Thurso | Caithness

Thurso, mainland Scotland's most northerly town - Castle, Sandy Beach, Harbour and Riverside Walks

Thurso is the most northernly town on the Scotland mainland situated within the historical county of Caithness. The town and the surrounding area have beautiful views over to the Orkney Islands and you can see the Old Man of Hoy from various locations at Thurso.
The town has a sandy beach that is accessible unless there is a very high tide, the beach is popular with dog walkers, families and local and visiting surfers. The beach is next to the small harbour that is built on the short coastal estuary of the River Thurso. The town has a long history with one of Scotland’s oldest churches, Old St Peter’s Church dating back to 1125, or earlier.

The old town of Thurso has historic links to the Scottish fishing industry and while the harbour is now mostly used for leisure purposes there are still a few small boats that use this tidal harbour area for lobster and crab fishing. Most of the fishing activity, as well as a modern marina, is situated a couple of miles away in Scrabster, that also is a ferry location for one of the Orkney Ferries that goes between Orkney and Scrabster twice daily.
From the harbour you can look over to Thurso Castle. This castle is now a ruin with much of the structure now removed was built in 1872. This castle was built on the location of an older castle dating back to the 1664.

Today the town offers a range of hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, an excellent caravan and campsite, all supported by a number of cafés and restaurants. The town also has a railway station connecting to Wick and the east coast line to Inverness.
Thurso river is famous for its salmon fishing although most of the catch is now on a “catch and release” basis for much of the year to help conservation purposes. In the town you can take a short walk up the river from the public park next to the main road bridge. Watch out for seals in the estuary and otters along the riverside.

Castle - remains of the old Thurso Castle


Certain areas of the town are pedestrianised with gift shops, cafes and clothes shops

Round Cairn at Camster

St Peters Kirk is one of Scotland's oldest church buildings and is a listed Category-A building

Memorial Gardens at St John's Square, Thurso

Memorial Gardens at St John's Square

St Peters and St Andrews Church

St Peters and St Andrews Church - visit website for details of services

Surfing off Thurso harbour

Surfing off Thurso beach and harbour area is very popular with outstanding waves available at certain times, tide dependent.

Looking towards Thurso from the Scrabster end of the town

Looking towards Thurso from the Scrabster end of the town

Thurso beach

The sandy beach in the town is popular with locals and visitors. Watch out for birds, seals and otters.

The promenade is along the beach to the harbour area

The promenade is along the beach to the harbour area with seating areas available. Lovely views over Thurso Bay and towards Orkney.

Thurso Location Map

Thurso Location Map

map location