The Old Man of Storr is an iconic landmark on the Isle of Skye with a towering pinnacle of rock perfectly set among the landscapes of the Trotternish Peninsula. Here’s how to get the best views of the Old Man of Storr.
The Old Man of Storr is the most photographed landscape on the Isle of Skye and one of the best places to visit in the UK.
Situated on the Trotternish Peninsula, this spectacular 160 ft pinnacle of basalt was left behind after an ancient landslide swept the rest of the hillside away. Believed to be a volcanic plug, today it is just one element in an array of fantastic geological features set between a dramatic cliff face and the sea.
There are several places to get great views, but the most iconic require walking along the Old Man of Storr Trail. The trail takes about 1.5 hours round trip. It is not that long but the steady climb requires a bit of puff. The rewards however are magnificent.
In this guide we cover our favourite viewpoints, details about walking the Storr Trail and maps to help you find your way on one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye.
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OVERVIEW OF THE OLD MAN OF STORR TRAIL
The Old Man of Storr Trail begins and ends at the Old Man of Storr car park. The first views are visible after walking for around 20 minutes. But it’s worth walking past the pinnacle and up to the main viewpoint – a rocky outcrop and the best location to get the iconic photos. It is 2.1 kilometres (1.3 miles) from the car park and takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The hike is a steady slog straight up the side of a hill. It is not a particularly interesting path, but the views when you get to the top are worth it. The return to the car is along the same path, but it’s downhill, so it only takes around 30 to 45 minutes.
The path is mainly stony and straightforward, although the middle section can be rocky and sometimes muddy after heavy rain.
OLD MAN OF STORR HIKE DETAILS
Old Man of Storr Car Park
2.1 kilometres (1.3 miles) each way, 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles) round trip
1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes round trip
Medium – Short but steady climb
MAP OF THE OLD MAN OF STORR TRAIL AND VIEWPOINTS
Below is a map of the Old Man of Storr Trail. The most iconic views of the Old Man of Storr are at the end of the walk – marked 3 on the map below.
OLD MAN OF STORR CAR PARK
The Old Man of Storr is on the eastern side of the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye. The car park for the Storr trail is 7 miles or a 15-minute drive north of Portree on the A855.
The car park is pay and display and, although it’s been enlarged in recent years, can still fill up quickly. There are public toilets and an information desk in the car park.
OLD MAN OF STORR TRAIL INSTRUCTIONS
The Storr Trail begins on the A855 just south of the Old Man of Storr Car Park and toilets. The newly laid gravel steadily climbs through a forest that has been cut down to remove exotic coniferous trees and encourage native broadleaved species. Until the new ones grow it’s a fairly bleak scene.
Ignore the paths that split off to the left and keep climbing straight up the hill.
After about thirty minutes, the Storr Trail rises out of the dead forest, through a wooden gate, and over the crest of the hill to reveal the Old Man of Storr standing in front of the towering cliffs of the Trotternish peninsula. It’s the first good view of the pinnacle – marked 1 on the map above.
The path is now a mix of a laid staircase and a stony path as it climbs towards the pinnacle. Be careful to keep an eye on your feet here as it can be rocky. Ideally, wear shoes with good grip or walking boots.
Ignore a couple of trails splitting off to the left and keep heading uphill aiming for just to the right of the pinnacle. The trail passes under the right-hand side of the 160ft rock, before bending round the back of it.
Once you are behind the pinnacle turn right and stop at a narrow gap between the escarpment and a large rock. There is another fine view of the Old Man of Storr, looking back from the way you came – marked 2 on the map.
Continue to head uphill keeping the escarpment cliff face close on your left-hand side. After about five minutes the trail splits. At the junction turn right and head off to a rocky promontory. It is from here the most iconic views of the Old Man of Storr can be seen – marked 3 on the map.
It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to this viewpoint from the Old Man of Storr Car Park and about 30 to 45 minutes to return along the same trail.
The path is not that hard but climbs steadily offering little rest. So make sure you take regular stops and soak in the views.
LOCH FADA VIEW OF THE OLD MAN OF STORR
The best and most iconic view of the Old Man of Storr is at the end of the Storr Trail. But there is another excellent viewpoint right next to the road that does not require any hiking. It can easily be visited when you are driving to or from the Old Man of Storr Car Park.
Four miles north of Portree on the A855 (3 miles south of the Old Man of Storr Car Park) stop at the small lay-by beside Loch Fada. Take the short path over the wooden stile with a sign saying, “fishing zone” to the edge of the lake.
From here there is a lovely view across the water of the Old Man of Storr and the escarpment behind it.
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING THE OLD MAN OF STORR
What makes the Storr walk so special are the views of the pinnacle set amongst the otherworldly landscape of the Isle of Skye. The whole trail is a wonderful spot for photography. Here are some tips for getting the best shots:
- Walk all the way to the main viewpoint. The rocky promontory may look a long way when you first see it, but the views are worth it.
- Try to come on a clear still day, it’s never fun fighting the wind and rain.
- The best time to photograph the Old Man of Storr is at dawn when the sun rises over the sea and lights up the pinnacle and cliff face.
- Drones are permitted but it’s a popular location so keep an eye out for other drone operators.
- Don’t miss the wonderful views over Loch Fada; right by the road, almost no effort is required.
THINGS TO DO NEAR OLD MAN OF STORR
There are loads of great things to do in the Isle of Skye, many are nearby on the Trotternish peninsula and can easily be included on a day trip.
Quiraing – Another part of the Trotternish Peninsula formed by giant landslips, the Quiraing is the only section still moving today. This strange land of rocky shapes, contorted pillars and buttresses of eroded lava have slipped off the side of the mountain to create an other-worldly scene of pinnacles, ridges, cliffs and lakes that appear to be marching towards the sea. The Quiraing Walk is one of our favourites in the UK.
Portree – Perched on cliffs above a harbour, colourful Portree is the capital of the Isle of Skye and the largest town on the island. It was created as a fishing village at the beginning of the 19th century and today it’s a popular tourist destination with a busy harbour used for both fishing and leisure boats.
Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls – The basalt columns of Kilt Rock form a dramatic cliff face that resembles a pleated kilt overlooking the sea. The 55-metre Mealt Falls which plunges over the cliffs is one of the most scenic attractions on the Isle of Skye.
Fairy Glen – Fairy Glen is an area of natural rock formations, small cone-shaped hills and grass-framed ponds giving it a whimsical appearance. Created from a landslip similar to the event which formed Quiraing, Fairy Glen is like a mini version of the much larger geological feature.
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