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Look out for 'The Lookout' bothy on Skye
Look out for 'The Lookout' bothy on Skye

Look out for 'The Lookout' bothy on Skye

Phoebe Smith shows you around 'The Lookout' bothy on the Isle of Skye, featured in her book 'The Book of the Bothy'. Find out where it is, and take a look around by watching the video.

In this extract from The Book of the Bothy, Cicerone author Phoebe Smith takes us to a far-off corner of the British Isles.

'There’s something special about the Isle of Skye – the constant sea views, the layer upon layer of volcanic rock scoured into other-worldly shapes and towers. The northernmost reach is arguably one of the best spots and is home to the Rubha Hunish, a headland that seeps into the water in a jagged fringe of rock. Above, the cliffs sharply rise up in dramatic fashion, the white stone seeming to glisten as brightly as the nearby lighthouses on the Isle of Lewis. At the top of this natural tower is something manmade – a small bothy.

Built in 1928, The Lookout was just that – a former watch station for the coastguard – which accounts for the superb views out over The Minch and the Isles of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Come the 1970’s, with advances in technology, it was no longer needed and became something of spot for birders and whalewatchers. Then in 2005, during a big storm, disaster struck – all the windows were blown out and open to the elements, it wouldn’t have been long before the whole building fell into disrepair.

Enter the Mountain Bothies Association (MBA), which the landowner approached for help. They took on the building and, thanks to funds raised the place was completely renovated in the perfect retreat you see today.'


What to look out for


At the bothy there’s a chart of whales and sea mammals you might spot from the window – dolphins usually, but minke whales, orcas and even basking sharks have been spied from The Lookout. There’s even a pair of binoculars for you to use. If you walk down to the headland keep an eye out for otters too.


On the way to the bothy you’ll pass above the abandoned village of Erisco – now nothing more than a few foundation walls and piles of rocks from about eight drystone-walled buildings. It is thought to have been a crofting community established in the 1600s, but it became a victim of the clearances and was deserted by 1875.'

Did you know?

Nearby Duntulum Castle is home to a local legend that explains the building's demise. It's said that it was abandoned by the family who lived there after their young son, while in the nursemaid's care, fell from the window and died on the rocks below. After that the family left and set the neglectful nurse adrift on a small boat in the sea...

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You'll find more information about the Lookout bothy and plenty of other bothies in Phoebe's book. Discover hard-won, expert advice on how best to make use of these 'stone tents', including packing lists, bothy etiquette, best walking routes, local legends and more.

The Book of the Bothy - Front Cover

The Book of the Bothy

SALE £9.07

A celebration of 26 of the author's favourite bothies, as she shares her memories of her favourite 'stone tents' all over the UK in remote and wild locations. Packed with expert advice on how to make use of these 'free, old, empty houses', from packing lists to bothy etiquette and the best walks into these remote locations.

More information

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