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Old Man of Storr Walk, Isle of Skye (2024 Guide)!

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The Old Man of Storr walk on the Isle of Skye is by far one of the best hikes you can take on the island.

You’ll traverse a dramatic and rippling emerald landscape that is filled with rocky pinnacles and mountain views overlooking the Sound of Raasay. 

The entire place looks otherworldly and feels like you’re walking through a magical realm from a fairytale.

Indeed, there are a fair few folktales about the ‘Old Man’ and who he was before he turned into stone. 

Here is a complete guide for the Old Man of Storr walk on the Isle of Skye with the legends, how to visit, and what to expect! 

Old Man of Storr Walk Isle of Skye

What is the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye?

The Storr is a rocky landslip on the Trotternish Peninsula that is known as The Sanctuary.

The ‘Old Man’ is a prominent needle of rock that sticks out on the landscape and is just one part of this area.

Today, the Storr is one of the most popular hikes on the Isle of Skye, and for good reason.

It has an unusual landscape of undulating peaks and pinnacles but also panoramic views over the Sound of Raasay. 

Scientists say that lava flow and landslips caused this enchanting landscape to form and created the Old Man of Storr in the process.

But, there are many folktales that say this was once a land of magic where giants, faeries, hobgoblins, and demons used to roam. 

Old Man of Storr Wak

Old Man of Storr legends

The Trotternish Peninsula is a land shrouded in myth and legends and the Old Man of Storr is no different. 

There are many legends associated with this otherworldly land and how the Old Man was formed.

One legend is that a giant was wandering the area and suddenly he fell and died and his body was covered by the earth.

Only his thumb remains sticking out on the hills…or some believe it’s something a little more crude. 

Another is that a couple of giants were fleeing away from demons and were turned into stone by magic!

The Old Man of Storr
The ‘Old Man’ himself

Another legend is of an old man who helped a Brownie (Hobgoblin) and asked for no help in return. 

When his wife died, he died shortly after of a broken heart. So the Hobgoblin turned the couple into stone so they could be together eternally. 

The last is about malevolent faeries. The Trotternish peninsula is said to be the home of fae who delight in playing tricks on people.

This sad tale is about a couple who used to walk this path every day. Eventually, they grew old and the wife could no longer walk up the hill.

The husband was crushed as he loved to explore with her. So, the fairies offered him a bargain. They promised that she would be by his side forever and the husband was delighted!

But, he should have been wary of fae bargains. As soon as the deal was struck they were both turned to stone and here they still remain, side by side forevermore.

Whatever you decide to believe, you cannot deny that this landscape is enchanting. It’s magical and looks like an otherworldly realm.

Old Man of Storr Isle of Skye

Where is the Old Man of Storr on Skye?

The Old Man of Storr can be found on the Trotternish Peninsula which is in the far north of the Isle of Skye.

Skye is accessible by road from the mainland of Scotland and you can find it on the West Coast of the Scottish Highlands. 

The Storr area is around 7 miles from Portree which will take you around 15-20 minutes to drive. 

However, if you’re heading here from places like Kyleakin or the Skye Bridge, it’s a good 40-mile drive and will take you well over an hour! 

Old Man of Storr postcode is Portree IV51 9HX. Click here for a Google Pin! 

Old Man of Storr Walk

How to visit Old Man of Storr

Visiting the Old Man of Storr is easiest by car on Skye and there is lots of parking found around the site. 

After you’ve parked up, you will need to take the Storr trail for around an hour to reach the pinnacles and viewpoint. 

The Storr area can be accessed via the A855 road that loops around Trotternish. So, it’s easy to hike the trail and visit other attractions in this area afterward.

If you’re not driving around the Isle of Skye, there is the option to cycle to the start of the trail.

Old Man of Storr bus: There is a Stagecoach Bus service that runs from Portree and can drop you off at the start of the trail. The 57 bus service does a loop around the Trotternish Peninsula and has stops at most major attractions.

Old Man of Storr walk

Old Man of Storr parking options

There is now a large car park that has been set up near to the start of the Old Man of Storr walk which is very convenient. It has space for 140 cars.

On my last visit, it was all off-road parking and a bit manic but now it is very organised and secure.

Fair warning, this car park can fill up quickly and reserving a parking space is not an option (yet).

If you wanted to do the walk in the morning, I would get here early to guarantee a parking space. The car park can be full by 10 am, especially in summer months. 

Old Man of Storr parking prices are £5 for up to 6 hours and £7 for up to 12 hours. You can pay by cash, contactless card payment, or the Ringo App.

Payment only applies from 8 am – 8 pm. Parking outside of these times is free of charge.

