New outlook for Skye’s ‘Old Man’

It is one of Scotland’s most famous historic island landmarks – and one which recently became a movie ‘star’.

The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye
The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

Now efforts are being made to promote the Old Man Of Storr on Skye as a major tourist attraction.

The 500 residents living in a north Skye community were asked in a a survey about the future management of the visitor site.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Staffin Community Trust (SCT) had asked residents for their views on its aspiration to purchase or manage the Highland Council-owned land at the landmark.

The local authority owns an 82-hectare site at the Storr from the roadside upwards.

SCT has been in talks with officials about improving the visitor experience at the hugely popular location, which attracts people from all over the world.

This could involve a new off-road main car park, toilets, interpretation and refreshment kiosk.

The Storr has regularly featured in Hollywood films like Prometheus and Macbeth, television programmes, commercials, newspapers and magazines.

SCT said it was a fantastic opportunity for the community to have a direct involvement at the site, potentially creating local employment and marketing Staffin and local businesses far more strongly.

The SCT views the Storr as a vital entry point and economic driver to Staffin for shops, cafes, accommodation providers and other key businesses.

More than 100,000 people have visited the Storr this year and approximately 70% of that total continue north on the A855 road to Staffin.

The SCT believes it is well placed and has the expertise to deliver, in partnership with the council and others, a ground-breaking project and create significant and regular income for the organisation to meet its sustainability targets with funds used for additional community projects in Staffin.

More than half the population returned their views and early indications are that there is support for SCT managing or purchasing the site.

SCT was also pleased to receive formal responses to the consultation from the Skye Mountain Rescue Team and VisitScotland.

The SCT and council have now started analysing the responses and will publish a report documenting the results, which will be shared with the community, in the next few weeks.

SCT chairman Donald Macdonald said: “I want to first thank the community of Staffin for the high number of responses submitted which clearly indicate that there is an overwhelming desire to see significant improvements at the Storr.

“This is such an important and iconic tourist location for the whole of Skye and should be seen as having huge economic benefit, particularity for the communities to the north.

“Having seen the extremely positive response given by The Highland Council to the broad idea of development at this site we now need to engage the other agencies and Lottery to ensure that adequate funding is made available to make this one of the best visitor locations in Scotland.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The Highland Council are encouraged by the response rate and positivity of feedback. We continue to look forward to working in partnership with SCT to deliver a solution at Storr that benefits the community and visitors alike.”

Councillor Audrey Sinclair, who is the chairwoman of the local authority’s planning, development and Infrastructure committee, said: “This area of Skye is very popular with tourists throughout the year and for many visitors, as well as locals, a walk to the Old Man of Storr is a highlight of any trip.

“Its extensive use in the recently released film, Macbeth, will attract more visitors to the area. I’m therefore delighted that members of the planning, development and infrastructure committee have agreed capital investment totalling £530,000.

“This will allow for significant improvements to be made to Storr Woodlands and also make a substantial contribution to essential visitor management improvements at Storr.”