Icon of the Isle of Skye, the Old Man of Storr is a pinnacle standing on a steep rocky hill.
Want to admire it?
Below is my guide with the best viewpoints to see and photograph the Old Man as well as tips about the Old Man of Storr hike, the most famous short hike on the island.
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The Old Man of Storr Skye - An icon
On the Isle of Skye, the Storr section of the Trotternish ridge reaches 719m (2359ft).
Its most iconic feature is the Old Man of Storr, a tall pinnacle overlooking the East of the island and standing like a protector.
It is one of the top places to see on the Isle of Skye (see my complete guide) and one of the top Scotland attractions.
Old Man of Storr - Facts
- Old man of Storr HEIGHT
48m (160feet) - According to the information at the beginning of the walk, its height is "the same as eleven double decker buses stacked on each other!"
- Storr's LEGEND
Several legends surround the monolith about devil, giants and broken heart (like many legends lol) - One of the enduring stories is that the pinnacle is the thumb or a giant buried in the Earth
- NAME - why is it called the Old Man of Storr?
Its Scottish name is Bodach an Stor. The Storr is actually the highest point on the Trotternish ridge above the pinnacle, hence the name 'old man of Storr'
The Trotternish ridge is the longest geological landslip in Great Britain. The area is composed of ancient lava flows. The pinnacle is thought to be the remains of an ancient volcanic plug from the Tertiary period. (Learn more on the geocaching page)
And below is a short video showing you the Old Man of Storr from road A87 and A855:
More photos and info after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS - The Old Man of Storr, Scotland
How to get to the Old Man of Storr from Portree
- I really don't recommend exploring the Isle of Skye without a car. Public transportation is limited.
- The carpark for the Old Man of Storr walk is 15 min North of Portree on A855, after driving past 2 small lochs (Loch Fada and Loch Leathan).
- Portree to Old Man of Storr carpark = 6miles (10km)
- There is a small parking area at the beginning of the hike
- However the pinnacle, if not in the clouds, can be seen a long time before from road A87 to Portree and past the parking from A855.
- Stop #7 on my Isle of Skye Map
The GPS coordinates of all locations in this article, practical maps and info are available on both my Travel Guides eBooks that help you easily plan your road trip around Scotland:
Admiring the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye
- Actually the view from the carpark is the worst one. As you will see below, the view from Loch Fada is one of the best, as well as the view from the North.
- No facilities at the parking. It is small and you have to park along the road when it gets full. The Old man of Storr walk is very popular (see below in the article for more information).
- You need good footwear to explore at the top of the walk.
- When the fog is thick, it might not be worth doing the walk. But the weather can change quickly.
- I recommend bringing binoculars to better enjoy all the details in the ridge. You can check out my guide about choosing the best binoculars for you
- How long does it take to walk up the Old Man of Storr?
It takes 1 to 2h to complete the return walk to the pinnacle, it depends on you level of fitness (uphill)
Plan longer to reach further views with the pinnacle and the sea.
- Can you see the Old Man of Storr from the road?
Yes, but not from the carpark.
There are other locations to best see it such as Loch Fada, almost the drive to Portree. The only condition to see it is the weather. It is often covered by clouds.
See many pictures in the following article.
- Where is the Old Man of Hoy?
Don't mix up the 2 structures. The Old Man of Hoy is a seastack in the Orkney Islands
- Have I seen the Old Man of Storr in movies?
Yes it was featured in Prometheus and The Wickerman. And in the TV show Game of Thrones.
The Old Man of Storr views from the road to Portree
If the clouds are not covering it, the Old Man of Storr Skye can be seen from far away. As you are driving to Portree, the ridge and pinnacle appear in front of you. You cannot miss it. And it is easy to understand why it is one of the top things to do in Skye island.
However sometimes the clouds do not collaborate and cover the icon of the Isle of Skye.
Drive Portree to the Old Man of Storr - Viewpoint at Loch Fada
Once you drive past Portree, get on A855.
Up to Staffin, this is a 2-lane road, easy to drive. You can see the pinnacle getting closer. As my father noticed: "there was no book called 'Obelix on the Isle of Skye'..."
In terms of geology, the Storr mountain is 300 meter thick with around 24 layers of volcanic rock. It formed between 61 and 55 million years ago. During the ice age, glaciers ground their way downhill.
Sadly around here there are not many places to stop by the road without disturbing the traffic, except by the loch as we will see below.
From Loch Fada
For photographers, one of the best spots to shoot the Old Man of Storr is around the 2 lochs. Especially on a zero wind day, I have seen great pictures with reflections.
Google says the first Loch is named Loch Fada.
Near Loch Leathan
Just a little bit further on the road, there is another loch.
Near Loch Leathan (Name of the second loch according to Google), the angle to capture the Old Man of Storr Skye is great.
The Old Man of Storr Walk - Map and Tips
The Old Man of Storr walk is one of the most famous and busiest hikes on the isle of Skye.
About the walk
It starts at the official carpark (which is fast full so you will have to park along the road). You cannot miss it, you will see many cars and a gate to start the walk.
- You can either take the direct Storr Path or walk the Lochan loop that goes around a small loch and gives other perspectives of the ridge - you can see both paths on the map to the right
- The direct path to the Old Man of Storr Skye is 1km long (0.62mi) with a 250m ascent (820ft). The return walk requires 1 to 2 hours.
- A longer hike is possible all the way to the top of the Storr mountain (see further below).
- For photographers, the best time to complete the hike is at sunrise.
- When climbing the Old Man of Storr Skye path from the parking, you actually can't see the pinnacle. The beginning is steep but regular and with good footing.
- There are several gates to cross along the way. Don't forget to close them!
Then the path is almost straight towards the Storr.
Once at the top you can perfectly see the pinnacle. Be careful, if you want to get to the foot of the Old man of Storr Skye, the area is steep and not as stable. Wear appropriate shoes.
And you can continue climbing to take one of the most famous pictures on the Isle of Skye. I did not hike there, so here is a photo from Pixabay taken at sunrise. The loop to the summit of the Storr mountain is 8km (5 miles) with an ascent of 640m (2100 ft).
Photo from Pixabay - Old man of Storr at sunrise
Best views and spots to photograph Storr, North of the carpark
Once you drive past the parking and drive further towards Kilt Rock and Staffin, you get more views of the pinnacle (don't forget to look behind you!). On this side you see more of the other rock formations surrounding it.
From the side of the road
Those photos were taken just stopping along the road a short drive after the parking.
From Tobhta Uachdrach
A stop further on A855 with a small carpark and a walk to see the cliffs. When you turn around you can also spot the Old Man of Storr Skye.
I like how it is a simple rocky line and only this monolith stands out
For more information about the things to do on the island, where to stay and other tips, head to my Isle of Skye Travel Guide.
Want to see more? Here are other amazing things to do on the Isle of Skye:
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