Note: Campervans are not allowed to park in the new Old Man of Storr car park due to height restrictions. You must park on the roadside nearby. Prices for motorhomes are the same.

Old Man of Storr car park

How long does the Old Man of Storr walk take?

Due to the steep terrain, it will take you around 1 hour to reach the upper Storr viewpoint from the car park.

So, I would allow at least 1-2 hours for the Old Man of Storr walk. It actually took closer to 3 hours for me as I kept taking photos and admiring all the magical views.

You could do this hike in less time but it would be a bit rushed and you wouldn’t leave yourself enough time to appreciate the views. 

Also, crowds should be taken into consideration. The Storr is the most popular hike on the Isle of Skye so it could be busy on the trails.

Old Man of Storr hike

Is the Old Man of Storr a difficult hike?

I wouldn’t say it’s very difficult but I definitely found this walk a challenge. It was mainly due to the super steep gradients and all the stone steps which I feel should be classed as moderate.

However, I was born with hip dysplasia and have terrible balance so hiking lots of steep steps wasn’t comfortable.

I have no regrets though. The enchanting, otherworldly views of this hike more than made up for any aches.

In recent years, this trail has improved massively. Honestly, the Skye Highland Council and their partners have done a cracking job. 

There are now two gravel paths that lead you up to the Old Man of Storr viewpoint. One is a little easier with information boards and one is quicker but steeper and moderate.

Old Man of Storr

The path up to the pinnacles of the Storr and the upper viewpoint now has a dedicated footpath that is easy to follow and stone steps as opposed to steep muddy tracks.

Not only does this new trail protect the landscape but it also makes it so much easier to navigate and ultimately safer to traverse. 

That being said, you will still need proper hiking boots or walking shoes. It’s still very uneven terrain. 

The steps have been cut into the rock so these are tall and bumpy not to mention there are hundreds of steps to traverse. If it’s raining, be very careful as it can be slippery.

I would bring walking poles if you need them. I used poles for the very first time here and it made a massive difference for me, especially on the way down.

Old Man of Storr trail
It’s a steep hike with lots of steps

Storr hiking directions

So, the Old Man of Storr trail is pretty straightforward and comes in three parts;

  • The hike from the car park to the lower Storr viewpoint 
  • The steps up to the Storr pinnacles
  • The walk through the needles to the upper Storr viewpoint 

There are two trail options for the lower viewpoint, one easy and one moderate.

Then, it turns into one set path for all that will lead you up to the needles and the upper viewpoint.

I’ll provide some detailed Storr hiking directions below to let you know what you can expect. 

Old Man of Storr Isle of Skye

Discovery Route vs. Direct Route 

Once you reach the start of the Old Man of Storr trail from the car park, there is a fork in the road with two walking options;

  • Discovery Route (left) – an easier path with information boards and viewpoints to discover more about the Old Man of Storr. There are lochs and scenic viewpoints (30-40 minutes)
  • Direct Route (right) – this is the original path that leads you directly there. It’s very steep and is considered a moderate trail due to the incline and terrain (20-30 minutes). 
Old Man of Storr discovery route

Personally, I opted for the less difficult route on the left.

Although it is a longer loop around, I found it so much easier than the older steeper route I took before.

There are some beautiful small lochs that reflect the mountain range and viewpoints that look over Loch Fada and Loch Leathan.

Views of Loch Fada

The information boards are great and give you lots of information about what you’re seeing and the history. It makes the walk more enjoyable in my opinion. 

Now, although it’s less steep, it is still quite a tough walk-up with some inclines.

But, take your time. The information boards and viewpoints all make great places to catch your breath! 

Old Man of Storr easy route
Old Man of Storr Loch

Old Man of Storr viewpoint (lower)

Whichever path you decide to take, they will both eventually lead you to the lower Old Man of Storr Viewpoint.

This is a large area that allows you to see the Old Man and the Pinnacles of The Storr from below. There is also another information board with more information.

At this point, you can take in the views and turn back to the car park. Or, you can carry on the walk and head up to see the Old Man of Storr up close and the upper viewpoint.

If you can, I would recommend completing the hike up as the views you get up there are magical and some of the best in all of Scotland. 

Old Man of Storr Viewpoint
Old Man of Storr Viewpoint (lower)
Old Man of Storr walk
Steps up to the Storr pinnacles, Old Man, and upper viewpoints

Hiking to the Old Man and Storr Pinnacles

So, if you’re ready to head up, you’ll need to walk through the gate and then start climbing up the many stone steps to the top. 

These ‘steps’ have been cut into the rock and are more like boulders so they are quite steep and uneven. 

