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The history of Caithness is very different from that of the rest of the Highlands. It merges two influences: Norseman and Scotsman, seaman and clansman - Viking and Gael. You can explore the area's Viking heritage in the Northlands Viking Centre at Auckengill north of Wick. Each year, the area also hosts the Northlands Festival - a celebration of the arts from the northern lands of both Scotland and Scandinavia.
Other notable visitor attractions strung out along the coast road between Helmsdale and Lybster include the deserted cliff-top Clearance village of Badbea, the Dunbeath Heritage Centre, the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre at Latheron, Lybster Gallery and a new visitor centre dedicated to the sea-faring past of this county, Waterlines in the village of Lybster. The villages of Dunbeath and Latheron are also included on the Neil Gunn Trail.
In the town of Wick you will find numerous tourist attractions including the excellent Wick Heritage Centre where the town's history is brought to life in a huge assemblage of artefacts and the phenomenal Johnston Collection - a rich photographic archive covering the many aspects of Wick life, but especially the nineteenth-century herring boom. The most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland is Pulteney Distillery, which produces a fine single malt whisky and offers tours of the Distillery and a visit to the Visitor Centre.
Between Wick and Thurso, you can explore the triangle of Caithness that is capped by the 'end of the road' community of John O'Groats. John O'Groats is also the departure point for the ferry to Orkney. John O'Groats Ferries offer tours of Orkney as well as a local wildlife tour, and a daily service from Inverness to Orkney during summer months.
As the largest town in Caithness, Thurso boasts excellent visitor services and various attractions such as the Swanson Gallery and the glass blowing studio, Glass Creations. Situated on the shore of the Pentland Firth, Thurso is also a popular with surfing enthusiasts, who add a real splash of summer colour to the British mainland's most northerly town.
You can learn more about Caithness on the VisitScotland website.
Visitors can book accommodation in the Caithness and Sutherland area on visitscotland.com: