Julie Scotland 15 Comments

If there was one thing we wanted to see on the Isle of Skye, it was the Old Man of Storr.

The Old Man of Storr is iconic Scotland: spiky pinnacles of rock set against the backdrop of rolling green hills and the coastline of the Isle of Skye. This image is featured in Scotland guidebooks, blog posts, and travel posters. It’s beautiful and we just had to see it.

Our Experience

We toured the Isle of Skye at the end of July, peak tourist season. During this time, crowds and rainy weather are in abundance. Cars lined the highway, overflowing from the designated car park at the trailhead to the Old Man of Storr.

Old Man of Storr Parking


As we hiked uphill towards the Old Man of Storr, clouds loomed overhead. Even so, the views across the Isle of Skye were awesome.

Old Man of Storr Hiking Trail


To get up to the Old Man, it is a constant climb. At first, the trail is wide and covered with gravel.

Hiking Old Man of Storr


Halfway up, the trail becomes a dirt trail. After it rains, the trail is very muddy and the rocks on the trail are slippery. It is not a difficult hike, but it is a slow and steady slog to the top.

Old Man of Storr Mist


Your reward, if he is not covered in mist, is coming eye to eye with the Old Man of Storr.

Old Man of Storr in the Rain

For the best view of the Old Man of Storr, continue to follow the trail along the ridge to the right. This slowly leads up to another prominence, and from here, you will get to see that iconic view.

That is, if it isn’t raining.

By the time we got up here, those looming rain clouds were dumping huge amounts of rain on us. It was also very windy. In a matter of minutes, all four of us were soaked. That view I wanted to see was almost completely hidden in the rainclouds. It was so disappointing.

Old Man of Storr Rain

Most people returned to their cars, washed away by the rain. But not us! A wee bit of rain cannot deter us!

Tim convinced us to wait around to see if the showers passed. That seems to be the trend in Scotland. But could we be patient enough? Tim, Tyler, and Kara waited out the rain under a large rock. It was the best shelter they could find in the area.

Shelter from the Rain

After waiting for over ten minutes, the rain stopped and the skies brightened. Tim was right! And now I could finally get those photos I wanted!

Tyler flew the drone while I took my photos. The big advantage of the rain is that we now had the Old Man of Storr all to ourselves. It was incredible!!

Isle of Skye in the rain

Scotland Rain

Isle of Skye Scotland

Hiking in Isle of Skye

How to Visit Old Man of Storr

Best thing to do Isle of Skye

Scotland is Green


Eager to go exploring, I climbed over the barbed wire fence at the end of the trail (since our visit, a stile has been added to the fence to make it easier to continue on the trail). I just had to see what was on the other side. This island is beautiful!

Hop the Fence

Old Man of Storr View

Our break in the rain did not last long. By the time I rejoined Tim, Tyler, and Kara, they had just finished up another epic drone flight. More misty clouds were creeping in and the next swarm of hikers were climbing up the hillside. Our timing could not have been better!

Flying the drone

Flying Drone Old Man of Storr


Tyler’s Drone Photo and Video of the Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr Drone

How to Visit the Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr is the Isle of Skye’s most popular and most photographed locations. Expect it to be very busy. The best times to visit are early in the morning and later in the day. It is the most crowded between 10 am and 3 pm.

The Old Man of Storr is located on the Trotternish Loop, 7 miles north of Portree. There is a large car park on A855. During the busy summer months, the car park may be full, making visitors park on the shoulder of the road.

Allow 1.5 – 2 hours for your visit. This is plenty of time to make the walk up, take your photos, enjoy the amazing view over the Sound of Raasay, and get back to your car.  It is a slightly strenuous climb up to the Old Man of Storr, but anyone of average fitness should do OK.

There is a hiking loop through the more scenic portions of the Old Man of Storr. We were unable to do this because of the rain. For more information, visit the Walk Highlands website.

If it has been raining, hiking shoes are advisable. The trails will be muddy and slippery, so a good pair of walking shoes is a must! Water resistant hiking shoes are ideal.

If it is raining, have patience. Rains typically do not last long in Scotland. We sat out quite a few rain storms on our visit to the Isle of Skye. Make sure you have a good rain jacket and umbrella. Most visitors flee back to their cars during the rain, leaving you on your own. There’s a silver lining to every cloud, right?

