If you have done any research into visiting the Isle of Skye, chances are you have seen a photo of the Neist Point Lighthouse. A favourite with Instagrammers, it is a photographers dream. With dramatic cliffs, angry ocean and an abandoned lighthouse on the peninsular, it is easy to see why Neist Point holds so much charm.
Tim and I visited on our recent trip to Skye and I have to say, it was a highlight for me. Located on the West Coast, it was a beautiful drive on a single track and a lovely, scenic walk out to the lighthouse itself.
The lighthouse was built in 1900. Since then it has been updated and is all automated, which means it doesn’t require daily maintenance. The keepers cottages and residence around the lighthouse are privately owned. I believe it was once used as a Hotel, but it doesn’t look like it has been used for many, many years. It is derelict and abandoned. I didn’t realise this before visiting, so I was quite shocked to see that the place was trashed.
We assumed it may be used for parties every now and then, judging by the amount of bottles that had piled up. I peered into the rooms and it was as if everyone just up and left one day. There are still books and family photos sitting on tables, bed linen, kitchenware, even vacuum cleaners. It was all a bit eerie and odd. I definitely would not want to visit at night, it has a bit of a haunted feel to it.
I think it was the abandonment that made me love it so much. There was only one other couple at the lighthouse with us and looking out across the ocean, it felt like you were on the edge of the Earth.
I think I’m so used to visiting places that come with a pamphlet and plaques on every wall, that the mystery of the lighthouse intrigued me. I found myself making up wild stories in my head about the people that had lived there and could just picture it as a great location to make some sort of haunted lighthouse movie. I would definitely recommend a visit to Neist Point if you are on Skye.
How to get there
It is about an hours drive from Portree. The drive is lovely (as are most on Skye) and the last part is a single road track. We drove quite carefully on the road as we weren’t familiar with it and even saw a car of tourists that had tipped their car.
Where to park
There is a small car park at the end of the single road track out to Neist Point. It is free and there didn’t seem to be any time restrictions. I can imagine the car park gets quite full in busy periods, but there is a lot of parking along the road as well if need be.
The walk out to the lighthouse
There is a concrete path that will lead you out to the Lighthouse, about 2km long round trip. In terms of difficulty, it is quite easy for someone with good mobility. There are a lot of stairs, but rails to hold on to along the way. There are open paddocks with sheep grazing.
Exploring the lighthouse
There is no fee or even any management to get into the grounds of the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is locked up, but you can wander around the keepers quarters and residence and get a closer look. The best photos of course, are taken from further away.
Tim decided to climb up a nearby hill to get a good angle for a photo. I watched as our camera dropped from his pocket and fell down the cliff. Luckily, we managed to retrieve the camera and the memory card.. the camera on the other hand is very badly damaged.
Tim’s weigh in
Let me start off by saying I would definitely like to visit at night, and with it’s Northernly location the Aurora Borealis makes regular appearances here on season. I loved this place and as with everywhere on Skye I wish I could have stayed longer to really get to know it better.