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3 Most Visited Lighthouses on the Isle of Skye

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

Neist Point Lighthouse

Most of the people who follow me know how much I love to photograph lighthouses. There is something about the structure and purpose of the building that attracts me, and whenever I am near one, I have to photograph it.

There are 12 working lighthouses on/near the Isle of Skye, and I would like to show you three of them. While we are going to visit them, we are going to look at the best possible viewpoints, parking spots and ideal photography gear to make sure that you come back home with many breathtaking photos.

In the meantime, you can visit my art shop and get inspiration there or purchase one of my lighthouse photos in many different formats here.

Kyleakin Lighthouse - Drone Photo

Kyleakin Lighthouse

Kyleakin Lighthouse is situated at the south-western end of Eilean Bàn (The six-acre island that supports part of the Skye Bridge). It was built by David and Thomas Stevenson in 1857 and is linked to a pair of keepers' houses. The lighthouse was automated and converted to use acetylene gas in 1960. Following the start of construction of the Skye Bridge, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1993. After decommissioning the lighthouse was denoted as a day mark, which means that it remains a landmark that it is used for navigation during the day, and must, therefore, continue to be kept in good condition.

The lighthouse is currently part of the Bright Water Visitor Centre, and as such you can visit the island from Easter to the end of September - Monday to Friday - 10:00 - 16:00.

When it comes to the best places to photograph the lighthouse, there used to be an ideal spot on the actual island. You used to be able to use the little bridge leading towards the lighthouse, but there was recently a big fish feeding station developed on the opposite side of the water and that completely spoiled this view. My favourite spots are both located at the entrance of Kyleakin village. Once you park your car at the adjacent community hall, you can cross the road and follow the path towards the stony beach. Once you get to the beach, you should walk as close as possible to the water where you are going to find the first spot with the possibility to capture the whole bridge and lighthouse in your composition. If you are lucky you maybe even get one of the passing boats in your photo.

The second spot is just a few hundred meters away towards the bridge. Keep following the shore, while watching the slippery stones and pass the point where the lighthouse disappear behind one of the pillars. Once you get far enough, you will get a fantastic portrait photo opportunity where you can work with the nearby pillar, the structure of the bridge and the actual lighthouse.

Jakub's secret tip: The second spot will give you a fantastic opportunity for really slow exposure where you can include the nearby stones, flat water and stretchy clouds. This composition also works very well in black and white style.

Kyleakin photographed from second location

Location: Here

What to shoot: Landscape, Water, Panorama

Ideal kit: Tripod, Polarizing Filter, ND Filter, Wide Angle Lens, Normal Lens

When to go: This spot is great to go to all year round.

Ideal conditions: Dusk, All Weather

Ornsay Light Lighthouse

To reach the lighthouse, after you cross the Skye Bridge, drive south to the peninsula of Sleat where it's located on the Eilean Sionnach, the small tidal islet. The lighthouse was built in 1857 by Thomas and David Stevenson. It was modernised in 1988 when mains power was installed. The lighthouse emitted a white rotating light every 8 seconds and was automated in 1962.

Even though the lighthouse is accessible on foot at low tide from a neighboring island called Ornsay, I will not recommend this move as the walk can be quite tricky. In the meantime, I have two favourite locations to use where you can stay safe and still enjoy the beauty of this spot. Park your car near the Hotel Eilean Iarmain and head towards the area of the first pin (on the map) near the water. Once you rich the water, you should be able to have a nice and unobstructed view of the lighthouse with the beautiful mountains at the back.

The second spot is an ideal location for your telephoto lens as the lighthouse will be further away, but you will also get higher, and it will get easier to show the depth of field and the size difference between the island and the mountain at the back.

Jakub's secret tip: Check out my blog post about the ideal mobile applications for the Isle of Skye here and use the "My Tide Times" application to make sure that you arrive with enough sea water to play around with the reflection in your composition.

Ornsay Light photographed from first location

Location: Here

What to shoot: Landscape, Water, Panorama, Long Exposure

Ideal kit: Tripod, Polarizing Filter, ND Filter, Normal Lens, Telephoto Lens, Drone

When to go: This spot is great to go to all year round.

Ideal conditions: Daytime, All Weather, Sunrise (September/October only)

Neist Point Lighthouse

We will finish this list with one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland. The Neist Point lighthouse can be found on the most westerly tip of Skye near the township of Glendale, and it was first lit on 1 November 1909 when it was a manned lighthouse. Since then the internal light system has been updated to an automated system that no longer requires daily maintenance. Since 1990, the lighthouse has been operated remotely from the Northern Lighthouse Board headquarters in Edinburgh. The keeper’s cottages that surround the central tower are now privately owned and for a few years were used as holiday lets, but recently don’t seem to have been used.

Let's start with parking. The car park is located at very end of the single track road 10.5miles from Dunvegan (taking 30 minutes to drive). If travelling from Portree, it is 31 miles and will take about 1 hour to drive.

To visit the first and most popular photo spot, you walk back along the cliff to the right of the car park until you get to one of the ideal positions. I prefer to avoid the very top of the cliff and always try to walk a few meters down to one of the stone platforms which will give you a steady base for fantastic sunset photography.

The second spot offers a very similar view, but it's located under the cliffs. People generally avoid this spot, but I love to go there as it gives you the opportunity to highlight the size of the rock formation and hills surrounding the lighthouse.

To get to the 3rd and 4th location, you have to walk for about 30-45 minutes to get to the actual lighthouse. Once you get closer, you will notice a several composition possibilities from the front of the lighthouse. You can use the old path as a leading line or the puddles for a reflection effect.

The fourth location is my favourite as I always come back with a different photo from there. The spot is located on the rocks behind the lighthouse on the left. You have to walk past the lighthouse and keep walking until you get on the actual cliffs. When you arrive at the location, you can play around with the waves, cliffs and puddles of water.

Jakub's secret tip: Make sure you plan your visit with extra time and explore the area near the lighthouse. I especially like to visit the landing point where supplies used to be delivered by boat; the crane remains in place. This location is great for some excellent long exposure photography.

Neist Point from the fourth location

Location: Here

What to shoot: Landscape, Water, Panorama, Long Exposure

Ideal kit: Tripod, Polarizing Filter, ND Filter, Wide Lens, Normal Lens, Telephoto Lens

When to go: This spot is great to go to all year round.

Ideal conditions: Daytime, All Weather, Sunset, Night Photography

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