Civic leader dumbfounded over castle climber
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THE image of a man climbing the historic ruin of the Castle of Old Wick led to an outpouring of local anger and disappointment when it was shared in a recent article online.
Photographs were taken by Derek Bremner from Wick of a figure ascending a wall of the 12th century castle that he alleges was a tourist on the North Coast 500 with a group of friends.
In a Facebook group called Wick Worthies, Richard Macleod said: "More should be done on Historic Scotland's part to secure the structure and prevent this happening."
Gordy Harper from Wick wrote: "Its crazy what some people do we need to be looking after things and places like this."
Linda Whyte said they're "not the sort of tourists that we want" while Tommy Wright Angling wrote that "if that idiot falls and breaks his legs he better not run to me for sympathy".
Caithness civic leader Willie Mackay said on seeing the photo: “Why, oh why would anyone want to risk life and limb in climbing this historical local monument, endangering themselves and further destruction of this famous landmark, is beyond me.
"They may be qualified rock climbers or enthusiasts of some sort but this is ridiculous. They have no right to encourage danger on themselves or others which could lead to valuable rescue services being directed to the Castle Of Old Wick should an impending incident arise."
A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (Hes) – custodians of the ancient castle – said: “We’re disappointed to see someone climbing on the Castle of Old Wick and putting themselves and others at risk. Not only is climbing the castle, which is on the edge of a sea cliff, extremely dangerous but it can also cause damage to the scheduled monument which is a heritage crime.
“We all have a responsibility to help protect our past by respecting our precious historic sites and how they are cared for.
“We would ask that any member of the public with information regarding any such incident reports it to Police Scotland.”
The Hes spokesperson also mentioned the vandalism to a nearby gate that was captured in another photograph by Derek Bremner.
"The gate is part of the core path network and we would encourage anyone with any further information on this to get in touch with Police Scotland.”