Located eleven miles from the Castle of Mey and within walking distance of Thurso, the second largest town in the Highlands, the Queen Elizabeth pier and deep-water basin at Scrabster has opened up the remote and beautiful landscape of the Far North to larger cruise vessels. A courtesy bus service to and from the town of Thurso is available for cruise passengers and crew.
While the Scottish port is now well suited to expedition and medium-sized cruise ships, a new cruise berth is being developed that will allow vessels up to 250 meters in length to berth. The construction is poised to start early 2020 with an expected completion date of 2021.
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For several decades, Scrabster, in the county of Caithness, was the port of choice for the British Queen and her family when they disembarked from the royal yacht Britannia every August to visit the Queen Mother in residence at her Highland holiday home nearby.
Today, a new generation of visitors is following in their footsteps. The late Queen Mother's home at the Castle of Mey has become Britain's newest tourist attraction, and cruise lines eager to add a regal visit to their itineraries are also choosing Scrabster.
Located eleven miles from the Castle of Mey and within walking distance of Thurso, the second largest town in the Highlands, the new Queen Elizabeth pier and deep-water basin at Scrabster has opened up the remote and beautiful landscape of the Far North to larger cruise vessels for the first time.
The Northern Highlands of Scotland is Europe's last great wilderness. Its huge skies and natural beauty made the area a royal favorite for more than 50 years. Caithness and Sutherland have much to offer today's visitors whether it be the wealth of historic buildings and heritage centers or the great outdoors with tours viewing the majestic north coast and all the wildlife and natural heritage on offer.
Thurso is only a couple of miles from Scrabster, which is the ferry terminal for a route to Stromness on one of the Orkney Islands. The trip takes about an hour and a half and passes by the Old Man of Hoy.
Thurso is the most northerly town on the British mainland and by far the largest settlement on the north coast. In medieval times it was Scotland's chief port for trade with Scandinavia, though most of the town dates from the late 18th century when Sir John Sinclair built the 'new' extension to the old fishing port. The town increased in size to accommodate the workforce of the new nuclear power plant at nearby Dounreay, but the plant's demise has threatened the local economy. Today Thurso is a fairly nondescript place, mostly visited by people catching the ferry to Stromness in Orkney, or the occasional hardcore surfer.
The currency throughout the UK is the pound (£). You may also hear the slang term quid for pounds. Scottish bank notes are frowned upon in other parts of the UK, so change the notes before leaving Scotland.
Cash machines (ATM) or less formally 'holes in the wall' are very widely available and usually dispense £10 and £20 notes.
Visa, Mastercard and Maestro, are accepted by most shops and restaurants.
English is spoken throughout the country, but sometimes with heavy accents!
Most cafe's and restaurants offer free WiFi.
The local emergency telephone number is 999, however the EU-wide 112 can also be used.
Shopping hours are in general:
Small stores 6 or 7 days a week (10am - 6pm)
Larger stores in general stay open til' 9PM
Hyper marts often 24/7
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