(Gaelic meaning… the point of the hole headland)


The dramatic view from the base of the towering red-brick lighthouse has nearly 360 degree views across waters busy with sea-life and skies full of birds. The cliffs are made of beautiful twisted rocks and are home to an abundance of seabirds nesting along the jagged edges. On clear days the mountains of the mainland can be seen to the east, while to the west the sea stretches out, seemingly endless.

With nothing between you and America the restless Atlantic rolls against the cliffs; sometimes bringing thunderous storms, sometimes whales and dolphins. Look out for seals gambolling in waves, or for a glimpse of Risso’s dolphins travelling by the cliffs, or the splashes of gun-metal grey bottlenose dolphins.

Here at the very edge you feel the majesty of the sea, and the raw power of the Hebrides. Its a breathtaking location so take your time, who knows what wondrous creatures you might spot.

A bit about the site

At the Butt of Lewis there is open access but uneven ground. Take care on the cliffs, the grass is very slippery when wet and avoid anywhere near the edge of the crumbling cliffs.

There are no facilities at the site itself, but there are cafes and pubs in the nearby villages, and public facilities at Sporsnis. Sporsnis is the nearby community sports and recreation centre, and has a great display on the local natural environment - Wild About Ness.

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Getting here
Service bus W1 runs every few hours and passes the end of the road to the Butt of Lewis which would give a walk of about a mile.

This is an outdoor site with uneven ground and steep cliffs. There is good spotting from the car park however so good accessibility for whale watching.

Useful links
National Lighthouse Board
Outer Hebrides Tourism
Loch Stiapabhat Nature Reserve
Sporsnis Sports and Recreation Centre
Galson Estate 
Responsible Access
Guide for Campervans

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creatures in
the waters

Look out for

Risso’s dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins
Minke whales
Killer whales (orca)
Harbour porpoises
Black guillimots (tystie)
White-tailed eagle


Check out the latest sightings on HWDT Whale Track


Delightful dolphins

The sea around the Butt of Lewis and down towards Tiumpan Head is recognised as an important area for the lesser-known Risso’s dolphin. Large groups of Risso’s dolphins have been spotted here mixing with bottlenose dolphins. These two species occasionally breed creating rare hybrid dolphin babies! These hybrids have a mix of characteristics from both species but can be tough to spot amongst the group.

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Fancy a stroll?

The coastal path around the north tip of Lewis is well worth the walk. To the west from the lighthouse you will follow some stunning coastline along clifftops, past a great stone arch and end at Eoropie Beach, where golden sand stretches into turquoise waves. To the east from the lighthouse you will pass Port Stoth - the locals favourite swimming spot, across a bridge to Dùn Èistean - the historic seat of the Morrison Clan, before ending up at picturesque Port Ness harbour and beach.

You feel like you are standing on the very edge of the world!
— Louise Cooper, local resident

Photo Credits: Header image © Ian Cowe, Northern Lighthouse Board. Other images © HWDT.