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About Scrabster

Surrounded by natural beauty and the wilderness of Scotland's northern highlands is the busy fishing village of Scrabster. From here, head to Caithness to discover the beauty of Castle Mey, and see why the late Queen Mother chose it as a much loved holiday home. Or explore the once impregnable medieval stronghold of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, now one of the most spectacular ruins in the north.

Beat the chill with a wee dram at The Old Pulteney Distillery in Wick and see how one of the finest Highland malts is produced. Stroll the harbour in John O'Groats, commonly thought of as the most northerly mainland point of The British Isles.

For the true geographical north, you'll need to head up to Dunnet Head - you'll be rewarded with views all the way over to the Orkney Isles if you do.

 

Shore excursions in Scrabster

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Grand Dunrobin Castle

Activity high

Duration: 6 hours

Combine a scenic drive to the northern Highland coast with a visit to the grand chateau-style Dunrobin Castle.

As part of the Highlands of Scotland, your journey to Dunrobin Castle will take you through some breath-taking scenery. Sit back and admire the countryside and the coastline views of this delightful geographical area.

Dunrobin Castle is the largest and most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and is also one of the oldest that is continuously inhabited. Standing amidst lush, formal gardens that overlook the sea, this white stone chateau contrasts sharply with the usual dark stone of Scottish castles.

Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy free time to explore the castle independently. Take a self-guided visit of the castle that is filled with fine furniture, paintings, tapestries and art. Browse through the bedrooms, nurseries, studies and public rooms and admire the many displays which give a detailed insight into life for the earlier Earls and Dukes of Sutherland.

Afterwards, head outdoors into the beautiful gardens which are as grand as the castle itself. Modelled on those at Versailles they are well worth exploring. During your visit, you may also wish to purchase a snack or refreshments from the castle café.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to Dunrobin is around 1½ hours each way. There is up to 2 hours of walking at the castle, involving some steps, a spiral staircase and inclined and uneven terrain. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Please remember local currency for purchases.

Highlands and Wick Heritage

Activity medium

Duration: 4¼ hours

Enjoy the Highland scenery and visit the charming town of Wick and its appealing Heritage Museum.

Your drive will take you from Scrabster to the charming estuary town of Wick, where the mouth of the river Wick was first used by the Vikings for their longships and trading vessels.

The town holds an interesting past which is celebrated in the Wick Heritage Museum, run by local volunteers committed to preserving the heritage of their town.

The Museum is housed in modest premises which can be misleading, considering what there is to see inside. Discover interesting exhibits and photos of Wick life, including the tracing of the herring fishing industry. There is a treasure trove of information and nostalgia that truly reflects the pride of the people whose story it tells. After your visit, you’ll have some free time to briefly explore Wick. The harbour remains a focal point of Wick and the main town centre offers plenty of character.

You’ll then continue to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of Scotland’s mainland where the cliffs have a sheer drop of 300 feet into the Pentland Firth. Enjoy the views of Dunnet Bay, before returning to Scrabster.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 1½ hours of walking over relatively flat ground. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. The journey to Wick is around 45 minute to 1 hour. From Wick to Dunnet Head is approximately 1 hour.

Northern Highland Sights and Scenery

Activity low

Duration: 3¾ hours

This leisurely option offers an insight into the distinctive sights and scenery of the Highlands.

Setting off from Scrabster, your drive will take you through nearby Thurso and across the far north of the easterly peninsula. The land becomes noticeably flatter and more fertile than neighbouring districts which makes it an area that contains some of the finest farming land in Scotland.

Today there are several churches in Caithness that date from the middle ages and which are still in use today. One of those churches is Canisbay Kirk, which was regularly used by the Queen Mother during visits to the nearby Castle of Mey. Enjoy a short stop to admire this charming church.

Continuing until the `end of the road`, you’ll arrive at the village of John O’Groats, the farthest village from Lands End in Cornwall, with 876 miles separating the 2 points. The small village was named after a Dutchman, Jan de Groot, who established a ferry link with the Orkney Islands in 1496. During a short stop here, you’ll have an opportunity to wander around the small harbour area and browse the gift shops.

Afterwards, your drive will continue to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of Scotland’s mainland. Enjoy the views of the clean sweep of Dunnet Bay, before returning to Scrabster.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. This tour involves limited walking, however passengers must be able to negotiate steps onto and off the coach. The time spent at John O’Groats is around 45 minutes and the level of walking is at passengers’ discretion. An interior visit of Canisbay Kirk Church is subject to local daily services and cannot be guaranteed.

The Castle and Gardens of Mey

Activity high

Duration: 4 hours

Discover the beauty of Castle Mey, and see why the late Queen Mother chose it as a much loved holiday home.

Located on the north coast of Caithness, one of the least populated areas in Europe is the charming Castle of Mey. It is believed that this isolated charm is what drew the Queen Mother to acquiring it and which also saved it from destruction.

Today, the Castle remains as it was during the Queen Mother’s residence and has a warm homely feel. A tour of the Castle will show you rooms where family and friends would spend their time, and the more private rooms such as the library where correspondence was dealt with. You’ll also see the extravagant jardinière centrepiece in the front hall, overflowing with colourful plants and a striking portrait of the Queen Mother with her corgi Ranger above the fireplace in the equerry`s room. The Castle also displays personal memorabilia and treasured family photographs which allow you to gain an insight into the royal life.

The rear of the Castle is surrounded by farmland and the turbulent waters of the Pentland Firth where, on a clear day, views of the Orkney Islands can be enjoyed. You’ll have an opportunity to wander around the lovely gardens, and to browse the visitor centre and shop to perhaps purchase a souvenir of your visit.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to Castle of Mey is approximately 30-45 minutes each way, which may increase during peak season. The Castle visit is around 2 hours; however this is subject to local conditions on the day and less time may have to be allocated. This tour is predominantly on foot. There is varying terrain including some uneven ground, and around 25 steps and two spiral staircases to negotiate in the castle. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are advised. The Castle is subject to close without notice, should a royal visit be announced.

Wick, Whisky and John O'Groats

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Admire the scenery of the Highlands, visit Wick for an opportunity to sample a wee dram, and take in the famous village of John O’Groats.

The Old Pulteney Distillery in Wick is the northernmost distillery on the Scottish Mainland and is located in a rugged coastal area. It’s an unlikely setting for a distillery except for its close proximity to the sea, when at one time this was the only method of transporting whisky to the south. A tour of the distillery will show you how one of the finest Highland malts is produced and you’ll also sample a wee dram.

Afterwards, you’ll continue to John O’Groats, the farthest village from Land’s End in Cornwall. The small village was named after a Dutchman, Jan de Groot, who was responsible for establishing a ferry link with the Orkney Islands, in 1496. Here, you can enjoy a stroll around the small harbour area, browse in the gift shops and admire the views out to sea, before returning to Scrabster.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot.This tour is not suitable for children. Participants in the whisky tasting must be over 18 years of age. The journey to Wick is around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Passengers will be divided into groups of 10 to 15 at the distillery and the tour takes around 45 minutes. This tour involves around 1½ hours of walking over relatively flat ground, with some steps to negotiate. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended.

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