|Location Map ( geo)|
|Thurso • Wick|
|Other Important Destinations|
|John o Groats|
|Current Highway Authorities|
|(Orkney) • Sutherland|
|Transport Scotland Roads|
|A9 • A99|
Caithness in Scotland is the most northerly traditional county on the British Mainland. Both Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on the UK mainland and the far more famous John o Groats lie within the county, which is now part of the Highland Council area.
Geography & Economy
The landscape of Caithness is very different to that of the other Highland counties. There are no mountains for a starter, and the coast is less rugged than further south and west. It is not a flat county, however, with the gently rolling landscape of the flow country rising to a considerable height in places, and high cliffs along the coastline. There are two main towns within the county, Thurso and Wick. The former is a busier place, with passing trade from the Orkney Ferries as well as the Dounreay Site a few miles to the west. Wick can also be a busy town, being an important fishing port, founded over 200 years ago.
Away from the shore, there is some agriculture and forestry in Caithness, but the further inland you go the less fertile the ground, until it becomes the vast boggy and mainly uninhabited moorland of the Flow Country. The offshore Island of Stroma is also part of Caithness, rather than Orkney, but has been uninhabited since the 1960s.
Unlike in the rest of the Highlands, the road network is not confined to the coast and those valleys through which a road can be threaded. The landscape is generally flat enough to allow a sizeable network of A, B and unclassified roads criss-crossing between fields and across open moorland. These link Thurso and Wick to all of the smaller villages in the north east of the county.
The A9 follows the east coast from Helmsdale, and has to negotiate the deep valleys at Berriedale and Dunbeath. The latter is spanned by a bridge, but at Berriedale the road still has to plunge down a series of sharp bends before climbing through more hairpins on the far side. Work to improve the route is ongoing, but does not extend to the provision of a viaduct.
All non-trunk roads within the traditional county are maintained by Highland Council. The A9 and part of the A99 are managed by Transport Scotland. From the north coast, 3 ferry services (including one seasonal pedestrian ferry) cross the Pentland Firth to Orkney.
|A8001||Sir Georges Street||Princes Street||0.05 miles||View|
|A8002||Wick Town||Wick Harbour||0.3 miles||View|
|A836||John o' Groats||Tarlogie (Dornoch Bridge)||122 miles||View|
|A840||Sir John's Square||Thurso Station||0.3 miles||View|
|A882||Wick||Georgemas Junction||14.2 miles||View|
|A896||Wick Town||Wick Harbour||0.3 miles||View|
|A9||Polmont, Stirlingshire (M9)||Scrabster, Caithness||279 miles||View|
|A99||Latheron||John o' Groats||34 miles||View|
|B855||Dunnet||Dunnet Head||4.3 miles||View|
|B870||Laxford Bridge||Thurso||97.5 miles||View|
|B874||Thurso||Wick Airport||22.5 miles||View|
|B874||Wick Town||Wick Harbour||0.3 miles||View|
|B875||Reiss||John o' Groats||13.5 miles||View|
|B876||Castletown||John o' Groats||14.1 miles||View|
|B877||Olrig Street||Riverside Road||0.3 miles||View|
|B9159||High Street||Harbour Road||0.5 miles||View|
|North & West Highlands Route||Ullapool||John o' Groats||160 miles||View|