When I tell people to visit Scotland, I always suggest September. I think it’s the last of true summer that makes it for me. Long joyous days with just a hint of the coming season wafting pleasantly on the breeze. Vibrant purple heather bathed in the golden evening sunshine. A feast of harvest delights coupled with summer staples for some of the best meals all year.
From the stunning weather to the best of Scotland’s seasonal larder, September has all the best qualities of Scotland in just 30 days. It’s time for you to join us as we enjoy the last of the summer and make way for autumn cosiness.
By September, the school summer holidays in the UK are over. This means all the best attractions, from castles to museums and many hilltops in between, have fewer people visiting. Despite this, their summer hours are still in effect in many cases, which means you can enjoy them to your heart’s content. Stirling Castle stays open a little later than in winter and, in my opinion, the view to the Wallace Monument is best viewed in the evening sunshine.
This also extends to the various outdoor spaces of Scotland. Not that you’re likely to encounter another soul on most Scottish hills, but sometimes you want the untapped quiet of utter solitude. It becomes an excellent month for exploring the parts of Scotland less seen. Take to highland glens and watch wildlife be busy as you drink in the stillness.
The Scottish midge is a terror whose reputation often evokes horror in locals and guests alike. Though certainly not as scary as many believe, they can be a bother if not adequately accounted for. That’s why the end of summer is a great time to visit; there’s nary a midge to be seen as you get towards the end of Scotland’s September. With the first cold snaps of the season, the midges are beaten back for another year.
That means their familiar haunts of lunches during hiking and lazy evenings can be enjoyed without these unwelcome irritations. Find out more about the mighty midge and why they’re not as scary as they seem.
Scotland in September has weather that might just surprise you; it seems to have been made for adventure.
With average temperature highs of around 16 degrees (61 Fahrenheit), you’ll still be very comfortable outside hiking or on a bike. Throw on an extra layer when you stop, and make time to take in natural spectacles like cloud inversions which start in September. The rain which does fall comes thick and fast and only serves to underline the sunshine afterwards. It almost feels like for 30 days, the country is laughing; a little rain, then sunlight comes once more. It’s refreshing and revitalising in a way you can only truly get while outside.
So, add a raincoat to your bag, pack a smile, and set off into the most seasons you’ve ever seen in one day.
Weather Data: metoffice.gov.uk and timeanddate.com
The end of summer means the beginning of fall, and it’s a time of foodie abundance in Scotland. Many foods come into season, and people all over enjoy the traditional time of plenty. It’s also a time for community, and farmers’ markets seem to spring up everywhere. This access to organic, delicious food seems to bring smiles to faces as old treats are revisited, and new ones get explored.
Our coast boasts some of the best shellfish across the continent at any time of year, but in September it is at its richest. Mussels, razor clams and lobster are as big as they get and there is a renewed focus on harbour-to-table dining across Scotland. Langoustines are a fresh favourite the world over and crabs are at a rare size by the end of summer. All make for an excellent dinner that’s not easily bested.
Autumn fruit is also starting to be drawn in. This includes the harvest staple of apples, but also gooseberries and raspberries find their way to many a pie. Throw in fresh blueberries and pears and you’ve sampled some of the best fruit that September offers. The sweet-sour flavours of these berries perfectly describe the time of year, with delights you know won’t last forever quickly passing. That said, they truly are delicious while they last.
Finally, September is the perfect time for wild foraging. Brambles grow readily, and mushrooms flourish if you know where to look. It is little wonder that there’s a Wild Food Festival in Glasgow this month of all months. If you’re looking to indulge in gathering food from the natural world, then Scotland in September is precisely where you want to be. If you look around, then you’ll find all manner of fresh fungi and fantastic fruit just off the beaten path.
Though the longest days of the year happen in June, September still retains daylight well into the evening. Due to its northern aspect, Scotland has long golden evenings in the summer and long dark nights in winter. September is the last month when you can truly indulge in this natural phenomenon, with gorgeous weather the finishing touch.
These bright mornings are ideal for hitting the hill while beautiful evenings beg for a comfortable chair outside and a dram to fend off any chills. There’s a bittersweetness to it all, making it all the more delicious. Knowing that soon the daylight hours for hiking and biking will be sparse demands enjoying it while it lasts.
A peculiar thing also happens in Scotland in the winter; people tend towards community and welcoming people in. There will be more ceilidhs, indoor events and generally comfortable things to do. This all starts in September before fully getting underway in October, meaning you get a dash of local colour to spice up your visit.
Fall is a wonderful time of year the world over, but there’s something special about it in Scotland. Scotland in September is the start of a shift in the breeze. Here and there leaves are changing like fireworks across the leafy canopy. It’s just starting, but it’s quite extraordinary. Aspen leaves turn bright gold, and Perthshire is awash with vibrant colours. It’s like trees know they have just one dance left in them, so they make it special. They’ve not entirely gone to the crimson wash which is undoubtedly coming, in fact, in many places, they’re greener than ever.
As you head northward, though, you’ll find that the ancient pinewoods mingle with this change of costume. A familiar and welcome continuity comes from the pines, with calming green and the smell of pleasant sticky sap lasting. Taking to the hills, you can look down on a landscape awash with change and marvel at the wonder of the season. Individual trees make the choice to change their costumes, like soloists stepping from the wings to centre stage.
At the start of September, this theatrical production comes with a backdrop of heather in the most vibrant purple you can imagine. Whole hillsides are swathed in the royal hue, and it’s a magical experience to step through such a magical landscape. Here and there the bracken is dying off to add rusty remembrance of the summer past, making for a fantastical scene for all involved.
If you’ve fallen in love with the changing of the leaves in Scotland, you should check out our Autumn Highlands trip.
Spring weather is mild, but the days are lengthening and consistently drier. The landscape is buzzing with life and colour, with flowers blooming and bustling wildlife.Find out more
Summer promises long days, pleasant temperatures, and festivals galore. The countryside transitions from vibrant green to breath-taking purple as the heather blooms.Find out more
Autumn is a time of colourful landscapes and glowing skies. Witness some of Scotland’s most exciting wildlife spectacles and taste flavours unique to our autumn months.Find out more
If the conditions are right, Scottish winters are the epitome of ‘winter wonderland’. Crunchy snow underneath your boots, sparkly fields, and the most beautiful night skies.Find out more
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