If it’s raining these can get quite slippy and mucky. So, tread carefully.

Eventually, you’ll turn a corner and start to see the pinnacles and the Old Man of Storr come into view. 

Old Man of Storr walk
Old Man of Storr
Old Man of Storr

Seeing the needles in photos or from below is one thing but seeing them up here is mind-blowing! 

They are HUGE and you can’t quite believe that what you’re seeing is real. Especially with the views of the mountains and the lochs below. 

Many people climb up these needles but they are so tall and fragile. I would always err on the side of caution. 

Once you’ve had fun exploring the Old Man, you can then end the hike with a walk up to the upper viewpoint. 

Old Man of Storr Walk
Old Man of Storr

The upper Storr viewpoint 

The set trail will lead you through the pinnacles and onwards where you can then climb up to the very last point of the hike.

The views of The Storr always get better the higher you go up.

This plateau at the upper viewpoint is where you can get that famous postcard-worthy view which you see in photos.

Old Man of Storr
Path to the upper viewpoint
Old Man of Storr walk

From the top, you can see a panorama of the Old Man of Storr, the dramatic mountainous landscape, and beyond towards the lochs and rolling hills of Skye.

I had attempted this walk once years ago and failed due to bad weather, so I felt quite emotional to finally make it here.

This walk may be easy to many but for me, it was very difficult. I felt pretty proud of myself as I’ve always put it off due to my hip dysplasia.

It was especially enchanting seeing the sunset with all the fairytale colours in the sky along with this magical landscape.

I’ll never forget how special this moment was for me and I’ll cherish it forever.

Old Man of Storr Walk Isle of Skye
Old Man of Storr Walk

Is the Old Man of Storr worth it?

Yes, seeing the Storr on Skye is definitely worth it. Not only is it one of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye but it’s also one of the best panoramas in all of Scotland.

There are many ways you can see the Old Man but I would recommend completing the trail if you can.

Although challenging, the views you get from up here are out of this world and you will feel like you’re walking through a fantasy film set.

Don’t skip the Old Man of Storr walk on the Isle of Skye. It’s an unforgettable adventure. 

Old Man of Storr Walk

Old Man of Storr opening times and ticket prices

Hiking the Old Man of Storr is completely free on the Isle of Skye but you do have to pay for parking.

The Storr is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can visit any time you like. 

Sunrise or sunsets are particularly beautiful here but be prepared to hike there or back in the dark!

Old Man of Storr

What’s the best time to visit the Old Man of Storr?

The busiest months for the Isle of Skye are July and August and the busiest days are usually weekends.

If you can, I would opt to visit Skye in the shoulder seasons of Spring or Autumn as it’s less busy.

The best time of day to visit the Storr would be early in the morning. This not only guarantees a parking space but also the best conditions. 

The Old Man of Storr can see four seasons in one day and has a habit of clouding over/misting up later in the afternoon. So, the morning may be best for visibility.

I would always recommend checking the weather before you set out for this hike and choose a clear day.

Both times I have attempted this hike, I have gone at sunset in the summer months. It’s always a risk with conditions but this time it really paid off.

I set off around 8.30 pm and managed to catch the sunset at the top around 10 pm! There was barely anyone on the paths and the colours in the sky were like a fairytale.

I did have to hike back down all those steps in low lighting but luckily it didn’t get fully dark until midnight!

Do I recommend that? Not really. But, it depends on the sky that day. If it’s clear, it’s perfect and you could get some lovely colours for photos.

Old Man of Storr

Is there anywhere to eat near the Storr?

There isn’t an official restaurant or café at the Old Man of Storr. But, in summer, there is a kiosk you can visit.

It’s called Storr View Coffee and serves up a variety of coffees, teas, and cold drinks. They also have some homemade cakes and light bites too. 

I had an iced coffee here and it was giving me life! I was so tired exploring the Isle of Skye so caffeine was needed in my veins. 

You can find it on the A855. There is limited parking here and you can only use it to visit the café. You can’t leave your car here to hike.

The parking area has a great view of the Storr and it makes the perfect stop if you’re not planning to walk up.

If you wanted food for the hike, I would recommend packing a lunch to take with you.

There are bakeries and Co-Op supermarkets in Portree that have take-away sandwiches, bottled drinks, snacks, etc.

