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.
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.
As we hiked uphill towards the Old Man of Storr, clouds loomed overhead. Even so, the views across the Isle of Skye were awesome.
To get up to the Old Man, it is a constant climb. At first, the trail is wide and covered with gravel.
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.
Your reward, if he is not covered in mist, is coming eye to eye with the Old Man of Storr.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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
Tyler’s Drone Photo and Video of the Old Man of Storr
Plan Your Visit
The Old Man of Storr is the Isle of Skye’s most popular and most photographed location. 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?
Post updated April 2018.
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