations along the Caithness coast. The surviving historical records, in the form of plans and financial accounts, enhance our appreciation and understanding of this important site. The fishing station at Sarclet represents a key site for enhancing our knowledge of a resource which was often re-used and redeveloped or subject to abandonment followed by complete collapse and ruin due to marine erosion. As a little-altered example of a herring fishing station, the loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the development and operation of the fishing industry, with emphasis on herring, in Caithness and across Scotland during the 19th century.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 8981.

Highland Council HER reference MHG 1936.

Original plans and Fishery Board documents held by Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther with remote access via Scran: (originally accessed 11/05/2015) (originally accessed 11/05/2015) (originally accessed 11/05/2015) (originally accessed 11/05/2015)

Coull, J (1996). The Sea Fisheries of Scotland: A Historical Geography. John Donald Publishers ltd., Edinburgh.

Graham, A and Gordon, J (1987), Old Harbours in Northern and Western Scotland , Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 117, 265-352.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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