Stoer Lighthouse is one of the prettiest lighthouses along the NC500 (North Coast 500) scenic drive in northern Scotland. Located on the Stoer Head peninsula, along with the lighthouse, it’s also possible to take a picturesque coastal walk to the wonderful Old Man of Stoer. This breathtaking sea stack is a popular climbing location close to the Point of Stoer – the very tip of the peninsula. The Stoer Head peninsula feels as far removed from civilization as can be and is a breath of fresh air. Better still, if you love the remote feeling of Stoer Head enough, then it’s possible to stay in the lighthouse itself.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting this NC500 gem. To see footage of the wider NC500 road trip, feel free to watch our NC500 Hikes production.
Table of Contents
About Stoer Lighthouse
Stoer Lighthouse, AKA Stoer Head Lighthouse and Point of Stoer Lighthouse, is a 14 metre high lighthouse on the Stoer Head peninsula in the northwest Highlands of Scotland. The lighthouse at Stoer is brilliant white in colour and trimmed in golden yellow. This combo easily makes it one of the prettiest lighthouses in Scotland. The Stoer Head peninsula, which the lighthouse stands atop, rises strikingly from the rough seas below. This choppy stretch of water divides mainland Scotland from the Isle of Harris.
Falling within the Sutherland region of Scotland, the area around Stoer Head and the Point of Stoer feels quite remote. But they are, in fact, only a little off the NC500 route, requiring only a small detour. The nearest town with a decent selection of amenities is Lochinver, located a short 12.5 miles (20km) away and just a 30 minute drive.
Feel free to click on the interactive Google Map below to see the location of Stoer Lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer.
Stoer Lighthouse Fun Facts
- Stoer Head Lighthouse was built by pioneering Scottish engineers David and Thomas Stevenson.
- Building was completed in 1870.
- Stoer Lighthouse attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.
- The lighthouse was automated in 1978.
- Stoer is under the management of the Northern Lighthouse Board.
How to Get to Stoer Lighthouse
Access to Stoer Lighthouse is made by taking a detour from the B869 which runs between Lochinver and Drumbeg. At the Assynt Crofters’ Trust on the B869, turn towards Balchladich. From here, follow the road to Stoer Head. You’ll see signs indicating the way to Stoer Lighthouse.
At Stoer Head Lighthouse is a large car park, set a little below the lighthouse on Stoer Head. Parking is free and the views from the car park alone are quite spectacular.
Public Transport to Point of Stoer
As far as we can tell, there is no public transport access to the Point of Stoer, the lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer. So, you’ll really be relying on your own vehicle for this NC500 attraction.
Of course, if you don’t have access to your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring something. When hiring a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.
Visiting Stoer Lighthouse
From the car park, it’s a short uphill climb over the grassy terrain to reach the lighthouse. We enjoyed the pockets of sheep grazing on the remote promontory as we explored. You’re free to walk around the stunning and picturesque lighthouse, as it stands watch over the rough seas below. Entering Stoer Lighthouse is reserved for those staying here. More on that below.
Walking beyond Stoer Lighthouse brings you to some striking cliff walls. Here, you’ll find fantastic views of this rugged coastline. You’ll likely see an abundance of seabirds too while you’re soaking up your surroundings. We found the grasslands surrounding the lighthouse uber inviting for a quick laze and rest from driving.
In the summer months, there’s sometimes a coffee van that will operate out of the lighthouse car park. And, because visitor numbers have increased so much to Stoer Lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer, public toilets were built in 2013.
In truth, you won’t need to spend too much of your NC500 time at the Point of Stoer and lighthouse. But, it’s definitely worth a stop at. And, if the weather is particularly nice, a picnic on the clifftops is quite lovely.
Old Man of Stoer
Another excellent reason to visit Stoer Head peninsula is to take the coastal walk to the Old Man of Stoer and the Point of Stoer. This popular natural attraction is a 62 metre high sea stack and is very popular with climbers. From Stoer Lighthouse, you can follow a small coastal trail north to reach the Old Man of Stoer sea stack. The walk will take you from the Stoer Lighthouse Car Park, along the rugged coastal cliffs, to the sea stack and beyond to the Point of Stoer, if you wish. The return trail climbs higher up the hillside to enjoy spectacular mountain and sea views.
In total, the walk between Stoer Lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer and Point of Stoer is around 6km and will take 2–3 hours to complete.
You can follow a GPS map of the trail by clicking the link here.
Stoer Head Lighthouse Accommodation
It’s possible to book and stay at Stoer Head Lighthouse. For something remote and a little quirky along your NC500 road trip, a stay here could be something quite wonderful. The Keeper’s House has two holiday apartments, both with two twin bedrooms. The apartments sleep four people and come with fully fitted kitchens, so you can go full self-catering and truly get away from it all.
The lighthouse is a popular place to stay, so you should check availability ahead of your visit.
Other Attractions Near Stoer Lighthouse
- Suilven: an iconic mountain peak that you can see from Point of Stoer and the lighthouse.
- Achmelvich Beach: you won’t believe this stunning beach exists in the British Isles.
- Clachtoll Beach: if Achmelvich is too busy, head to this outstanding Scottish beach instead.
- Kylesku Bridge: a stunning bridge built to be sympathetic to its surroundings, and a popular stop along the NC500.
Travel Insurance For the NC500
Whether you’re from the UK or further afield, travel insurance is a necessary evil, especially if taking on a road trip like the NC500.
SafetyWing is an excellent budget-friendly travel insurance provider. Personally, Dan and I have used SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance many times to ensure our trips. The Nomad Insurance is fantastic value for money with a smaller additional cost to add a partner. Unlike most other insurance companies, there’s an option to pay on a monthly basis, similar to having a prepaid phone plan. Better yet, there’s no lock-in contract. In addition, you can cancel at any time, which will take effect the month after.
For shorter trips, it’s also possible to use Nomad Insurance for trips lasting just days or just a couple of weeks. Indeed, SafetyWing is cheaper than almost all other travel insurance policies and covers just as much and sometimes more.
SafetyWing is a modern travel insurance company that is certainly leading the way in terms of how travel insurance should work in the future.
Travel Essentials For Stoer Head Lighthouse
These are our travel essentials for visiting Stoer Lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer in Scotland. For more information on an extensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Alternatively, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip to Scotland and the North Coast 500, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket, because you know, this is still Scotland after all.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for day trips, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm when the sun drops and you want to enjoy a sunset.
You should also pack water and snacks.
- Weather: the weather doesn’t always behave in Scotland, but don’t let that put you off a quick visit to Stoer Lighthouse. You can check the forecast here.
- Visit at sunset: as Stoer Lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer sea stack sit on the northwest coast of Scotland, watching a sunset here is particularly spectacular.
- Tours and Activities of Wester Ross: if you love the more remote areas of the Scottish Highlands, but prefer the organising to be done for you, then GetYourGuide offers some pretty excellent tour options.
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