Drive between Wick and Thurso and you will pass Loch Watten. Isolated, green and flat, Caithness is a land of big skies. About three miles long, the loch is known to anglers for its brown trout. We turned off the main road at Watten and pulled into the small parking area that has a view north-west across the still water of the loch. This was a perfect serene place for our morning coffee stop, made even more ideal as I found a memorial bench here to sit on and enjoy that wide open view.
During the Second World War this remote place was chosen to imprison dangerous and high-profile Nazi prisoners of war. An old army barracks at Watten became Camp 165, the harsh surrounding landscape making escape almost impossible.
Today Loch Watten is a peaceful and glorious place to visit. This beautifully-placed bench by the parking area remembers Swati Datta, who sadly didn’t quite reach her 65th birthday.
I have found no reference to Swati Datta online but world renowned surgical academic, now retired, Mr Pradip Datta worked at Caithness General Hospital in nearby Wick. In 2008 he was awarded the prestigous Farquharson Award by the Royal College of Surgeons. Mr Pradip Datta developed a course for aspiring surgeons that students from across the world attended.
I wonder if Mr Pradip Datta and Swati Datta are related and if he still comes here to sit and remember her.