Scrabster: A Complete Guide

Find out all you need to know including what to do, where to stay, where to eat and how to get to Scrabster, North Scotland.

Scrabster is a key fishing harbour and one of the main ports on the north coast of Scotland with a ferry service to the Orkney Isles.

Where is Scrabster
Scrabster is on the north coast of Scotland, in the historical county of Caithness. It is 21 miles west of John O’Groats, 113 miles north of Inverness and 265 miles north of Edinburgh.

What to do in Scrabster
Ferry to Orkney: Scrabster has a regular ferry service to Stromness in Orkney run by NorthLink Ferries. Plan your journey

Walk from Holborn Head: Beginning at the lighthouse at Scrabster, take a 2-hour walk along the coastline. Read more

There is a commercial fish market at Scrabster but it is not open to the public for purchases. If you are lucky, you can buy fish directly from the fishermen who come into the harbour.

What to do near Scrabster
Wolfburn Distillery (1.5 miles away): a whisky distillery and shop offering guided tours of the distillery. 

Castle of Mey (16 miles away): an intimate historic home formerly owned by the Queen Mother. Read our guide

Also consider: Dunnet (11 miles away), John O’Groats (22 miles) and Wick (22 miles).

Where to shop
Thurso (2 miles): the nearest town with gift shops such as Eye Candy and local products including Reids Shortbread.

For gifts, also consider Wolfburn Distillery (1.5 miles), Dunnet Bay Distillery (10 miles), the Castle of Mey (16 miles) and John O’Groats (22 miles). 

Where to eat
Captain Galley’s Restaurant: an upmarket seafood restaurant serving a more informal lunch menu. Check opening hours; advanced booking is advised.

Capilla: a Portuguese restaurant in Scrabster housed in a converted church. Check opening hours; advanced booking is advised.

Other more informal options for food include: Popeyes, a harbour bar in Scrabster and the Blue Door Coffee Shop and Diner near Thurso Camping Site.

Where to stay:
Forss House Hotel, Forss (5 miles): a four-star boutique hotel set in leafy grounds, serving local products.
Hotels in Scrabster include the Ferry Inn and the Weigh Inn.
Camping: The nearest campsite is Thurso Caravan and Camping Park.
Further accommodation: options are available in Thurso (2 miles), Dunnet (10 miles), John O’Groats (22 miles) and Wick (22 miles).

How to get to Scrabster
By car: Follow the A9 north from Inverness. The journey is around 2 hours 20 minutes. See the journey.
Bus: the X99 from Inverness to Scrabster is just under 4 hours.
Train: the Far North Railway Line from Inverness to Thurso is just under 4 hours. Thurso is around 6 minutes’ drive from Scrabster. See the drive.
Flight: the nearest airports are Wick-John O'Groats (with services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen) and Inverness (with flights across the UK, Scotland and Amsterdam, Netherlands).

Where next
North: to the Orkney Isles
East: towards John O’Groats and Caithness
South: towards Dunrobin Castle and Inverness
West: towards Durness and the West Coast

Further resources
See the drive from Scrabster to Gills Bay, Caithness.