In terms of paddling potential, Thurso is a well-trodden stomping ground. Surf kayakers in particular are aware of the magic this area of Scotland can dish up and as such a number of world championship competitions have been run here. Paddlers are regularly seen out in the line ups of the main break although these are usually the closed cockpit type kayaks.

It’s also worth noting that a lot of the waves in the Thurso area are reef breaks that can be extremely powerful and shouldn’t be taken lightly. On smaller days it may be possible for intermediates to have a crack but you really need to question your ability and gauge the conditions correctly.

For those after more tranquil and less hectic paddling options then there are plenty available.

Search along this stretch of coast and you’ll find numerous nooks and crannies all inviting you to explore from your boat. Drive further afield and who knows what you’ll find. You might not even come across another soul – perfect for those who are after seclusion and nothing but nature for companionship.

If the coast isn’t your bag then head inland and you’ll find a number of rivers and lochs that are perfect for a put in and float about. As with the open sea though, you’ll need to assess your chosen location carefully as during certain periods river flows can be up and not applicable for sit on kayaks.

Wherever you decide to head in this area for a spoon you’ll be amazed by the stunning scenery on offer and no two days are ever the same with the inclement weather that’s changeable to say the least.

How to get there:

You can reach Thurso by following the main A9 link road that couples Caithness to southern Scotland. Wick is the closest airport for those who wish to fly with regular domestic carriages by Flybe and Eastern Airways. The rail network links Thurso to Inverness and Ferries operate year round schedules from the islands.


Thurso is a town and therefore has a number of eating and drinking establishments to keep visitors entertained. Some of the lesser known put in spots don’t offer anything in the way of facilities, but when you find yourself ‘back with nature’ then you’ll probably not miss WiFi too much!


Heavy powerful surf breaking over shallow reef is one danger – particularly during big swells. Tidal currents and flows, harsh weather, cold temperatures and shipping traffic coming in and out of Thurso port are all things to be aware of.

Ins and Outs:

Most entrances to the water are very obvious and will require a drag to get to the put in. If you’re thinking of chancing one of the rockier spots then you may have to lift your boat to navigate a path to the water.

If you’re unsure of where to drop in then don’t take any chances.


Thurso is a great place for those who love the outdoors in general. Walking/hiking, climbing, mountain biking and watersports are all good choices of activity when visiting this part of Britain.

If you can, bring all your gear and then you’ll be sorted for all eventualities.


Thurso is a mythical place in surfing folklore. Literally the edge of the world in terms of where land meets water, with nothing across the vast expanse of liquid called the North Sea until you reach Iceland and Greenland.

In Thurso you’ll find a stunning and picturesque coastline, amazing coastal paddling spots featuring everything from flat water to epic surf, ferociously unpredictable weather (that can change in a heartbeat) and a warm and friendly local community ready to dole out a load of good natured banter.

Thurso is the northern most town on the British mainland and has round 9000 inhabitants. The spot looks out across the water to the Orkney Islands, and with not much standing in the way of the this remote Scottish location, swells can march unhindered and unload on the many reef shelves that are littered along this coastline.