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St. Peter's Kirk, Thurso

Thurso (Inbhir Thẹrsa in Scottish Gaelic) (Template:Gbmapping) is a town and a burgh on the north coast of Scotland. The town lies at the northern extreme of the A9 road, the main highway linking Caithness with the south of the country, and is about 32 kilometres (20 miles) west of John O Groats. Thurso is the most northerly location served by the Britian's rail network, which links the town directly with Wick, the county town of Caithness, and with InvernessTemplate:Mn, which is the administrative centre of the Highland Council region.

The River Thurso flows through the town and thus into Thurso Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The river estuary serves as a small harbour. About two kilometres (one mile) to the west of the estuary Scrabster Harbour berths a ferry ship operated by Northlink called "Hamnavoe", which links Thurso and the Scottish mainland with Stromness on the Orkney Islands. Scrabster has deep water in the shelter of Holborn Head.

Area offices of Highland Council are located in the town, as is the main campus of North Highland College. Thurso boasts also a small museum, 2 screen cinema, ten-pin bowling, a small skatepark and an internet cafe for cybergaming.

The town's history stretches back, at least, to the era of Norse Orcadian rule in Caithness, which ended, conclusively, in 1266. The town was an important Norse port, and has a later history of trade with ports throughout northern Europe, especially during the 19th century. Old St Peter's Kirk is said to date from circa 1220 and the time of Caithness Bishop Gilbert Murray, who died in 1245. Much of the town is however a planned 19th century development, and a major expansion occurred in the mid 20th century when an experimental nuclear power plant was established at Dounreay (Template:Gbmappingsmall), about fifteen kilometres (nine miles) to the west of the town. Within a period of perhaps ten years Thurso's human population then mushroomed, from around 3000 to about 9000, as Dounreay attracted skilled immigrants from all quarters of Scotland and the United Kingdom. The town is named in Norse as "Thors river"


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The football (soccer) team, Thurso FC (nicknamed "the Vikings"), plays in the North Caledonian League.

Surfing, for a few years, was a big pastime with many of the local youths. The power of the waves rolling in from the North Atlantic has been compared with those of Hawaii. Certainly, for those with a penchant for barrelling reef-breaks, Thurso East leaves little to be desired on a good day. On a big day, twenty second coverups are not unknown.

The European Surfing Championships are sometimes held in Caithness, with Thurso being the main focus of activity. This indicates the esteem in which Northern Scotland waves are held.

Main road junctions

From Scabster Harbour (Template:Gbmappingsmall) the A9 runs generally east/southeast through Thurso and then generally south towards Inverness, Perth and Falkirk. In Thurso the A9 has junctions with two other classified roads, the A836 and the B874, and about 8 kilometres (5 miles) south of Thurso the A9 has a locally important junction with the A882 (Template:Gbmappingsmall), which leads towards Wick.

From the A9 near Burnside (Template:Gbmappingsmall), in Thurso, the A836 leads generally west towards Reay, Melvich, Bettyhill and Tongue.

From the A9 in central Thurso (Template:Gbmappingsmall) the B874 leads generally south towards Halkirk.

From the A9 in the Millbank area of Thurso (Template:Gbmappingsmall) the A836 leads generally east towards Castletown and John O Groats.


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