Waternish Point is a wild but beautiful spot with wonderful sea views. In the summer months, it is an excellent place to see whales and dolphins as they feed in the turbulent waters off the point. This walk is generally level and easy to follow, first on a clear track but then a short pathless grassy section heading to the small lighthouse at the Point.
(Walk 1 on our introduction map.)
Distance: 13.5 km (8.5 miles)
Time: 3 – 5 hours
Terrain: Most of the approach walk is on a good track, boggy in places. The final approach to the headland is over pathless but fairly dry ground.
If arriving for the walk by car, parking can be found at Trumpan Church, the remains of which stand as testament to the sometimes bloody history of the island. On the first Sunday in May 1578 the local MacLeods were gathered for worship in the church. In 1578 the Macdonalds of Uist, seeking revenge for a violent raid of the previous year, barricaded the church, which was packed full of worshipping MacLeods and set fire to the thatch. All except one girl were burnt to death, she ran to Dunvegan and raised the alarm, whereupon the famous Macleod Fairy Flag was unveiled and an army of Macleods massacred the Macdonalds in turn.
The walk to the point today offers a peaceful respite and the superb clifftop sections have wide views across the stunning scenery.
From the car park, walk along the road in a north easterly direction, passing 4 houses, until the road takes a sharp right. Here you go left, through the gate, remembering to shut it! You have started the walk.
On the way, you pass a marker or cairn for another battle of Waternish and the impressive remains of two iron-age brochs. These are worth short detours to explore their thick stone walls and to ponder on the skills of their makers and their need to build such strong defensive walls to hide within.
At the end of the track you come to Unish, which features in one of our Points of Interests. From here there is no track or path. Generally you just head across the open ground heading towards the lighthouse.
ON the way back as a bit of a change you can navigate the sheep tracks much closer to the cliff edge to get even more spectacular views. You can cut across the land to rejoin the track at various points.
When walking in the spring there is a delightful chorus and antics from skylarks and stonechats. During the summer the Month is used by Whales for their migrations to the north, so have your binoculars handy.
The whole walk is on crofting land. Please abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which can be found here and in particular please keep dogs on a lead where there are sheep and cattle.
Walk Highlands information page
(our thanks to John Middleton of The Cottage Stein for the lighthouse photo)