(Possibly from the Norse meaning… Point of Sight)
RUBHA AN TIÙMPAIN
At the tip of the Eye Peninsula, known locally as Point, sits Tiumpan Head Lighthouse. This incredible view looks out across the Minch to the mountains of the mainland, and north across the seemingly endless sea.
The water just below the lighthouse drops off sharply into mysterious depths where some of the more elusive whales and dolphins might just appear. Just about any of our more common species of whale, dolphin or porpoise could be seen here, so stop a while and see what you can spot.
Widely considered one of the best places in the UK for whale-watching from land, and possibly Europe, Tiumpan Head is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the Isle of Lewis in search of wildlife.
A bit about the site
Parking is at the bottom of the hill, then its a short walk up to the spotting area by the lighthouse on tarmacked road. Car parking is very limited and there is no parking in the turning circle in front of the lighthouse itself. There is a private business in the lighthouse premises and they require access to their premises at all times.
If you arrive by bus to Portvoller, you will have a about quarter of a mile walk up a single track road to the lighthouse.
Wondrous creatures in the waters
Look out for
Bottlenose dolphins Minke whales
Killer whales (Orca)
dozens of Dolphins
Tiumpan Head sits at the very heart of an important area for the lesser-known Risso’s dolphin, a charismatic and distinctive dolphin. The coastal waters of the east coast of Lewis round from the Butt of Lewis are now a proposed Marine Protected Area, recognising how special these waters really are. These gregarious dolphins are identified by their rounded blunt heads, and grey and white colouration which varies hugely between individuals. They pick up marks and scars throughout their lives that turn them progressively whiter as they age.
It’s well known just how incredible Tiumpan Head is for watching whales and dolphins, so its no surprise you will often find good company while watching from here. Volunteers for the WDC Shorewatch programme regularly monitor the seas from here. They are a knowledgeable and friendly bunch out spotting from atop the hill, so pop up and say hello. To hear more about their amazing sightings, have a look at their Facebook group Tiumpan Head Watchers.
Image © WDC