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Scarfskerry Pier - - 19464.jpg
Scarfskerry is located in Caithness
Scarfskerry shown within the Caithness area
Population 300 
OS grid reference ND260734
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Thurso
Postcode district KW14
Dialling code 01847
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
58°38′N 3°16′W / 58.64°N 3.26°W / 58.64; -3.26Coordinates: 58°38′N 3°16′W / 58.64°N 3.26°W / 58.64; -3.26

Skarfskerry (or Scarfskerry; Scottish Gaelic: Sgarbh Sgeir) is the most northerly settlement on mainland Scotland. It is located in Caithness, on a small peninsula northeast of Thurso, off the A836. The name comes from the Old Norse for "cormorants' rock".[1] Historically, it belonged to the Parish of Dunnet, along with Brough.[2]


This rural settlement consists of a scattering of crofts and other houses and a small harbour with a pier. The harbour is no longer used for commercial purposes, although boats operate in the area providing tourists with trips to see White-beaked dolphins, Minke whales and Harbor Porpoises.[3] The pier, about 150 yards long, has a small bight on the southwestern side,[4] and a rocky beach continues towards the nearby settlement of Ham. The hamlet also contains a Baptist church and is home to the Scottish National Organiser of British Divers Marine Life Rescue.[5] Skarfskerry Point, a double-headed point, 30 feet high, marks the eastern entrance point of Brough Bay.[4] The Loch of Mey lies just to the southeast.

Scarfskerry Harbour is also home to the wreck of the SS Linkmoor, of London, Captain Ridley. Liverpool to Blyth. Lost 10 Nov 1930, 2.55am GMT during a Westerly gale force 8-9 in heavy sea & squalls. Cause, engine trouble and state of weather, with 32 on board of whom all were saved. The SS Linkmoor is a favourite "shore" dive site for local divers and is often used as a training dive. Best dived in winter due to the shallow nature of the wreckage being obscured by kelp. The boilers actually stood proud of the water until they final succumbed to the waters during a storm in the 1990s. A local house situated a short distance from the harbour is named after the ship that salvaged the Linkmoor, the "SS Briarbank."

A few hundred meters West of the Harbour lies the wreck of the SS Victoria. Situated between the Harbour and Ruther Geo, this wreck was lost on 3 March 1891. The crew were rescued by Longhope Lifeboat, who rowed for 10 hours across the Pentland Firth to rescue the crew. A Silver Medal was awarded to Coxswain Benjamin Stout in recognition of his gallantry when rescuing the crew of 22. Eleven of the rescued crew were Germans, and the Emperor of Germany presented a gold watch to the coxswain and £24 to the crew of the lifeboat. In 1996, a fisherman's pattern anchor from the SS Victoria was raised by Thurso Sub Aqua Club (TSAC), and whilst residing for several years at a property in Scarfskerry was later presented by TSAC to Longhope lifeboat station as a mark of respect for the heroic work carried out by the RNLI on a daily basis. The Victoria is also a popular dive site by local divers, but as with the Linkmoor is best dived during the winter months. Still present on the site are several anchors and slabs of packed stones, believed to be used for ballast.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Scarfskerry". Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 346. ISBN 978-0-8063-1255-2. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Ben; Wilson, Angus (2006). The Complete Whale-Watching Handbook: A Guide to Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises of the World. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7603-2567-4. 
  4. ^ a b Sailing directions for the north and east coasts of Scotland: Cape Wrath to Fife Ness and including the Orkney, Shetland and Faeroe Islands. United States Hydrographic Office, U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1950. p. 80. 
  5. ^ "Area Co-ordinators". British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Members Gallery - David Body". Craft Potters' Association. Retrieved 9 October 2014.