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Hiking trail recommended route

Port Ellen to Carraig Fhada Lighthouse

Hiking trail
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  • Port Ellen Bay
    / Port Ellen Bay
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Port Ellen war memorial
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The graveyard en route to Carraig Fhada lighthouse
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The bay near Carraig Fhada lighthouse
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Carraig Fhada lighthouse and passing Calmac ferry to Kennacraig
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Carraig Fhada lighthouse and narrow path out to the lighthouse across the rocks
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Port Ellen Bay
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
m 30 20 10 8 6 4 2 km
A short walk perfect for taking in the best of Port Ellen after arriving; pass by the two beaches of Port Ellen village and the Carraig Fhada lighthouse on a rocky tip at the far end of the bay.   
Distance 9.1 km
2:30 h
90 m
90 m
Walk along the edge of Port Ellen’s beaches and it’s war memorial before leaving the village behind to walk through forest on minor roads.  Head back down to the shore passed a graveyard with a commonwealth burial site to pass another beautiful white sand beach to reach the end of the track and [if the tide is out] walk along the narrow pathway and bridge to reach Carraig Fhada lighthouse.  After spending some time exploring the site return to Port Ellen the way you came.

Author’s recommendation

The beach just before the lighthouse is a great place for a picnic – the lighthouse makes for a dramatic backdrop. From here you can also watch the Calmac ferry to Kennacraig passby on it's way into or out of Port Ellen.  
Profile picture of Catherine Allan
Catherine Allan 
Update: September 17, 2018
Highest point
33 m
Lowest point
2 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Most of the route is on pavements, tracks or minor roads so please beware of traffic and step aside to let vehicles pass.  The final part of the route takes in an optional walk out to the lighthouse – tide permitting – if you decide to walk out to the lighthouse please take care as the walkway and bridge can be very slippery, especially in wet weather. 

Tips and hints


Points of Interest

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse

The lighthouse was commissioned in 1832 in honour of Lady Ellenor Campbell by Walter Frederick Campbell, and overlooks the Port Ellen's bay.  On a clear day you'll get wonderful views back to the mainland.  Keep an eye out for otters on the far side of the lighthouse - this is said to be a popular spot for them.  


Food & Drink

There is nowhere to eat or drink once you leave Port Ellen, but in the village itself there are a few places to eat and drink e.g. the Islay Hotel, and the Sea Salt Bistro.  You can also pick up provisions at the Co-Op and Spar supermarkets. 


End of Frederick Crescent (4 m)
OS Grid
NR 36541 44921
55.626280, -6.186773
55°37'34.6"N 6°11'12.4"W
29U 677118 6168077


End of Frederick Crescent

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – At the far end of Port Ellen harbour in the small car park follow the road into Port Ellen along Frederick Crescent. 

0.43 km – At the junction with Frederick Crescent with the Scottish Power building on your left-hand side continue STRAIGHT ON passing the Co-Op supermarket on your right-hand side. 

0.66 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON past the community garden on your left to reach the junction ahead then BEAR LEFT in 100 m outside the Islay Hotel to head towards the war memorial. 

0.80 km – At the small roundabout with the lamppost in the centre TURN RIGHT onto School Street. 

0.93 km – At the end of the street TURN RIGHT to follow the next bay around to the Port Ellen distillery in the distance ahead. 

1.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON between houses to reach the T-junction with Charlotte Street.  In 100 m TURN LEFT at the T-junction onto Charlotte Street.

1.60 km – TURN LEFT off the road going out of Port Ellen to walk between the distillery buildings following the signposts for Mull of Oa. 

3.20 km – At the junction after descending through trees TURN LEFT following another Mull of Oa signpost. 

3.50 km – Just after passing the graveyard on your left TURN LEFT following the signpost for the lighthouse. 

4.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON along the road passing a beach on your left-hand side. 

4.20 km – As the road becomes a gravel track continue STRAIGHT ON passing houses on your right-hand side towards to the lighthouse. 

4.90 km – At the end of the track with houses on the right-hand side and the lighthouse ahead of you can continue STRAIGHT ON to follow a narrow concrete path over the rocks to reach the Carraig Fhada lighthouse (please only use this path if the tide is out and the conditions are safe).  To return to Port Ellen just retrace your steps into the town.   

If you wish it's possible to extend this route to the Singing Sands just 400 m further on a grassy path.  Follow the wooden singing sands signpost to ascend.   

9.10 km – The route ends at the war memorial outside the Islay Hotel.  Now you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon and perhaps visit one of the big 3 distilleries; Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig.  


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NR 36541 44921
55.626280, -6.186773
55°37'34.6"N 6°11'12.4"W
29U 677118 6168077
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


This is short walk so a small rucksack with plenty of water, snacks and waterproofs in case of a sudden shower will suffice.

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Photos from others

9.1 km
2:30 h
90 m
90 m


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