Hike, run or ride through one of Britain’s most dramatic landscapes.
Why: As the stand-out view on an outstanding island, a close-up gawp at the Old Man of Storr merits its place on every outdoor lover’s bucket list.
Blessed with soaring mountains, dramatic ridges, and spectacular seascapes, Skye spoils outdoor fans for choice with its range of spellbinding terrains, but none rival the “Old Man”, a towering pinnacle of rock that stands proud of the Trotternish peninsula in a formation called The Sanctuary.
The Old Man’s jagged profile makes it one of the most photographed icons in Scotland, and from its base the views open out across the sea to Raasay, and the Scottish mainland beyond.
Hike here: The Trotternish peninsula is no secret to visitors to Skye; so don’t expect to have this jaw-dropping landscape to yourself. The silver lining to its popularity, however, is a clear path from the Storr car park (on the left side of the A855 heading north
from Portree, grid ref NG509529).
It’s about a five-mile loop out past the Old Man towards An Carn Liath and back via the west side of the Trotternish ridge, including the summit of The Storr at 719m above sea level.
While it’s not the longest of walks, it’s worth allowing four to five hours, given the rocky terrain, cumulative ascent, and “admire-the-view” time.
Mountain bike here: You’ll have to share the trails with walkers, and be prepared for rutted paths and rocky terrain, but this is an exhilarating place to mountain bike. Testing uphill climbs are rewarded by thrilling, technical descents.
Road bike here: With the chance to explore further on two wheels rather than two feet, a fabulous road route reveals the two sides of Skye. Setting out north from Portree, the A855 hugs the coast, passing the Old Man of Storr and then the Quiraing, whose startling rock formations make it even more popular with some visitors than Storr.
The road eventually links up with the busier A87 which heads through the western, crofting landscape of the peninsula on its return to Portree.
Run here: Lace up your trail running shoes, and follow the paths and trails that guide walkers through the Trotternish landscape to the foot of the Old Man, and even over Storr – if you’re up for the challenge of a proper mountain run.
For long distance runners, the Skye Ultra Trail starts in the north of Skye and heads south past the Old Man on an epic 69-mile route from Duntulm to Broadford (28-29th May 2016, skyetrailultra.co.uk).
Map: You’ll need Ordnance Survey Explorer 409 Raasay, Rona and Scalpay or Landranger 23 North Skye to navigate your way around.
Stay here: Nearby Portree is well served with accommodation to suit all budgets. For cheap sleeps try Torvaig Campsite, where a night under canvas costs £8pp and there’s free wifi (portreecampsite.co.uk); or the Portree Independent Hostel, where beds cost from £18 per night. Moving up the budget scale, the highly rated Larchside B&B has twin and double rooms from £70 per night for two night stays (larchsideskye.co.uk).
At the top end, the Cuillin Hills Hotel offers comfortable rooms from about £240 per double for B&B (cuillinhills-hotel-skye.co.uk).
Find out the best routines to prepare for your hike