Sarclet, a historic fishing village, is now a small crofting and residential community 8 miles south of Wick in Caithness, in the Highlands of Scotland. The harbour area known as Sarclet Haven used to be used to land fish during the herring boom between the late 18th and early 20th century and as a harbour for the herring boats working out of Sarclet. Most of the houses are built around the main street that leads down to the harbour area.
The village of Sarclet was built to exploit the herring industry that fished in the North Sea and Pentland Firth with the harbour at Sarclet built for this purpose. Eventually too many boats used this haven for landing fish and boats started to be moored at Wick harbour. After one great storm the harbour and many boats at Sarclet were destroyed and this ended most of the fishing out from this Caithness harbour.
The fishing industry brought work to the area and the number of people around Sarclet was reliant on catching herring and laterally white fish along with the work associated with this industry, namely cleaning and preserving the herring by curing (salting), making the wooden barrows that the cured fish were kept in, along with mending and repairing the boats and nets. With fishing came risks and many fishermen died over the years when their boats were lost at sea, from Scarlet 6 men were lost in one night (out of a total of 9 crew and a skipper) when the boat Charlotte “WK327” went missing during a massive storm of 14th February 1893.
Today you can walk down to the harbour area and remember the poignant history and appreciate the wild beauty of the Caithness coastline. You will find the area rich in wildflowers, butterflies, bees and other insects. In the sea you can often observe seals enjoying themselves swimming around the haven, while seabirds fly around the cliffs.
Caves and the remains of buildings used in the herring and fishing industry from the 1800's remain at the harbour. The actual harbour no longer exists as it was destroyed in a storm that also destroyed part of the Wick harbour breakwater.