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What is a Scottish Summer Like?

Posted on Sep 23, 2016 by Meike van Krimpen

Although the weather in Scotland can become glorious as early as the end of April, summer does not really kick-off till June when the weather is consistently mild for the next four months.

We’d be lying if we said that Scottish summers are all warmth and sunshine, they’re not. But they’re also not wet and cold like people think.

west-highland-way-august-8463You might be surprised to learn there is an average temperature of 19 °C over the summer period.

It’s the changeability of Scottish weather that has given the Scottish summer a bad rep. There is a reason why we have a saying here that goes, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 5 minutes.” A day out in the hills can be fascinating. It can feature cloud cover, wind and rain. But in equal measure you can have high temperatures and bright sunshine. It’s actually pretty awesome to experience.  The change in weather, light and the drama the dark clouds bring can really transform the landscape multiple times a day. It’s one of the things that surprise and delight our adventurers every year.

To give you an idea of what Scotland is like in the summer, we’ve gathered some stunning pictures for every summer month from this year’s trips.


Summer in Scotland

Sailing a 70 year old gaffer in bright Summer sunshine on Scotland’s beautiful West Coast on our Sailing & Walking holiday. Photo credit: Pete Long.


June is the month of long summer days. Especially in the Northern Highlands, you can expect up to 18 hours of daylight. This is absolutely incredible! That is lot of hours for exploring our wilderness with. June is also rumoured to be one of our driest months, but that depends entirely on what week you visit.

Dry weather tends to come to us in blocks of 4 or 5 days of stunning sunshine, followed with 4 or 5 days of milder weather. June is also the best month for the colours. Gone are the browns and greys that dominated winter, instead it’s endless vistas of wildflowers and green hills.

How to Make the Most of the Weather in Scotland

  1. Our Most Popular Weather Forecast Websites
  2. Autumn, Scotland’s Greatest Show – A Photo Love Story
  3. How to Photograph the Northern Lights
  4. Wild Camping in Scotland – A Beginner’s Guide
  5. Scotland’s Most Beautiful Beaches


Summer in Scotland

Torridon’s incredible sky line on our sea kayaking Introduction Course. This was taken on Loch Kishorn and in the background you can spy the epic Bealach na Ba. Photo credit: Donald Thomson.


July is probably the most unpredictable month during summer here. It can be the warmest and the sunniest month whilst simultaneously also being the wettest. Like June the days are long. You can expect between 17 and 16 hours, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. July is also fantastically green and generally has a warmer average temperature than the other summer months.

Guided Sea Kayaking Trips in Scotland

If you’re keen to get on the water this summer then our sea kayaking  tours are a great way to explore Scotland’s rugged coastline while our expert guides show you the ropes. Some of our tours use independently owned accommodation and others take wild camping to another level with freshly baked bread, great menus, cosy communal teepees and the most secluded of locations. To prove we do the best sea kayaking tours, you can checkout reviews here.




August is one of the most beautiful months to come visit as the hills start to turn purple with the heather changing colour. The days are getting shorter but with between 15-14 hours of daylight a day, it’s not exactly a hardship. We reckon that as you get into the heart of the Highlands, the best weeks to experience the vivid heather are the middle two weeks of August.

As you can tell from the quantity of the picture above, August (at least this year) is a warm and sunny month. Although Edinburgh will be bustling and busy with the Fringe festival going on, the Highlands will be far less busy. To get away from it all and put yourself in the picture, check out our mountain biking tours.


Summer in Scotland

Walking amongst the colourful heather in Argyll. August and early September are the best time of year to see the heather. Photo credit: Kirsty Duncan.


Some people do not think September counts as summer. However, if you’re speaking astronomically it definitely still is and to be honest it might be the best summer month of all! It’s a bit cooler than the previous months but it is also more reliably dry and still enjoys long days. Because it is out of the high tourist season there are less crowds and lower prices.

September also benefits from the start of autumn colours setting in here and there. The bright greens contrasting with yellows and deep reds combined with the fantastic light makes September a great month for photography.

We hope that this blog has helped uncover the mystery of the Scottish summer a little for you. Scotland is a country very much shaped by it’s climate. It’s the notorious rain that makes the landscape so lush and green. Rain is what makes our rivers and waterfalls so impressive. Rain is at the heart of our whisky industry. But the best thing about Scottish rain? It never rains for long. Before you know it the sun is bursting through and warming you up again.

Want to know how to best prepare yourself for Scottish weather? Try and understand the changeability with our favourite weather forecasting services here. Need some tips on how to dress for a day out adventuring? Have a read of Pete Long’s blog on What to Bring on the West Highland Way for some tips!

Discover the many fun activities available in the summer months with Wilderness Scotland. You can enjoy cycling, hiking, Sailing, Kayaking, mountain biking and more!

About the author

Meike van Krimpen

With my parents' work taking my family away to exotic countries meant that I grew up between Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands and have had the opportunity to visit some amazing countries along the way. This has left me with an unhealthy addiction to curry and all things spice, and also to travelling! When it was time to go to university I wandered off to Scotland for a new adventure and have somehow not managed to leave yet!

Read more articles by Meike

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