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Scrabster Harbour

Harbour (19th Century)

Site Name Scrabster Harbour

Classification Harbour (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Thurso, Scrabster Harbour; Thurso Bay; Pentland Firth

Canmore ID 8575

Site Number ND17SW 5

NGR ND 10220 70275

NGR Description Centred ND 10220 70275

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Thurso
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND17SW 5.00 centred 10220 70275

Harbour [NAT] (at ND 1013 7030)

OS (GIS) AIB, July 2006.

ND17SW 5.01 ND 10446 70161 to ND c. 10325 70428 Outer East Pier

ND17SW 5.02 ND 10445 70162 Outer East Pier, Navigational Light (Beacon)

ND17SW 5.03 ND 10297 70329 North-East Basin

ND17SW 5.04 ND 10254 70291 to ND c. 10204 70410 Inner East Pier

ND17SW 5.05 ND 10163 70340 Outer Basin

ND17SW 5.06 ND 10067 70271 Inner Basin (Extends onto map sheet ND07SE)

ND17SW 5.07 ND 10123 70288 to ND c. 10087 70352 West Pier

ND17SW 5.08 ND 10208 70300 to ND c. 10051 70190 Inner South Pier

ND17SW 5.09 ND 10207 70300 Inner South Pier, Navigational Light (Beacon)

ND17SW 5.10 ND 10231 70226 to ND 10233 70157 to ND c. 10160 70106 Outer South Pier

ND17SW 5.11 ND 10231 70224 Outer South Pier, Navigational Light (Beacon)

ND17SW 5.12 ND 10642 70533 Outer Pier, New Ferry pier

See also:

ND07SE 29 ND 09976 70351 Old Lifeboat House (Rockwell Cottage)

ND17SW 7.00 ND 10669 70659 Holborn Head Lighthouse

ND17SW 9 ND 10180 70427 Warehouses (Royal View)

ND17SW 14 ND 10072 70382 Harbour House

ND17SW 17 ND 10327 70475 and 10350 70465 (New) Lifeboat Station and slipway

For slipway at ND 09999 70317 (situated within the Inner Basin and probably associated with the Old Lifeboat House, ND07SE 29), see ND07SE 31.

Extends onto map sheet ND07SE.

Location formerly entered as ND 102 703.

Not to be confused with Thurso Harbour (ND 121 686), for which see ND16NW 57.

(Location cited as ND 102 703). Harbour, Scrabster, late 19th century and later. Much altered in recent years, but on the landward side incorporates old quay walls of local flagstone. There are 1 or 2 old warehouses facing the quay.

J R Hume 1977.

(Location cited as ND 100 703, at corner of the bay). Scrabster: this harbour should be considered in conjunction with that at Thurso (ND16NW 57), for which Scrabster served as the main anchorage. The harbour at Scrabster was similarly indifferent, although safe once the bar was passed, but it admitted only vessels of 10ft [3m] draught, and that only at High Water. Loading and unloading were possible only at High Water for lack of a stone pier or breakwater; rings set in the rocks, and mooring poles seem to have ineffective. The quality of the anchorage had already been noted in 1726, and the shelter provided for it by Holburn Head [name: ND 108 715].


Between the sea and the road from Thurso, before this reaches the modern inner harbour of Scrabster, the foreshore of the corner of the bay is revetted with masonry, the blocks being smaller than those used for the adjoining harbour works. At the harbour end of this embankment there is a slip serving a boat-repairing yard. These works appear to predate the main inner and outer harbours, but may be later than 1850.

A Graham and J Gordon 1988.


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