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

About our Visit:  We visited the Isle of Skye and Scotland in July 2016.

If you have any questions about how to visit the Old Man of Storr, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Scotland

PLACES TO VISIT IN THE ISLE OF SKYE: For an overview of must-have experiences on the Isle of Skye, read our article Best Things to Do on the Isle of Skye. We also have detailed guides on the Fairy Pools, the Fairy Glen, Brother’s Point, and the Quiraing.

PLACES TO GO IN SCOTLAND: Edinburgh and Glasgow are two wonderful cities to add to your Scotland itinerary. Spend a few days on the Isle of Skye, visit Glencoe, hike the Kintail Saddle, and visit Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

SCOTLAND ITINERARY: With 10 days in Scotland, visit the highlights, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Isle of Skye, and Glencoe.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide.


Planning a trip to Scotland? Read all of our articles in our Scotland Travel Guide.



Old Man of Storr on Isle of Skye


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Comments 15

  1. Avatar for Amia
  2. Avatar for Michele May
    Michele May

    Thank you for your blog and advice. I just wish you wouldn’t use a drone. As a frequent traveler and nature enthusiast, I find them so loud, invasive and ruin the experience of the natural space for the rest of us. Thankfully many beautiful places are now banning them at tourist locations. Iceland is one in particular that really cracked down on them. Part of the experience is hearing the location, the ocean, the wind, even the sheep. Please do your part to allow us to experience these beautiful places as they were intended, naturally.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I agree and we have been using our drone for those reasons less and less frequently. In this case, we were the only ones here so we were not disrupting anyone. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Katie

    Thank you for all your Scotland posts! I’m visiting Scotland for the first time this coming June, and all your posts, pictures, and videos have made me even more excited for my trip. All your posts are very informative, especially with estimated hiking times. I’m planning on the Old Man of Storr, Fairy Glen (because of your post!), and the Quiraing when I’m on Skye.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  4. Avatar for Dave

    I have some questions about your sons use drone use; Were there many others using drones? Did you get any negative feedback from other tourists/locals at the locations you visited about it being used? Drone is seems to be pretty well regulated over here in the U.S., such as not being allowed in National Parks, and while I know that there are only two in Scotland, I was curious about any limitations.

    Otherwise thanks for another great post, and kudos to Tyler on his drone-work & video!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We were the only ones with a drone (that we saw) while in Scotland. You are not permitted to fly them around castles (bummer!!) and areas with lots of people. This was in 2016 and things may have changed since then. In the last year, at many places we visited, drones are not allowed, so we have been leaving it at home. We are actually trying to find a travel destination for 2018 where we can use the drone again…we love it. I’m glad we got these shots when we did, and Tyler has such a fun time doing this. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Murni Mumuñ (@munindohoy)
    Murni Mumuñ (@munindohoy)

    I’m curious why people like to tell stories of when they broke the rule, in this case, jumping over a barbwire. I know that we bend and break the rules sometimes, but I don’t understand why people publish them. I’m really curious. Do you expect readers to do the same?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Murni. I know that hopping a fence sounds like breaking a rule, but we have done numerous hikes where climbing over a fence like this was truly part of the hiking trail (the fence is there to keep cows or sheep from roaming where they shouldn’t, not to keep people from continuing on the trail). As there was no “Keep Out” sign, I saw nothing wrong with this action. The trail clearly continued on the other side for quite a distance. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Gary Eason
        1. Avatar for Julie Post
  6. Avatar for Mrs MacKenzie
    Mrs MacKenzie

    We are visiting Skye again this year and hoping to do some more hiking. What kind of camera did you use to take these photographs? They are beautiful. I am nervous about taking my expensive camera in the rain. Did you worry about your camera getting wet?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      For these photos I used a Canon 5D Mark III. Yes, I worried about the camera getting wet. I did my best to shelter it under an umbrella, but with the wind, the camera still got wet. Fortunately, this camera is durable and somewhat weatherproof so that helped. I believe you can purchase a cover to put over your camera to keep it dry but I’ve never tried this. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Lisa - The Wandering Lens
    Lisa - The Wandering Lens

    I’m just going through all of your Isle of Skye posts, they’re so great! We arrive in Scotland tomorrow and I can’t wait to do all of these hikes 🙂
    Thanks for being honest about the hike lengths, rain showers etc. Can’t wait!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

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