About Caithness - West

The 'North Shore' is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Europe's premier heavy water destinations. The wildly scenic coast, divided between the counties of Caithness and Sutherland, runs from John O'Groats to Cape Wrath. The difference is marked, the flat slab reefbreaks and low-lying topography of Caithness are a stark contrast to the mountains, honey coloured rocks and sandy beaches of Sutherland. Like its Hawaiian namesake the North Shore surf can get huge and currents can be treacherous. The plus side is the area is very consistent. Thurso East is the jewel in the North Shore's crown; the world-famous reef is one of Europe's finest waves, when it breaks. Unlike most of the N shore waves Thurso is quite fickle and has a limited swell window. The town itself is the only settlement of any size and the only place with full facilities. Going west the breaks are more exposed and spots like Brimms Ness hoover up any swell going. Swells from the W round to NE can occur year round, September to November are the prime months for good swell and reasonable weather. Deep winter and spring can be cold and classic, flat or wildly out of control. The area is one of the most sparsely populated in the UK so surfing by yourself, or with a few seals, is a real possibility.


  • Quality reefs

  • Thurso East

  • Uncrowded waves

  • High latitude surfing

  • Fantastic scenery


  • Cold water

  • Wet and unstable weather

  • Windy conditions

  • Hard access

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