- Not to be confused with Carbost near Portree on the road to Dunvegan .
Carbost (Gaelic: Càrrabost) is a small village straggling along the shore of Loch Harport in Skye, in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The main reason to come here is the Talisker Distillery. You also have to pass this way to reach the settlements of Fernilea, Portnalong, Fiscavaig, and the original Talisker over on the west coast.
Càrrabost here and in other places of that name means woodland farm.
Get in Edit
By car or bike, at Sligachan turn off A87 onto A863 west, branching onto B8009 to follow the west shore of Loch Harport.
Stagecoach Highland Bus 154 runs twice M-F from Portree via Sligachan to Carbost (35 min), Portnalong and Fiscavaig. It's basically a school bus and doesn't run in the summer holidays.
Get around Edit
You need a car, at least to keep the midges at bay.
- 1 Talisker Distillery, Carbost IV47 8SR, ☏ . Nov-Feb M-Sa 10:00-16:30, Su 10:30-16:30; Mar-Oct M-Sa 09:30-17:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Founded 1830 but completely rebuilt after a fire in 1960, the distiilery (now part of Diageo) produces a hefty, aromatic and distinctly peaty malt whisky similar to those from Islay. Tour reservations recommended in summer. Standard tour (45 min) £10.
- 2 Cnoc Glas Heila is a stubby knoll, a viewpoint easily reached from the lane off B8009 towards Portnalong.
- 3 Dun Ardtreck is a well-preserved Iron Age D-broch, a semi-circular fortified dwelling with its open side along a sea cliff. It looks to have been built around 115 BC but swiftly attacked and torched, then re-occupied around 150 AD. In spite of the name it's an easy hike from Portnalong at the end of B8009.
- 4 Fiskavaig is a straggling crofting settlement. West side of the little bay, you can still see the abandoned cottages of farm workers, recorded in 1877 as "one storey & have a wretched appearance." The name is Norse, fiskr fish, vagr bay. A Pictish engraved stone found on the beach is now in the National Museum in Edinburgh. An Iron Age shelter Uamh an Eich Bhric (cave of the speckled horse) is steadily being washed away by the sea.
- 5 Talisker, the former settlement for which the distillery is named, is 5 miles east of Carbost but you can drive to within half a mile on Carbost Hill Road. From the lane end it's a simple enough walk but better at low tide when you can get onto the beach. There's also a longer hike from the lane at Fiscavaig. Talisker House here is private, you can't visit but Dr Johnson and Boswell did so in 1773. Boswell moaned: "Talisker is the place beyond all that I have seen, from which the gay and the jovial seem utterly excluded; and where the hermit might expect to grow old in meditation, without possibility of disturbance or interruption. It is situated very near the sea, but upon a coast where no vessel lands but when it is driven by a tempest on the rocks." Clan Macleod may have agreed, as in the 1820s three dozen of them emigrated to Tasmania. Hugh MacAskill then took over the estate, evicted the remaining residents, and established the distillery on its present site in Carbost.
- 6 Dun Beag is yet another substantial broch, a drystone tower across the bay from Dun Ardtreck so you pass it on the road to Dunvegan. Coins as late as George III were found in it so it may have been occupied into the 18th century, at least as a shepherd's bothy.
- See Glenbrittle for climbs in the Cuillin to the south.
- Carbost Community Shop is open M-F 08:30-17:30, Sa 09:00-15:00, Su 09:00-13:00.
- Oyster Shed is a seafood market up the lane at the hairpin on B8009. It's open M-Sa 11:00-17:00.
- Gift and craft shops along the lane include Isle of Skye Aromatics, Lou Lou Designs, Cath Waters Gallery, On The Croft, and Grace Cottage.
- Talisker whisky is as vigorously marketed at airport "duty-free" stores as it is at the distillery, but the cheapest place to buy it is in a UK supermarket.
- The Old Inn (see "Sleep") is Carbost's only pub and restaurant; good pub grub and convivial atmosphere.
- Caora Dubh has coffee and light bites. Open daily 10:00-17:00.
- See also "Taigh Ailean" in Portnalong.
- The Old Inn (see "Sleep") is Carbost's only pub and restaurant, but note "Taigh Ailean" in Portnalong.
- Carbost Caravan Park is east end of the village.
- Skyewalker Hostel is at Portnalong two miles north of Carbost. It's in the old school huts, dorm from £20 ppn, minimum age 18, no pets. Check-in 15:00-21:00, and you need to stay out 11:00-15:00.
- 1 Taigh Ailean Hotel, Portnalong IV47 8SL (two miles north of Carbost), ☏ . It's open year-round. The bar is open Easter-Sept daily and Oct-Mar F-Su 18:00-23:00, with food served to 21:00. Dog friendly. B&B double from £60.
- 2 Marsco B&B, Carbostmore IV47 8ST (east edge of village). Three rooms en suite. B&B double £80.
- 3 The Old Inn, Carbost IV47 8SR, ☏ . Five bunk rooms in this excellent hostel overlooking Loch Harport. Large kitchen / lounge upstairs with balcony and views along the loch. Adjacent to the main inn for food and drinks. Dorm £16 ppn, B&B £45, self catering chalet £110.
As of June 2022, Carbost and its approach road from Sligachan have a mobile signal from all UK carriers, and you might manage 4G. 5G has not reached Skye.
Go next Edit
- Glenbrittle, for classic climbs and the Fairy Pools, is on a loop of road south.
- Dunvegan and Skye's north coast are reached by turning north at the A863 junction.
- Sligachan is the crossroads for anywhere else on Skye, and ferries to the island of Raasay.