Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland: 13 best Caithness activities

Mar 26, 2021 BY AWE365 Team

During Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland you can explore the far north coast of the United Kingdom. It is a wild and adventurous region of the country and a great playground for extreme sports. Check out the 13 best Caithness activities below, we feel they offer as much excitement as almost anywhere in Britain. Plus of course this part of the country is stunningly beautiful.

Best Thurso activities

Peedie Sands from Dwarwick Head walking Dunnet head one of the best Caithness activities Flickr CC image by Penwin

Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland

Thurso is in the Caithness ward of the Highland Region of Scotland. Caithness includes the most northerly tip of the mainland British Isles at Dunnet Head. While this article is about the 13 best Caithness activities we are only looking at the north coast of this part of the world, so the area near to Thurso.

The north coast of Scotland around Thurso is rugged and wild. There are sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs that are battered by the turbulent Pentland Firth. This magnificent coastline offers great tourist facilities and the best Thurso activities offer ample opportunity for extreme sports.

You’ll find cosy B&Bs and guesthouses, a handful of hotels and camping, hostels and Bothys for the budget conscious. For evening entertainment there are some nice restaurants, plenty of cafes and diners plus some very welcoming pubs. If you are looking for nightclubs then Skinandi’s is your only option and is open just two nights a week. Likewise there are no casinos in the region but there are plenty of good deals at online UK casinos if you really want to have a flutter.

13 best Caithness activities

There is so much to do during Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland. Even the crossing to Orkney can be an extreme experience when the seas are rough! But below are what we consider to be the best Caithness activities in and around Thurso.

Surfing at Thurso and Dunnet Beach

First up the surf in this part of Scotland can be exceptionally good with pretty reliable northern swells battering the shores. With plenty of UK and international surf competitions in the area it’s clear experienced surfers will have a good time. But there are also plenty of beginner and intermediate breaks, check out these Thurso surf courses for more information.

Surfing during Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland Flickr CC image by jack spellingbacon

Rib rides at John O’Groats

For thrill seekers, take a trip in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) at John O’Groats. You will explore some of the great sea caves on Stroma and along the coast. The sea conditions can be very dangerous with the swirling currents of the Merry Men of Mey making the rib ride even more thrilling. You will be in safe hands though, as all the pilots are highly experienced in the local conditions.

Coasteering at Dunnet Head

The area around Dunnet Head is perfect for coasteering. Rocky outcrops and geos provide the perfect conditions for a combination of swimming, climbing and walking along the coast to Dunnet Bay. Wetsuits, helmets and life jackets are a must on what is one of the best Thurso activities.

Carriage driving and horse riding at Mey

Learn the basics of carriage driving and take off round the countryside in control of a horse and carriage. On the face of it this may not seem that adventurous, but it’s a great skill to learn and exhilarating to feel the true meaning of horse power! If you prefer to ride a horse in a more traditional way this is available during Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland.

Scuba diving and snorkelling in Brough Bay

Diving in Brough Bay is one of the best Caithness activities. The water is often crystal clear and you can regularly dive with seals and sometimes share the water with dolphins and orcas. Thanks to the Gulf Stream the waters are never too cold but you’ll still need a wetsuit. There is plenty to see beneath the waves and even snorkelers can get involved. There are strong currents which can make diving a little dangerous – so go with an experienced guide.

Kayaking in Brough Bay

Kayakers are often seen in Brough Bay, having paddled from John O’Groats or even from Dwarwick Pier along the coast. BBC newsreader Kate Silverton was one such kayaker. The local club can help if you need instruction or gear hire. Or if you prefer to paddle your own kayak Brough Bay is a great spot to launch.

Best Thurso activities Wikimedia CC image of John_O'Groats by John Riddell

Windsurfing and kiteboarding at Dunnet Bay

Windsurfing and kiteboarding are excellent at Dunnet Bay. The three miles of sandy beach offers plenty of room to launch and it never gets too crowded.   The conditions are often good with reliable wind and great swells for waveriding – even in the summer. It is not really an area for beginner wind and kitesurfers, but advanced riders will have a lot of fun!

Walking, hiking and trekking in Dunnet Head

Some of the best Caithness activities are on foot. Whether you want a short walk, a day long hike or a multi-day trek there is plenty on offer. For a quick stretch of the legs you are spoiled for choice, head along the coast anywhere for dramatic views. Hiking the 17km around Dunnet Head will take the best part of a day, but is well worth the effort. For multi day trips the North Highland Way and John O Groats trail both pass through the area.

Caithness adventure holidays in Thurso

As the best Thurso activities show there is plenty to do in this relatively small area. Plus all this has a backdrop of magnificent views to Orkney across the notoriously unpredictable Pentland Firth. You could do a different activity every day for two weeks, which would make Thurso adventure holidays in Scotland a truly unforgettable experience.

We hope you found this guide to the best adventures in Thurso interesting and useful. Check out our Highlands adventure travel page for more information about the region.


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