Photo story: The Old Man of Storr trek in Isle of Skye

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
It’s quite beautiful.

I’d encourage all visitors to go on the Old Man of Storr trek in Isle of Skye. The path is relatively easy to walk, and traverses some beautiful scenery along the way. You get to meet sure-footed sheep nibbling away at grass patches, and stoic looking rocks that line the terrain. None of the sights can be as powerful as the Old Man, which lives right on The Storr.

According to Wikipedia, The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternishpeninsula of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The hill presents a steep rocky eastern face overlooking the Sound of Raasay, contrasting with gentler grassy slopes to the west.prime example of the Trotternish landslip, the longest such feature in Great Britain. It is the type localityfor the mineral gyrolite. The area in front of the cliffs of the Storr is known as the Sanctuary. This has a number of weirdly shaped rock pinnacles, the remnants of ancient landslips.

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye carpark
Here’s where we parked. There are plenty of spaces.

About The Old Man of Storr trek in Isle of Skye

  • Distance: About 4km there and back
  • Minimum Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Parking: Along the A855 – you can park alongside the road.
  • Path: Flat at first then the gradient increases. Steps and rocky paths. Good hiking shoes are a plus.
  • Dog friendliness: Dogs should be reasonably fit
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
It was a rather depressing start – the clouds were heavy with rain.

We arrived on a balmy morning, after a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast at the Bosville Hotel. The Old Man of Storr is a short 15 minute drive from Portree along the A855, easily identified on Google Maps. As you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a stream of cars. It should easy to find a parking space.

When we arrived, the sky looked threatening, like the clouds were about to unleash a heavy downpour soon. We hoped that we would not have to pull out an umbrella on the way up. Did not seem like what experienced hikers would have done.

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
The up slope. It wasn’t too bad.

The start of the walk was tiring. I had not exerted the body since the walks in Glencoe, and the initial up slope was pretty daunting. It reminded me of the trek up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. But there was some incentive to go fast. We wanted to cover as much of the trek before it started raining.

Felled trees at The Old Man of Storr

Along the way, we passed by several felled trees. It made me feel sad because these trees were not that old to begin with. But according to the sign below, the trees were felled so as to restore the native broadleaved species, which is better for the environment and for wildlife. I did some research on the Storr Native Woodland Project and will cover this in a separate blogpost.

storr native woodland project
Reason for the felled trees at Storr
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
It was quite depressing to see so many trees cut down

On the way up

As shared, parking is not really an issue as one can park by the side of the road. They seem to have catered to the long stream of cars, as seen below.

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
The long line of cars.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
It gets longer as you go up.

It started to rain

Halfway, it started drizzling, and then it rained. It was fine because we had waterproof jackets. The main concern was the softness of the ground, but it held up.

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Almost there – and it started raining.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
The photo could have been better if it was not raining.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Was a great challenging walking around with rain pelting one’s face.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Some of the rocks can get pretty steep

At the top!

Finally we reached the top, but did not climb up to the level of the Old Man. It was raining quite heavily then, and the path was pretty rugged. Apart from the Old Man, the sights around were pretty good!

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Here we were! This was the furthest we could have gone cos the rest required some form of scrambling, and it was raining pretty heavily.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Nice little cavity filled up by water. Not sure if it’s safe to be swimming inside though.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
One with the sea and skye.
trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Like a scene from Lord of the Rings.

As we prepared to descend, the weather got better.

trekking the old man of storr isle of skye
Looking at the Old Man, in better weather.
old man of storr isle of skye
Hanging by a pile of rock.

View of Loch Lethan

loch leathan isle of skye
If you walk 500m into a side path you get quite a view of Loch Lethan

When we were on our way down from The Old Man of Storr, we took a divergent path which led us to better views of Loch Lethan, a little lake just right next to the inner seas of the West Coast of Scotland. It’s interesting to see a freshwater lake right next to a sea, separated by just a short stretch of land mass. I’d encourage you to take that path.

old man of storr isle of skye
There’s a little loch easily viewed from the Old Man of Storr.

Little lambs

lambs old man of storr isle of skye
Some of them have bright colours of blue and orange imprinted on their coats too.

I found it quite interesting to see that the trek is peppered by little lambs, who are unfazed by the cold winds and persistent drizzle. There’s not much place to hide from the rain, and these little sheep continue grazing despite getting pelted by raindrops.

lambs old man of storr isle of skye
Check them out – what a heavy coat.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

If not for that bout of rain, the trek would have been very enjoyable. It’s not taxing on the legs or on one’s physical endurance. Just a leisurely walk up with many things to see. I do advice you to bring a poncho and a good pair of hiking shoes nonetheless, as the drizzle is intermittent and the ground can get quite wet. Do take the divergent path off to see Loch Lethan too. To me, it’s quite a geographical marvel.

old man of storr isle of skye
Towards the end, the path smoothens out.

As for the Old Man of Storr, the views from (almost) the top were really beautiful. It’s nice to see a little lagoon of sorts in the middle of the rocky terrain. Do persevere, but I do not recommend scrambling up especially if it just rained as the slope was pretty steep.

old man of storr isle of skye
Pile of rocks, a sign that you’ll be back again.

Enjoy the hike! Do share your experiences in the comments section below!

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