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Bradshaw’s Guide


Is the next important town in Caithness. It is a very ancient burgh, is remarkable for its excellent sanitary state, and has very fine scenery. Its river is one of the best angling rivers in the north, and its pavement trade is very extensive.

The town is noticeable for its cleanly appearance. Several fine new buildings, including the Ladies’ Benevolent Institution, for the education of girls of the poorer classes, the Miller institution, an educational erection built and endowed by a liberal local resident, and a new church. The town has a very fine appearance when seen from the west, with the Pentland Frith, Holburn Head, and the Orkneys in the background.

Scrabster harbour, a couple of miles from Thurso, is regularly visited once a week by a steamer plying to and from Aberdeen and Granton. A small mail steamer also plies daily from April to October, and tri-weekly for the other six months of the year.

From Thurso westward the roads are beautiful, and the scenery grand and varied. By this route the traveller is taken to the west coast of Sutherland, where scenery of the most beautiful and exciting character is to be found. The district abounds in lakes, rivers, forests, high mountains, enormous sheep ranges, and the headlands along the coast are of great height.

Caithness has a number of very old castle?, some of which are still inhabited by the proprietors, while others are all in ruins. Dunbeath Castle, lying on the brink of a huge rock, has recently been extended and modernised. The Tower of Ackergill, inhabited by Sir George Dunbar, Bart., and Mr Wemyss of South Dunn, three miles from Wick, on the way to John o’Groat’s, has also been improved. Keiss Castle, the seat of Major Macleay, several centuries old, has also undergone improvements. At Barrogill Castle, the seat of the Earl of Caithness, the Lord Lieutenant of the county, his Lordship resides for several months in the year.

Near Thurso is the seat of Sir George Sinclair, Thurso castle, which so projects into the sea that the family have been known to catch fish from the drawing room window.

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