Another other-worldly landscape, part of the Trotternish Ridge which is only 25 minutes or so drive from the Quiraing and barely 15 minutes north of Portree. It’s the needle like pinnacle – visible from many, many miles away – which is ‘the old man’ – a polite term for the true Gaelic translation; the penis! Very apt.The photo above shows the iconic view of the escarpment from the Storr Lochs.
Start: A855 15 mins drive north of Portree.You can’t miss the parking area by the Info board and you won’t be the only car.
Time: 45 mins to the base of the pinnacle if reasonably fit.Total walk time – 1.5 – 2.5 hours. Ascent: 288m.
Although parking has been extended , it can become a bit of a bun fight so in the summer months it’s best to get there before 9.30am or after 2.30/3pm when spaces tend to become more easily available.
The forestry has been cleared away at the start of the walk and though it looks quite ugly just now (in 2017) it does open up the views and will repair in time. I never liked the trudge up the mucky path through the boring commercial forestry anyway.Clearing the trees has dried the path a lot too.
We usually take around 45 minutes to the rock pinnacle. You can’t get lost.There are little paths off everywhere at the top, including one that warns ‘There be Dragons ‘ (well, not in so many words but that’s the drift.) Rockfall is the problem but we’ve not been hit yet despite many visits:) Famous last words….
It’s easy to spend another 45 mins or so just enjoying the view and exploring the area.Somehow, the crowds dissipate and it never feels busy. The dark, ominous cliffs behind the Old Man look amazing if the mist is swirling in and around them.Ravens croak repeatedly, looking for prey! You may be it!
Once, I found what looked like an ancient baptismal font on the rocky ground far to the left of the pinnacle.It looked like something Druids would have used. It just added to the whole atmosphere which can sometimes be quite spooky if the weather is gloomy.
On a clear day, the views across the Sound of Raasay to Torridon and Kintail are simply magnificent (zoomed).
We climbed up here once on a day when – unusually – Skye was absolutely covered in snow.It was early January and the views were stunning.We didn’t get right up to the pinnacle because the snow was so deep and difficult to walk through and some of the slopes were a bit dodgy. But a very memorable hike in uncommon conditions.