The Old Man of Storr – Highland, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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Highland, Scotland

The Old Man of Storr

An ancient Scottish rock formation said to be the gravesite of a giant remains ensconced in legend and intrigue. 

The Old Man of Storr juts out of the undulating terrain like an igneous shard of mythological proportions. A tentpole of the rugged vistas that characterize the Isle of Skye, this point of interest in the Scottish Highlands is a site of folkloric mysticism and natural grandeur.

Situated atop Trotternish Ridge—a peninsula in the northeastern region of the Isle of Skye, created as the result of a colossal landslip—the Old Man of Storr is a 160-foot pinnacle rock formation named after its likeness to, well, an old man. The Storr, which refers to the group of looming outcrops that include and surround the Old Man, is a title derived from the Norse word for “Great Man.”

Legend has it that the Old Man of Storr was a giant who resided on the Trotternish Ridge. When he was laid to rest upon his death, his thumb—the “Old Man”—remained partially above ground.

The Old Man of Storr towers over the Sound of Rasaay at an elevation of more than 2,300 feet, and a hike up the grassy mounds toward the group of curious pinnacle rocks that surround the Old Man provides magnificent, panoramic views of the water and the surrounding mainland.

The raw, bucolic landscape of the Storr and the encompassing hiking circuit known as the Quiraing, have landed the Old Man several movie features, including The Wicker Man (1973), Prometheus (2012), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012).

Know Before You Go

The Old Man of Storr is a six-mile drive from the neighboring port village of Portree, the largest settlement on the Isle of Skye. You can walk up and down the Storr on a 2.3-mile (3.8-kilometer) route that takes roughly one hour and 15 minutes to complete.