Old Man of Storr trail

My top tips for the Old Man of Storr walk

  • Visit early – for the best chance of parking, fewer crowds, and better conditions it’s best to go early morning to the Storr.
  • Check the weather – although not always the case, it can cloud over at the Storr making the trail have very poor visibility. Try to wait for a clear day and stay safe.
  • Come prepared for all weathers – the Isle of Skye can see four seasons in one day. Bring layers and a waterproof as the conditions can change in an instant. 
  • Wear ankle-supporting shoes – this is a steep hike with lots of uneven terrain. Wear sensible shoes with traction. 
Old Man of Storr Walk
  • Consider walking poles – I found the steps here quite challenging. Trekking poles made a big difference on the way down. 
  • Wear DEET – there are lots of midges here on Skye, especially in the warmer months. Have some bug spray with you.
  • Bring snacks and water – there is a coffee van near the Storr but I would have snacks or food with you. The closest supermarkets would be the Co-Ops in Portree. Take all rubbish with you though.
  • Stick to the pathways – there are new and improved pathways for this walk. Stick to the designated path to protect and respect the environment.
Old Man of Storr

What is the best view of the Old Man of Storr?

If you didn’t fancy hiking the Old Man of Storr but wanted to see an amazing view from the road, I would recommend stopping at Loch Fada

There are other viewpoints around the Storr area but this view is by far the best as you can see the Old Man clearly in the distance as well as the dramatic landscape of The Sanctuary.

There is some limited off-road parking when you arrive and you can get out and take a quick photo.

Just down the road, you can check out Bride’s Veil Falls. A small scenic cascade that is a lovely place to relax. 

Loch Fada Isle of Skye Storr viewpoint
View of the Old Man from Loch Fada

Where to next on the Isle of Skye?

The Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye has the most dramatic scenery you can find on the island.

After your Old Man of Storr walk, I would recommend heading up to Lealt Falls. There are two panoramic viewpoints where you can see the waterfall cascade down the hills.

Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls is a beautiful viewpoint where you can see a gorgeous waterfall on the cliffs and the bizarre patterns in the rock.

There is the Dinosaur Museum nearby as there is evidence that prehistoric creatures used to roam this area. You can see real Dinosaur Footprints left behind on An Corran Beach in Staffin.

Quiraing Isle of Skye
Duntulm Castle
The ‘sea window’ at Duntulm Castle

The Quiraing is another moving landslip that has otherworldly and bizarre formations in the landscape.

There is a viewpoint near the car park or you can do a hike to explore the area and make a side tour to The Needle if you’re feeling brave.

I really loved visiting Duntulm Castle which was a ruin perched by the sea and the Skye Museum of Island Life is also lovely with the Memorial to Flora MacDonald. 

The Fairy Glen is my favourite place on Skye. An emerald glade that looks like a fantasy film set!

You can explore the ruins of Castle Ewan, take a walk around this magical place, and make a wish to the fae in the fairy circle.

Fairy Glen Scotland Isle of Skye
Fairy Glen

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye 

There are many places that you can base yourself on the Isle of Skye but most opt for the colourful harbour town of Portree.

Accommodation on Skye is limited so it’s best to reserve your stays around 3-6 months in advance for the best availability and rates.

I stayed in the wonderful Elfin Cottage which is a lodge just outside of Portree. It was quite remote and had a portrait window overlooking the countryside. 

If you have the budget, I would recommend the spectacular Cuillin Hills hotel. It has an incredible view of the Portree and looks like a dream with its panoramic restaurant! 

Portree Colour House Viewpoint

Old Man of Storr FAQs

Are there toilets at the Storr? There are some free and clean public toilets below the Old Man of Storr parking area on the A855 road. 

What is the Old Man of Storr famous for? The Storr is one of the most photographed landscapes in the world, it’s famous for its pinnacles that jut out from the dramatic landscape of the Trotternish Peninsula. 

Did the Old Man of Storr fall? Yes, there is a legend that the Storr was a giant who was walking in this area and suddenly fell over and died! The earth now covers him and what’s left is the lone pinnacle we see today. Some say it’s his thumb…but that’s the polite version!

How high is the Old Man of Storr? It’s 719 metres above sea level or 2,359 feet.

Can you see the Old Man of Storr from the road? Yes, via Loch Fada and driving close to the Storr area. There are many viewpoints along the road.

Is the Old Man of Storr dog friendly? Yes, dogs are allowed on the Storr hike.

Old Man of Storr

Read more of my Isle of Skye guides

Visit the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye

A complete guide for the Fairy Glen 

Visit the Portree Colourful Houses viewpoint

The legend of the Fairy Bridge on Skye

How to visit Eilean Donan Castle for Free

The best view of Eilean Donan Castle

Visiting Manuela’s Wee Bakery 

Save the Old Man of Storr walk for later! 

Old Man of Storr Walk Isle of Skye Scotland