Scrabster Ferry Terminal
Scrabster ferry port connects mainland Scotland with Stromness on the Orkney Islands.
Scrabster ferry terminal is located on the North coast of Scotland, 1.5 miles from nearby Thurso, about 20 miles West of John O'Groats and 110 miles North of the city of Inverness. The most northerly large port in mainland Britain, Scrabster is the gateway to Orkney and has provided safe harbour to seafarers since the days of the Vikings. Being such an obvious natural harbour, it was a tempting landing point for Viking raiders, and early tales of the settlement in Thurso are rife with attacks and murders worthy of a Bernard Cornwell story. Scrabster Castle, former home of one early Bishop who did not escape the attentions of those Norse invaders, became property of the Sinclair family until it passed to the Earls of Sutherland in the 1550s. Nothing more than some grass-covered mounds now remain of the castle, but evidence of early settlers has been found all around the area. The first pier at Scrabster was built some time in the 1820s by Thomas Telford, along with a road to Thurso and further harbour developments followed from the 19th Century onwards. Thurso was connected to the railway system in 1874, leading to a boom in the area's flagstone industry, which had quarries at Scrabster and Holborn Head. By the 1990s, Scrabster had became an important fishing port, following an expansion to the harbour and a new fish market, where freshly caught fish are loaded onto refrigerated trucks that transport them to locations across the UK and Europe. Northlink's service to Stromness caused the latest expansion to Scrabster harbour and today, nestled in the shelter of the low cliffs of Holborn Head, the port is home to both the fishing fleet and passenger ferries. Scrabster connects Scotland with Stromness on Orkney with 3 daily sailings.
Get directions for Scrabster Ferry Terminal
Port address: Queen Elizabeth Pier, Scrabster, Caithness, KW14 7UT, Scotland.
Scrabster terminal is served by these ferry routes:
- Stromness–Scrabster (Northlink Ferries)
Travelling to Scrabster Ferry Terminal
Travelling by Car
The A9 goes from Perth (north of Edinburgh), through Inverness and straight into Thurso and then Scrabster.
Travelling by Train
Thurso train station is located approx 1 mile from Scrabster and has arrivals/departures both from and to Wick (and then Inverness). Trains are timed to coincide with the ferry arrivals and departure times.
Travelling by Bus
There is a frequent bus connection between Thurso town and Scrabster which operates throughout the day. Routes are timed to coincide with ferry departures and arrivals. Buses also follow routes to Caithness (Wick Airport) and on to Inverness in the Highlands.
Scrabster: Port Facilities
Facilities are limited at the terminal. A vending machine for hot drinks is available. There is a café located in the old terminal building.
There are disabled toilets located throughout the terminal as well as lift access both from and to the first floor. The lift also takes passengers from the ground floor to the waiting area and walkway which then leads to the ferry. There is limited shared parking including disabled spaces at the end of the building. A long-stay car park can be found on the other side of the vehicle marshalling area. The convenient drop off point is located outside the main entrance.
There is a shuttle bus which transports foot passengers between the passenger terminal and the ships for arrivals and departures. Buses either have a ramp or are specifically adapted for wheelchairs
Car parks at Scrabster Ferry Port
There is a long stay car park which is operated by Scrabster Harbour Trust. They can be contacted on +44 (0) 1847 892779. The cost is £10 for 1 to 14 days. Tickets can be purchased from the NorthLink Terminal. Please note that the long stay car park is situated approx 800m from the passenger terminal. Passengers should allow ten minutes to walk back.
This information is provided for guidance only.