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Time to 'start afresh' on Wick Soldiers' Tower renovation


By Alan Hendry

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The Soldiers’ Tower at the North Head, photographed in February this year. Community council chairperson Joanna Coghill described the monument as 'iconic to the entrance to Wick from the sea'. Picture: Alan Hendry
The Soldiers’ Tower at the North Head, photographed in February this year. Community council chairperson Joanna Coghill described the monument as 'iconic to the entrance to Wick from the sea'. Picture: Alan Hendry

Community councillors hope that a Wick historic monument refurbishment project can be given a fresh start.

The Soldiers’ Tower at the North Head remains surrounded by fencing, with "keep out" signs attached, after plans to restore the structure were delayed.

It was constructed in 1909 in honour of soldiers from Caithness who had served their country in conflicts including Trafalgar, Waterloo and the Peninsular and Boer wars.

The local branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS) owns the tower, situated above Wick Bay, having purchased the title deeds from the Hempriggs Estate for £1 in early 2017. A ceremony took place later that year to mark the start of work at the monument, which might otherwise have faced demolition.

At the March meeting of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council, held online, chairperson Joanna Coghill said it was time to “start afresh" on the project and offer some help to the Legion branch.

“It upsets me every time I go past and it must really upset people who live near there," Mrs Coghill said.

“I really want to see if we, as a community council, can push this along and help the Royal British Legion in any way with this war memorial.

“It’s iconic to the entrance to Wick from the sea. Everybody can see it round the town and it’s on the John O’Groats Trail. I just want to get that fencing down and get it sorted.”

Community council member Frances Purves, who is secretary of the Wick, Canisbay and Latheron RBLS branch, said: “The building is safe and watertight. I’ve been trying to get funding so that we can finish the final phase.”

The community council agreed to write to the Legion branch chairman, Alex Paterson, offering to help with paperwork and with gathering quotes to try and get the work finished.

In April 2019 it was estimated that funding of around £100,000 would be needed to complete the renovation.


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