The derivation of this place name is obscure. ”Wick” means an inlet or creek; but the prefix causes difficulty. Some authorities hold that “Har” comes from a mispronunciation, originally Norse, of the river's name (Ooyre). Others maintain it is a corruption of ”Haroldswick”. The second is more likely, for the probability is that King Harald the Black frequently used it on journeys between Sodor and Man.
There is a myth that Vikings planned to plunder Harwick during the sixth century, but were converted to Christianity by Saint Machan in awe of his fearlessness. It is most likely false - Vikings did not begin raiding Sodor until the eighth century.
The Ogmundsaga records that King Godred Crovan chose Harwick in 1079 as the embarkation point for his troops when he conquered Man. A Norman army landed here in 1094, but were beaten off by Jarl Sigmund. Harwick was rebuilt and refortified, and regular watch was kept from the heights of Cregwir and Claghooyre during the whole times of the Kingdom and the Regency (1099-1404). Harwick appeared to offer a convenient "backdoor" approach to Peel Godred, but the valley behind was so rough and boulder strewn that it gave abundant cover for the ambushing of an invading force. Those who tried it once rarely had the temerity to do it again. Even the Roundheads, with all their determination, got no further than Droghan-y-Claghan. In their case a flood was let loose from Loey Machan which caught them in that narrow gorge and swept them, horse, foot and guns, back to the sea. "Saint Machan," claim Sudrians, "always looks after his own."
During the 18th Century, Harwick, through its isolation, became a haunt of smugglers who, like those at Tidmouth, alternated as fishermen. The northern coast was ideal for their purpose, and Man was close at hand. The valley of the Ooyre is honeycombed with caves in which cargoes could be hidden and transferred secretly one to another should the need arise. The "Trade" continued well on into the 19th Century.
Great poverty resulted from its final suppression, but by the 1850s it was hoped that a railway - The Cronk and Harwick - would provide honest work, and help to solve the problem. A fine new pier was built with stone quarried in the valley, and some 12 miles of track laid as far as Cregwir before the money ran out. The line was horse worked, and though this and other quarries remained in production till the 1950's, the railway had long since worn out; it was pulled up for scrap during the Second World War. In 1915, and again in 1940, a small naval base was established at Harwick from which the north and west coasts of the Island were patrolled.
The Little Western was originally planned to reach Harwick, as a strategic railway for the Admiralty, but by the time the line had reached Arlesburgh, the immediate threat had passed, and the extension was dropped. A rail link with Arlesburgh was again proposed in the 1940's, but yet again deemed unnecessary, for it was found that Sodor Roadways could provide adequate transport both for stores and personnel.
The town remains a small one - population 5869 (1981). There are a Lighthouse, a Lifeboat station and a Coastguard Establishment here. It remains a fishing port, and in the 1980's a private firm begun a Ferry Service to and from Ramsey, with return trips twice daily in Summer, and three days a week in Winter. Harwick has also become a holiday resort of a special kind. It lies off the Tourist Track, and is only given brief mention in the Guide Books. This casts no aspersion, but is deliberate policy. Harwick thus remains a place where Sudrians can enjoy a Summer Holiday in their own Island without finding themselves crowded off the beaches by visitors from overseas.
The North Western Railway built a branch line from Arlesburgh up to Harwick. The town is a popular holiday resort and tourists are brought here by Daisy. The station consists of four platforms, with the station building located behind.
- Season 20 - Ryan and Daisy, The Way She Does It and The Railcar and the Coaches
- Season 21 - Springtime for Diesel, A Most Singular Engine, P.A. Problems, Philip's Number (mentioned) and Daisy's Perfect Christmas
- Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure (mentioned)
- The station building is the small section from Maithwaite with minor modifications.
- In "Ryan and Daisy", another landmass was situated opposite Harwick. As it was removed in subsequent episodes, it is likely it was a section of Sodor that was incorrectly placed there.