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Wick Youth Club  

Lantern Procession
‘Wick, A light in the North’
(after the words of Caithness author Neil Gunn)

On Saturday evening, 11 September 2004, over a thousand people turned out to watch and follow a spectacular community procession through out Pulteneytown and ending out at South Head Quarry, which was organised by Wick Youth Club and Lower Pulteneytown Townscape Heritage Initiative Management Committee. This procession marks the final stage in the permanent display of the Community Public Arts project, “New Media Meets Old” in Telford Street with the switching on of two new media artworks created by commissioned artist Tamsin Williams and young people in Wick.

All summer young people aging from six years and upwards made over 100 willow candle-lit lanterns assisted by performance artist Kay Smith who was based at Wick Youth Club. Drummer Stuart Dinwoodie and dance instructor Carol Webster worked with all four primary schools preparing the children for their part in the procession.

Two Professional fire twirlers from Canada led the procession followed by over 250 children walking along the streets lined with flags and people. As the procession grew nearer to the South Head Quarry small fires lit the route of the newly improved coastal path leading to the quarry, which supplied all the stone for the construction of Lower Pulteneytown in the nineteenth century (Famous engineer Thomas Telford was the brains behind the creation of what was the world’s first industrial estate, which served the herring fishing industry).

A fantastic pyrotechnic display, a burning herring Queen emblem created by Kay Smith and her team, lit the mild night sky accompanied by a firework spectacle as the finale.

The night also marked the completion of phase one of South Head Quarry Path, funded by Forward Scotland and carried out by ILM (the intermediate labour market training organisation) with artworks by Sally Orr and barrel creation by Fin Macrae and Brodie.

Robert Louis Stevenson eat your heart out
“As for Wick itself, it is one of the meanest of bays. It lives for herring, and a strange sight to see (of an afternoon) the heights of Pulteney blackened by seaward-looking fishers, as when a city crowds to a review-or, as when bees have swarmed, the ground is horrible with lumps and clusters: and a strange sight, and a beautiful, to see the fleet put silently out against a rising moon, the sea-line rough as a wood with sails, and even and again and one after another, a boat flitting swiftly by the silver disk”
Stevenson lived part of his childhood in Wick whilst is father built the ill fated breakwater.

Sue Jane Taylor
Lead Artist
THI Lower Pulteneytown Regeneration Project