The Old Man of Storr is one of the Isle of Skye’s most popular tourist attractions and an incredible iconic sight not only to the island but also to Scotland. This natural phenomenon is clearly visible (and to be honest quite difficult to miss) as you make your way north from Portree to Uig. As you head along this road it is tricky to resist pulling in to get a closer look right? So park up and brave the climb to the Storr viewpoint, you will not regret it!

Sitting proudly on the mountain top, the best view of the old man involves a (pretty steep) walk up the hill to the viewpoint and in this guide, we’re going to take you through exactly how you do this, including how long it takes and what else to look out for.

 

 

Get planning your ultimate Scotland Road Trip with our 10-day Scotland itinerary to all the best sights!

 

Old Man of Storr pinterest image

We have been up to the Old Man of Storr twice now and we doubt that will be our last time. There are so many things to do on the Isle of Skye and this is definitely one of our favourites. We have made the trip once during a summer heatwave (strange for Scotland I know), as well as once during a UK weather warning for high winds, rain and snow (more realistic weather for Scotland).

Although this weather resulted in us sleeping in the car rather than in a tent, visiting the Isle of Skye in winter meant that this tourist hotspot was a lot quieter than in the summer months. If you brave the cold like us, you will also see completely different colours to that of the summer months, a sight definitely worth seeing.

 

Also catch up with our other adventures around Scotland over on our Youtube channel and see these sights for yourself!

A Complete Guide to Visiting the Old Man of Storr

 

Before You Leave on Your Trip to the Isle of Skye

Before you leave on your trip to the Isle of Skye there are a few things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. These include how to get there and around the island, what to pack and where to stay, all of which are discussed below.

 

 

How to Get to the Isle of Skye

Drive

The Isle of Skye is connected to mainland Scotland by the Skye Bridge, a free road bridge, from Kyle of Lochalsh to the village of Kyleakin on the island. In high winds, the bridge will close to high vehicles and on days of particularly extreme weather, the bridge may close to all vehicles.

 

 

Also Read – Edinburgh to Isle of Skye Itinerary – Haggis Adventures Skye High Review

 

 

Ferry 

Another option is to get the ferry over to Skye which typically takes around 30 minutes, leaving from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale. You can check the timetables online as there is typically only a morning and afternoon ferry running.

 

Bus

If you are travelling to Skye without a vehicle, buses run from Scotland’s major cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh direct to Isle of Skye’s capital, Portree. Buses to the Isle of Skye run from other areas in Scotland and you can plan your bus journey to Skye here.

Once you are on the island, you can book onto a tour that departs from Portree and takes you around the best sights that there are to see on the island. Read more about this tour and book your place right here.

 

 

Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye

These recommendations may vary depending on what activities you are wanting to do whilst on the island. We have based these accommodations close to the centre of the island and near Portree. In the summer Portree is extremely busy and we would recommend that you look to stay elsewhere if you want to avoid the crowds and traffic.

In the winter months, however, Portree is a pleasant and central location from which it is easy to get to many of the sights around the island.

 

Luxury – If you are looking for a comfortable apartment stay to come home to after a day exploring, Quayside Apartment is the perfect place for you. With spectacular views and a good central location, this accommodation is comfort plus for your next trip to Skye.

Book your stay at the Quayside Apartments right here.

 

Mid-range – The Portree Hotel is a great central location for your stay in Skye. This hotel overlooks the main square in Portree and during the winter months, there are wood-burning stoves to keep you warm after a day of exploring.

Book your stay at the Portree Hotel right here.

 

Budget – If you are looking for a budget place to rest your head but still have a great view, The Pink House is the place to stay just for that. A continental breakfast is included in your stay and you can book a room with a great view out to sea.

Book your stay at the Pink House right here.

 

If hostels are more your scene, you can check out the hostels available in Isle of Skye here.

 

gemma looking at the old man of storr
The walk up to the Old man of Storr is definitely worth it

 

 

What to Pack for the Isle of Skye

When it comes to packing for a trip to Scotland there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your trip to the Isle of Skye in winter, you can expect rain at some point. Due to this, the number one item on your packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

Second to that, another item to not leave home without is a good pair of warm and, if possible, waterproof boots. A lot of the best sights on Skye require a bit of walking to reach them and the conditions underfoot can become very muddy. You do not want to ruin a good pair of white trainers so pack some sturdy boots.

 

With regards to staying warm, the best way to dress is always to layer up your clothing for a hike. This means that you will have a lot of protection against wind chill and also have the option to remove a layer if you get too warm. We would recommend wearing a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a thin, zippable fleece, and a waterproof jacket on top.

You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the winter months as the wind chill can be bitter.

 

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

 

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around the Isle of Skye, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

 

Photography Equipment

Main Photography Camera – Sony A7 Mirrorless Camera

Main Lens – Sony F3.5-5.6 28mm-70mm

Wide Angle Lens – Sony F2.8 16mm-35mm G-Series

Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm

Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8 

Drone Camera – DJI Spark

Camera Bag – Yahan Camera Bag

 

 

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Scotland

I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using World Nomads, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered.

 

 

Hiking to the Old Man of Storr

What is the Old Man of Storr?

The Old Man of Storr is a large standing rock on the Trotternish Ridge, a peninsula in the North-Eastern part of Skye, sitting 719m high. This world-famous landmark is located a 10-minute drive, 6.8miles of the island’s capital, Portree in the centre of the island. This incredible geological phenomenon was created thousands of years ago as a result of a massive landslide. The resulting rock features were then shaped and worn away over centuries of punishment from the harsh weather conditions in this part of the world.

