Lybster Harbour, Lighthouse and Waterlines Visitor Centre

Lybster offers an excellent base for exploring the rugged northeast coast of Caithness.

Several short coastal routes can be followed. The coastal path south, which winds out of the harbour to an old lookout hut, offers excellent views of Lybster harbour with an amazing bridge on the way with panoramic views out to sea and along the coast.

There are hands on displays suitable for younger visitors and plenty to keep the adults absorbed too. There are signposted walks from the harbour area – ask about them at the gallery.

Lybster lies on the spectacular road north along the coast of Sutherland and Caithness to Wick, alongside green-topped cliffs and churning bays. Lybster harbour with octagonal harbour lighthouse (Red light occulting every 6 sec.) at its entrance was once a busy herring fishing port, and recently the old herring storage buildings have been restored and converted into a visitor centre and coffee shop. Lybster Harbour is recorded at The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

View as you drive down. A beautiful Harbour, there are various activities here throughout the year, including the world Knotty Day championships, where yacht’s from all over the world arrive! During the Summer Harbour Porpoise feed on the far side of the Bay to your left, you might see Minkes feeding just outside Lybster Harbour on several occasions. The film, The Silver Darlings, from Neil Gunn’s book, was shot here.

Waterlines Visitor Centre – Lybster Heritage Trust

After a watch you can always stop at the Lybster Heritage Trust – Waterlines Centre at the Lybster harbour for refreshments. You cannot pass through Lybster without visiting the new Waterlines Centre. You will find a visitor centre, an exhibition with hands on activities, a coffee shop and it’s suitable for wheelchairs with a lift to the second floor! This superb Heritage Centre which tells the tale of Lybster through it’s fishing industry in Lybster, at one time the third largest herring port in Scotland, and the natural heritage of the area is brought to life in a fascinating exhibition. This new Water Lines heritage centre is a fascinating educational experience where the family can enjoy discovering its unique role in the once vibrant fishing industry. Also focusing on Lybsters past as a herring port, local geology and wildlife.

Lybster is a very picturesque working sea port. It is a port that knows fishing, for many years fisher folk of the area would bring their catch to Lybster for curing. Now you can see the history of the port at Waterlines, which tells the story of Lybster.

  • Live remote CCTV on bird cliffs.
  • Heritage exhibition Natural history display and Children’s artwork area
  • Coffee shop
  • Boat building workshop and viewing area

For the active angler, naturalist, ornithologist or photographer there is a multitude of facilities both local and further afield, with castles, historical sites, lochs and rivers all within easy reach and an abundance of wildlife and countryside to explore. There are also cameras which can be controlled by the visitors to the centre. The camera’s are normally focused on bird colonies but you can scan the cliffs using them. At the end of the harbour is the lybster visitor centre and harbour lighthouse. Facilities for yachtsmen. Part of the building involves boat building section where they are working on a ‘Scaffle’ a local fishing boat from the past.

Waterlines has a superb CCTV system installed to give views of the breeding birds on the cliffs. This has the advantage of offering the visitor a real “bird’s eye view” of what is happening on the cliff and it doesn’t disturb the birds at all! The CCTV console installed in the corner of the room has a remote control system with a joystick so that you can see what you want.

The Coffee Shop supplies a range of soft drinks and delicious baking. Indoors you can see the local schoolchildren boat art and if the weather is favourable then you won’t find a nicer view than on the flagstone terrace.

Hours: Open daily May to September

Check also – Contact Lybster Harbour Visitor Centre


Waterlines Visitor Centre – Lybster Heritage Trust
Waterlines Centre Harbour Road, Lybster
Caithness KW3 6AH
Scotland, UK

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