Sea Fishing ~ Orkney Ferry ~ Harbour & Marina ~ Map ~ Restaurants ~ Local ~

Scrabster Lifeboat


Orkney Ferry arriving at Scrabster

Orkney Ferry


Scrabster is a harbour, ferry and fishing port and industrial business centre near Thurso in the far north of Scotland. The port is well known for its recreational sea angling with boat trips fishing off the Caithness coast and Orkney. The Scrabster to Stromness Ferry provides year round access to and from Orkney, weather permitting. Scrabster has an important commercial fishing industry where large boat off load their catch for processing and sale, while local boats fish for crab and lobster.

With the development of offshore electricity generation the port has developed the capacity to handle large industrial offshore developments. Scrabster has a number of companies and businesses operating from the ports industrial centre.

Scrabster also gets visits from the occasional large cruise ship and smaller privately owned boats. The marina has greatly expanded the recreational use of the harbour and has been off great benefit for local users as well as visiting guests to the area.

Scrabster has accommodation overlooking the port and in the nearby town of Thurso which is about 3 miles away.

To the delight of many Scrabster also has a lovely small beach which can be accessed most days, except for the highest tide times. The Pentland Firth Yacht Club has its club house and car park next to the beach.

Sea angling boat charter at Scrabster

Scrabster is famous for its tremendous sea angling off the Caithness and Orkney coastline. A number of charter boats for sea fishing trips are available from Scrabster.

Scrabster marina

Scrabster Harbour and Marina

Scrabster Boat Charter and Sea Angling

Boat charter for sea angling

One of the best boats I have ever been on for sea angling at Scrabster is Chris Bennett's Eun Na Mara. The boat is very stable and has lots of power to push through heavy seas off Caithness and Orkney. The boat travels at a gentle 12 knots when moving between fishing marks and faster when going over to Orkney and will easily keep at 17 knots through the strong seas in the Pentland Firth.

Fishing Trip coming back from Orkney over the Pentland Firth

On board the Eun Na Mara coming back from a days fishing off Hoy, one of the Islands of Orkney. The journey back from Orkney gives you time to clean up your fishing catch, and for the experienced - filleting the fish, in this case the catch was mainly of cod and pollock.

One of the fishing points is off the cliffs at Dunnet Head, this is also an area well known for shark fishing. All sharks are tagged and returned.

Trip out from Scrabster harbour

On board the Hebridean Warrior out from Scrabster with calm seas on the trip out from Holborn Head towards Brims Ness. This is rough fishing ground with plenty of cod, ling and pollock. When fishing this area you need to keep your fishing weight off the bottom or you will lose it. Cod especially are caught just off the bottom so it involves a battle of nerves to fish at the correct depth without losing too much weights and tackle.

Fishing mark off Scrabster

The high cliffs along the coast of Caithness and the associated deep water is perfect for sea fishing. This area is not recommended for small leisure boats as the weather can change very quickly and it is then you really appreciate your skipper on the charter fishing boat keeping you safe while you fish.

Sea fishing catch off Scrabster

When planning a fishing trip our from Scrabster it is advisable to wear waterproofs and ideally a proper two piece survival suit to keep you warm and dry. Even during summer months it can be cold while fishing off the north of Scotland.

Early morning out on the Hebridean Warrior from Scrabster with the Orkney Ferry in background

Scrabster Sea Fishing

Fishing off the Hebridean Warrior - Sunset

After a days exciting sea angling on Chris Bennett's boat the Hebridean Warrior it is time to go back to port and on this occasion I was privileged to see a beautiful sunset. The coastline off Caithness and Orkney is another wonderful scene to see, a sea fishing trip is not all about catching fish it is also about appreciating the scenery and nature around you.

Fishing in the far north of Scotland does have its moments with high waves, strong tides and currents and the ever challenging conditions caused by high winds. In some cases boat trips are cancelled due to the weather conditions not being safe for a boat trip. When fishing near the Pentland Firth you always need to be ready for inclement weather by having warm and ideally waterproof clothing, and in winter a flotation suit for added comfort and safety. To see a relatively calm day for winter fishing see our page on Winter sea fishing and pictures of the Hebridean Warrior fishing off Scrabster in February.

Scrabster harbour in pictures taken on November 2015

The Mærsk Lifter at Scrabster harbour on November 12th 2015.

