To outsiders, it may seem like nothing more than a rocky hill, but The Old Man of Storr is one of the most popular attractions on the Isle of Skye. In fact, scratch that. It is one of the most popular attractions in Scotland. Every year, countless people make the journey between Ulg and Portree to enjoy this stunning sight. The best part? It is 100% free to look at.
While you may be able to see The Old Man of Storr from a considerable distance away, we are sure that you will want to get up close and personal with it. It is a tricky walk, but we are going to help you to get there in the absolute best possible way. We will even introduce you to some of the other sights along the way.
If you can, we encourage you to head to the Old Man of Storr during the winter months. Yes, you are going to have to brave the north Scottish weather. However, we can assure you that there will barely be anybody around, and it makes everything much more enjoyable.
Visiting The Old Man Of Storr
Just What Is The Old Man Of Storr?
The Old Man of Storr is a large rock formation. It can be found in the Northern-Eastern part of the Isle of Skye. Standing at over 700-metres high, you are able to see it from a considerable distance away. The Old Man of Storr has been standing tall and proud for thousands of years, having been initially created by a landslide.
In order to reach the Old Man of Storr, the best place to start is in Portree. This can be found in the middle of the Isle of Skye. Although, since the island is fairly small, you will just have a 10-minute drive ahead of you, although the walk up to The Old Man of Storr can take a little bit longer if you want to see it up close.
How Did The Old Man of Storr Get Its Name?
Humans have a habit of naming things based on what they look like. It is said that the Old Man of Storr has the face of an old man. The ‘Storr’ part is the rest of the rocks that surround The Old Man. In fact, the entire rocky outcrop is simply called ‘The Storr’. Only one rock gets the name ‘The Old Man’.
What Should You Take To The Old Man Of Storr?
If you are just viewing from the road, then nothing. The Old Man of Storr isn’t too far from civilisation. If you are planning on walking up to the rock, then you will need hiking boots. During the winter months, you will need waterproof clothing. During the summer months, the weather can be unpredictable, so it may be good to pack a coat.
Ideally, you would take anything that you would normally take hiking. This means hiking boots, extra clothing, food, drink and a camera, you’ll want to take photos, if you’re lucky enough to get a clear day!
Do bear in mind that this is not an easy walk. The hill is incredibly steep, so do not attempt the walk if you are not used to day hiking.
How To Get To The Old Man Of Storr
We are going to assume that you aren’t going to be content with viewing The Old Man of Storr from a distance, and you want to get up close and personal. Let’s tell you how to do that.
The tourist board loves people heading to The Old Man of Storr while on the island. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why people head to the Isle of Skye. This is why they have made getting to the rock formation simple.
There is parking at the bottom of the hill. This is just a few miles outside of Portree. If you follow the A855, then everything should be signposted.
You will need to pay to park, but the price should be no more than a few pounds (the price does change based on the season).
Walking Up The Old Man of Storr
While the Old Man of Storr is a popular tourist attraction, it is not easy to reach. You will need to be a good hiker to get up the rocks. You should also try to avoid traveling if the weather is very wet. You could seriously injure yourself.
The walk begins from the car park. There is a gate. You have at least 1-hour walking in each direction ahead of you. This includes a rather steep climb.
There are actually two routes up The Old Man of Storr. If you want an easy trip up, then take the left route. If you want a more difficult and shorter climb, then take the right route. Do bear in mind that the shorter route could add another 1-hour to your journey.
Keep following the trail up. While the path will disappear at some point, it should be fairly easy to see which route you are supposed to be heading in.
Once you reach the top, on a clear day you will have stunning views of the surrounding area, so make sure that you pull out your camera!
How Long Does The Old Man of Storr Hike Take?
It will be dependent on the route that you take. If you take the shorter but more difficult route, then you can expect a minimum of 2 hours. If you take the easier path, then it could take 4-hours. This is assuming that you do not stop for photographs along the way.
