Watten, Highland

Coordinates: 58°28′31″N 3°18′03″W / 58.47526°N 3.3008°W / 58.47526; -3.3008
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Watten Parish Church
Watten is located in Caithness
Location within the Caithness area
OS grid referenceND242544
Council area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWick
Postcode districtKW1
List of places
58°28′31″N 3°18′03″W / 58.47526°N 3.3008°W / 58.47526; -3.3008

Watten (Scottish Gaelic: Bhatan) is a small village in Caithness, in the Highland area of Scotland, on the main road (A882-A9) between the burgh of Wick and the town of Thurso,[1] about twelve kilometres (eight miles) west of Wick and close to Wick River and to Loch Watten. The village is on The Far North railway line but trains stopped calling at the village in 1960. The railway station is now a private house.

The village is within the parish of Watten, which has the parish of Bower to the north, that of Wick to the east, that of Latheron to the south and that of Halkirk to the west.

Loch Watten is the largest body of water in Caithness. The name of the village and loch appear to come from the Old Norse Vatn, meaning water or lake,[2] and the loch is famous for its brown trout fishing. [citation needed] The local public house is also named "The Brown Trout" after the local produce.

Prisoner of war camp[edit]

A military camp was built in Watten during World War II, in early 1943, and at the end of the war this became POW Camp 165.[3] This had been described as "Britain's most secretive prisoner of war camp" because many prominent Nazis were moved there from POW Camp 21 at Comrie in Perthshire.[4][5] These prisoners included Gunter d'Alquen, Himmler's chief propagandist, leading U-boat captain Otto Kretschmer, dubbed the "Wolf of the Atlantic", and SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche, one of Hitler's top aides. The camp closed in 1948.

Notable people[edit]

Watten was the birthplace of Alexander Bain, inventor of a type of pendulum-regulated electric clock and the fax machine. Bain is commemorated by a carved stone monument outside the village hall. The fax machine is referred to on this monument as "The Electric Printing Telegraph".


  1. ^ "Scothighlands - Drive from Thurso to Wick, Scotland". www.scothighlands.com. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  2. ^ Horne, John (1907). The County of Caithness. Wick: W. Rae. p. 43. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS (1939 – 1948), English Heritage 2003
  4. ^ Camp 165 Watten Scotland's Most Secretive Prisoner of War Camp, Valerie Campbell, Whittles Publishing 2008, ISBN 978-1-904445-60-9
  5. ^ New book provides insight into Watten POW camp, John O'Groat Journal 14 December 2007

External links[edit]

Media related to Watten, Highland at Wikimedia Commons