(Gaelic name meaning… Pillar Headland)


Immerse yourself in the dramatic coastline, atmosphere and natural heritage of Gallan Head. Up a winding road you will find the unique community of Aird Uig, where a former military base is being transformed into a thriving community and nature hub.

The views from the clifftops are breathtaking and there is an incredible sense of place and atmosphere amongst the former military buildings and exposed clifftops. Legend tells of the Gallan Whale - a great behemoth of the depths that was said to terrorise local fishermen around the headland.

These days people look out for basking sharks as they glide around the headland in summer, or for porpoises and seals that dart amongst the swell. What will you spot?

A bit about the site

Please take care during your visit, as the cliffs are steep and there are some rough areas of concrete where military structures used to be. There is parking outside the cafe and on the headland itself. From Uig follow the signs for Aird they will lead you along a narrow road to the most north westerly location in the UK on the edge, where eagles soar. There are local buses however they do not run regularly throughout the day.

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Getting here
Local buses W4 from Stornoway to Uig

The site is outdoors but there are tarmacked areas for accessible whale watching. Gallan Head community hub is wheelchair accessible and has a public toilet.

Useful links
Gallan Head Community Trust
Uig Museum
Visit Outer Hebrides - Uig
Responsible Access
Guide for Campervans

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Wondrous creatures in the waters

Look out for

Bottlenose dolphins
Minke whales
Humpback whales
Basking Sharks
Sea eagles

Check out the latest sightings on HWDT Whale Track

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As quiet as a basking shark

Growing up to 1o meters long, basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world and are occasionally spotted here in late summer. Their large triangular dorsal fin is easy to distinguish from a whale’s - sharks swim with a side-to-side motion while whales and dolphins move up and down. The way basking sharks silently glide through the water gave rise to a Gaelic saying: Cho sàmhach ri cearban grèine - ‘As quiet as a basking shark’.


In search of a mystery?

On clear days you can catch a glimpse of distant St Kilda, whose towering sea-cliffs are the tallest in the UK. Closer in look to the Flannan Isles, whose rocky shores and lonely lighthouse are steeped in tales of unusual happenings. The Flannan Isles are famous for the mysterious disappearance of the lighthouse keepers one night, all men gone and dinner still half eaten on the table…

There is one sort of whale remarkable for its greatness, which the fishermen distinguish from all others by the name of the Gallan-whale; because they never see it but at the promontory of that name
— Martin Martin in ‘Description of the Western Isles of Scotland’ circa 1695

Image Credits: Header image © Gallan Head Community Trust. Image 1 © Alistair Pratt. Image 4 © Northern Lighthouse Board. Other images © HWDT