Lybster is a small but picturesque village on the east coast of Caithness, with a fantastic wee harbour.
Lybster has a long history, with a number of ancient monuments and brochs to be found nearby. One of the most enigmatic can be found beside the Church of Scotland in Lybster, in a small shelter; a Pictish cross, which likely dates to the 4th/5th centuries AD. This cross is part of a wider network of Pictish artwork in the wider Highland area, known as The Pictish Trail.
The village you see today, however, owes its existence to the 'herring boom' of the late 18th / early 19th centuries. A small wooden fishing pier was constructed here in the late 1790s, and Lybster was built as a planned village in 1802 by the local landowner, General Patrick Sinclair, who saw action in America during the Seven Years' War, and is perhaps best remembered for overseeing the construction of Fort Mackinac in 1781. Sinclair would return to Lybster, and his grave can be found in the north of the village.
By 1859 the herring boom had swelled the streets of Lybster, and some 357 boats fishing from the harbour. This made it the third busiest fishing port in Scotland after Wick and Fraserburgh. Around 1,500 fishermen were employed at one point in Lybster. The historic harbour is now a popular visitor attraction in its own right, and its story is well-told by Waterlines Heritage Centre.
The village boasts a thriving creative cultural community in the form of a contemporary glass art studio, North Lands Creative, as well as North Shore Pottery, a little further south of the village. A hotel, shop and pub can also be found in the village.
Patrick Sinclair's sons fought at the Battle of Waterloo. Their action was commemorated in the naming of "Quatre Bras" in Lybster, where the A99 intersects with the strikingly wide main street.