Tamini Transformers offloaded from Abis Dusavik at Scrabster harbour on December 29th 2015

Pictures taken of the Northlink Hamnavoe Ferry on Jan 31st 2016.

Fishing boat arriving at Scrabster harbour

Pictures of fishing boat arriving Scrabster harbour.

Sea fishing trip

Sea fishing trip on October 17th 2015

The NorthLink Ferry manoeuvring into the harbour at Scrabster.

Scotland sea fishing from Scrabster

Scrabster to Stromness Ferry

Scrabster to Stromness Ferry

The Scrabster to Stromness Ferry does regular daily trips between Scrabster and the Orkney Mainland.

Northlink Ferry at Scrabster

The Northlink Orkney Ferry arriving at Scrabster

Scrabster to Stromness Ferry

The Scrabster to Stromness ferry provides a quick way to travel over to Orkney in comfort with the 90 minute ferry journey. During the summer months there is three ferries over from Scrabster to Orkney, Monday to Saturday and two sailings available on a Sunday. Outwith the summer sailing times there is two sailing times available from Scrabster. For all sailings you need to be at the ferry arrival point at least 30 minutes before sailing, for cars boarding the ferry it is recommended you arrive 1 hour before departure. I believe photo id such as a passport or drivers licence is required to board this ferry.

On our last trip on this ferry we enjoyed a hearty cooked breakfast and also enjoyed the views of the Old Man of Hoy as we approached Orkney.

Unusual Scrabster

Seabed engineering craft at Scrabster

This unusual craft was moored at the original Scabster ferry harbour and I think may be involved in the new offshore energy engineering works off the Caithness and Orkney coastline.

Scrabster Harbour, Thurso Lifeboat Station & Marina

Thurso Lifeboat Station at Scrabster

The Thurso Lifeboat Station is located at Scrabster harbour

Scrabster harbour and marina

The Scrabster harbour and marina complex is a modern up-to-date facility with secure berthing for boats and yachts.

Scrabster Harbour

In 2008 Scrabster Harbour Trust started a port infrastructure development with the redevelopment of the Old Fishmarket Pier to create the new Jubilee Quay, was completed in June 2013. The harbour plays an important role in supporting the Oil and Gas offshore industries as well as renewables including offshore wind farms and the new technologies being developed to harness tidal energy in the Pentland Firth.

The port supports the local fishing industries with a fish off loading facility and market as well as berthing for local fishing boats. The larger boats are lifted into/out of the harbour & marina using a large commercial crane.

The marina is open to visiting leisure boats as well as for local boats and yachts. The new pontoon layout makes it safe and easy to board boats throughout the day irrespective of tides. Before this marina development getting on/off boats would often involve using the harbour ladders, not idea when lugging fishing tackle and off loading fish caught on day trips on the local fishing boat charters.

Watch the video of a dredger working at Scrabster harbour.

Scrabster Harbour development

Scrabster harbour development work for the Jubilee Quay

Yachts at Scrabster harbour in 2009

Yachts at Scrabster harbour (2009) before the harbour development and marina.

Surfing in the far north of Scotland

Surfing in Caithness

Scrabster is just over 1 mile from Thurso where you can experience good waves most of the year for surfing.

Surfing off Thurso

Surfing off Thurso is a recreational pass time for locals as well as visitors to the area. On many weekends you will find individuals from all over Scotland (and probably further south) enjoying the waves provided by the Pentland Firth. Another area nearby which is used for surfing is Brims Ness.


Scrabster Beach

Scrabster beach

Scrabster beach is perfect for walking dogs

Dunnet Head Lighthouse

Dunnet Head Lighthouse is the most northerly point on the UK mainland. The views beyond the lighthouse are of the Orkney Islands.

Lifeboat - picture of Thurso Lifeboat

Picture of Thurso Lifeboat at Scrabster Harbour

Ice House

The Ice House at Scrabster harbour.

Hamnavoe - Orkney Ferry

Orkney Ferry at Scrabster Harbour

Scrabster harbour lighthouse

Lighthouse, now private at Scrabster

Dog on Scrabster beach

Jip on Scrabster beach

Posie on Scrabster beach

Posie our little rascal of a dog on Scrabster beach

Local Interest Websites


Our Scrabster blog