Why is it Called the Old Man of Storr?

Rumour has it that the Old Man of Storr gets its name as the standing rock resembles the face of an old man. The Storr is the name for the surrounding pinnacles surrounding the Old Man.

 

view of the old man of storr
The view of the Old Man of Storr from the top

 

 

What to Pack and Wear on Your Hike

The walk up to the Old Man of Storr is steep, cutting directly up through a logging forest path. For comfort and safety, we would recommend that you wear a good pair of hiking boots to improve your grip. If there has been heavy rain, the track can become muddy and extremely slippy therefore if you have water-resistant boots, this would be the best option.

A waterproof jacket along with layers is another requirement for this walk. Depending on what the weather is like when you visit, you could experience sunshine or heavy rain. Even in the summer months, you can expect to see 4 seasons in one day on the Isle of Skye, so a warm, waterproof jacket will keep you dry and protected.

 

When you are walking up to the Old Man of Storr, we would advise you to bring a small backpack with you with the following essentials:

  • water
  • snacks
  • headtorch
  • camera
  • extra layer

 

The path up to the Old Man of Storr is visible and the walk tends to be busy with other tourists. However, we would always advise when going hiking, you take a map and compass. If you plan on heading off the beaten track it can be very easy to get lost and conditions change in this area quickly.

 

gemma walking up to the old man of storr
A warm jacket and boots are a must on the Isle of Skye

 

 

Walking Up to the Old Man of Storr

Now for the fun part, the hike up to see the Old Man.

 

Parking 

To get a closer view of the Old Man of Storr,  there is a walking trail that takes you up the hill. If you are planning on any hiking whilst you are visiting the island, this is one we would recommend.

The route is 3.8km long and starts from the main road A855, just north of Portree. This walk is well signposted and over the coming months, there will be a new car park opening which will be pay and display. At present, cars line the highway in laybys and there is no parking fee (as of Jan 2020).

Due to the increasing popularity of this natural attraction, the island is putting more infrastructure in place to make it a safer experience for those visiting.

Old man of storr car park
One of the car parks for the Old Man of Storr. This will be a lot busier in Summer

 

The Walk
The entrance to the walkway begins through the large gate beside the map. You will come across many gates on this walk, these are designed to keep deer out of this area so please make sure you close the gates behind you.
Entrance to the old man of storr
This gate is the entrance to the pathway leading up to the Old Man of Storr

 

There are two options for which route you take, a steady climb to the left, which will take a couple of hours longer and adds an extra 4km and 400m ascent onto the journey. Or you can take the steeper climb which is a lot quicker, taking approximately 45minutes to an hour each way (depending on how many times you need to stop).

Both of these routes follow a gravel path and then join together at the half waypoint. Here the walking conditions become poor as the pathway ends and the track becomes more rocky and muddy.

In the winter months, this can become extremely slippery and wet. Be careful you don’t fall. There is also a risk of stacked rocks falling from the hills if there has been heavy rainfall, so always be aware of the conditions around you.

view from the old man of storr
View over the Sound of Raasay on the walk up to the Old Man of Storr

 

When you begin to see the Old Man of Storr, keep following the trail to the right. This will take you towards the iconic viewpoint at the top where you will have the best views of the old man and the surrounding scenery.

old man of storr
The path changes from gravel and becomes more of a muddy trail

 

 

From the top, you can see out to the Sound of Raasay, as well as the Isle of Raasay and the Isle of Rona. On a really clear day, you will be able to see all the way to the Applecross peninsula on mainland Scotland. The panoramic views are out of this world from this spot.

 

Gemma and Campbell at Old Man of Storr Isle of Skye
Breathtaking views over the Old Man of Storr.

 

 

How Long Does it Take to Walk the Old Man of Storr?

If you see yourself stopping off to take some photos, admiring the view or even just stopping for a breather, we would advise allowing yourself at least 2 hours for this walk, if you take the steeper path. The alternative path that is not as steep will add 2 hours to the return loop.

Make sure you soak up that gorgeous view on the way up as well as at the top.

 

gemma and campbell sitting on a rock infront of the old man of storr
The Old Man of Storr sitting proudly on the hill

 

 

Other Sights to See on the Isle of Skye

Whilst you are in this fascinating part of the world, why not check out some of the other amazing places to see in the local area.

 

The Fairy Glen in Uig

Just outside of the small, port village of Uig is another one of Skye’s natural wonders. The Fairy Glen is a small valley that is the result of a landslip, similar to that of the Storr. The land around the glen has then been smoothed by glacial movement, which has created a mystical and breathtaking landscape.

Despite the name, there is no evidence of folklore or local tales linking the area to Skye’s fairies and it is believed that the name comes from simply how beautiful and mystical the landscape looks.

 

Read our full guide to the Fairy Glens on Skye over here for all you need to know.

 

drone shot of the fairy glens
The spectacular landscape of the Fairy Glens on the Isle of Skye.

 

 

So there you have it, your ultimate guide to The Old Man of Storr. If you are visiting this incredible place and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Did you get a clear day to see the Old Man? Did you manage the trip without getting caught in the rain? Let us know in the comments below!

Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing adrenaline experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.

If you are planning a Scotland trip soon then check out our other Scotland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your bungee jump experience and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.

 

 

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wow, what an epic scene. We have only been to Mull, which doesn’t have anywhere near this epicness. Typical Scottish weather though!

    1. highlands2hammocks

      Mull is such a beautiful place too! So glad you liked this guide.

  2. Shane

    A really useful guide, thank you.

    We’re up for sunrise visit and will share our experience with you and your visitors. Many thanks

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