The Best Sights On The Isle of Skye
While the Old Man of Storr is the most popular tourist attraction on the island, it is certainly not the only one. Let’s walk you through some of our favourite attractions on the island.
The Fairy Glen in Uig
The vast majority of the best attractions in Scotland, especially the Isle of Skye, are natural wonders. The Fairy Glen, just outside Uig, is one of these.
The Fairy Glen in Uig bears many similarities to the Old Man of Storr. It is a stunning, untouched natural landscape. This is a place that you will almost certainly want to bring your camera along.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Think of traditional Scottish clothing, and chances are that the kilt will be the first thing that springs to mind. That is exactly how Kilt rock managed to get its name.
Kilt Rock is a cliff. It has beautiful colorings, with the weathered look of the cliff supposedly being reminiscent of the plaits that you would find on a kilt.
Popping straight out of Kilt Rock you have a fantastic waterfall known as Mealt Falls. This waterfall sends fresh water crashing into the sea below. This is a place that you will probably want to head if there has been a lot of rain while you are there.
While you are around this area, you may want to keep an eye out for dinosaur footprints, or maybe even fossils. if you can’t spot them, then you can head to the nearby Dinosaur Museum instead.
How Do You Get To The Isle of Skye?
As an island, you would think that the Isle of Skye is difficult to get to, but it isn’t. In fact, despite being an island, you can actually drive there.
How Do You Drive to The Isle of Skye?
You will need to head to the Skye Bridge. It is located at Kyle of Lochalsh. The bridge is free to travel across. However, sadly, there may be times when it is impossible to get over due to extreme winds.
How Do You Get a Ferry To The Isle of Skye?
The ferry to the Isle of Skye leaves from Mallaig. Do bear in mind that there are only two ferries per day in either direction and thus you will need to plan your day around the ferry crossing. If you plan to head up the Old Man of Storr, then you will probably need to stay overnight on the island.
Where Can You Get a Bus To The Isle of Skye?
The buses to the Isle of Skye go over the Skye bridge. There should be a bus that gets to the island from most towns and cities in Scotland. If you are in Edinburgh or Glasgow, there is a direct bus to Portree.
Where Are The Best Places to Stay On The Isle of Skye?
There are plenty of hotels on the Isle of Skye, as well as numerous rentals through sites like Airbnb. If you head here during the winter months, then you may find that the prices are a bit cheaper than during the summer season.
Quayside Apartments have often been seen as the luxury choice for those staying on the island. It is in a tremendous place, and makes an ideal base for those that are planning on exploring the Old Man of Storr and other attractions.
The Portree Hotel is a mid-range hotel, and perfect for those that want a proper Scottish experience without blowing through their budget, particularly during the winter months. It is located in the heart of Portree.
If you don’t have a huge amount of cash to spend, but you still want to stay somewhere brilliant, then we highly recommend The Pink House.
What Should You Pack If Travelling To The Isle of Skye?
Scotland is known for unpredictable weather. Whether it is spring, summer, autumn, or winter, you should always expect it to rain. Make sure that you bring along a waterproof jacket and some waterproof boots.
Beyond this, you will need to ensure that you bring a quality camera, a first aid kit, and some hiking boots. You are going to be doing a lot of hiking while you are staying on the island.
You will want to bring a good mixture of clothes, no matter what time of year you are travelling to the Isle of Skye. This means warm clothing, summer clothing, etc. You may need to bring a backpack because it is not uncommon to need to change clothing throughout the day.
We highly recommend that you bring along good-quality camera equipment. This means a good DSLR camera and lens kit. If you are looking for cool shots, then something like a Go-Pro could be great for action, or even a drone camera for stunning views over the surrounding area.
What Is The Best Travel Insurance For the Isle of Skye?
A trip to the Isle of Skye is going to be unlike any other trip you would take in Scotland. When you are shopping around for travel insurance, you will need to get an insurance that covers hiking and similar activities. This ensures that you will be covered, even if the worst happens.
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