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Things to Do in Scotland for the Adventurous at Heart

Posted on Aug 30, 2013 by Ben Thorburn

We’ve pulled together 6 classic ideas for things to do in Scotland that are particularly good for autumn. So without further ado let’s whisk you through some of the best things to do if you are an adventurous soul.

1. See the Autumn Colours

Autumn in Scotland

Well, as autumn is coming early and the storms are a long way off, we think that this year is going to be pretty special for autumn colours but when is the best time to see them? Well I’d have to say mid to late October and into November is usually when you’ll see the most vibrant colours. However with the early onset of autumn already showing signs of yellows and golds, I’d suggest keeping a close eye on the Forestry Commission Scotland Facebook page where you can ask them how the leaves are changing.

That takes care of when to see them but what about where? There are many places across Scotland that will be awash with colour as the deciduous leaves being to change but there are certainly a few favourite places that will guarantee some awesome displays. Perthshire is known as Big Tree Country and as the name suggests, it’s chock full of remarkable trees and swathes of deciduous woodland with many gentle paths and bubbling burns and rivers. The area is immortalised in Shakespeare’s MacBeth and you can visit the Birnam Oak, the last remaining tree of the old Birnam Wood, which at 18 feet in girth is an impressive site.

Another autumnal location that should be on your list of places to visit should be Glen Affric. Glen Affric has been described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland, a National Nature Reserve, the glen boasts a mixed woodland of Scot’s Pine, oak and birch which sits aside a chain of lochs and rivers which cut their way through the stunning landscape. As the weather becomes more harsh on the hills there is a good chance to spot red deer as they retreat to the shelter of the forest.

 

2. Explore the Epic Landscapes of Scotland’s Northwest

Autumn in Scotland

So I think the splendour of the Northwest Highlands of Scotland strikes a chord with everyone who visits this inspiring place. It’s a visual feast as vast stand-alone mountains rise from near sea level to tower over the surrounding lochs, heather and deer grass. We run a walking holiday in this location and you’ll see from the Facebook responses to a stunning image, just what an impact it has had for people that have visited. I must admit that if I was asked to suggest a single location for my best friend to visit in Scotland, it would be the Northwest Highlands.

3. Learn how to Sea Kayak

Autumn in Scotland

I’m no sea kayaker but of all the things to do in Scotland, kayaking offers a different perspective. It’s not just that you’re gliding along with your bum in the sea and your head a couple of feet above the water but you’re able to look back at Scotland’s rugged coastline as it rises to majestic peaks and enjoy looking at the intertidal life that’s only exposed for a few hours each day. I’d recommend reading Tim Willis’ blog post titled The Truth About Sea Kayaking for Beginners as Tim’s really empathises with how it feels to take to the water for the first time. There’s also a great short video that shows the experience.

  • Our Sea Kayaking Introduction course is ideal for those wanting to take their first dive into the exciting sea kayaking world
  • The Scottish Highlands Sea Kayaking tour is one of our ‘easy’ graded holidays that is perfect for beginners

4. The Aurora – Solar Maximum

Autumn in Scotland

The best time to see the aurora borealis is in the January and February months, but autumn is good time to start looking in Scotland. Our Northern latitude means that you could start seeing the aurora borealis on cold and clear autumn nights.

If you want to be kept up to speed when the aurora are putting on their light show, I can certainly recommend this fascinating website which will give you a heads up on the storm intensity and you can register for email alerts so you don’t miss a trick. We can also recommend following @aurorawatchuk on Twitter, or for that matter us @teamwilderness

Want to know more about seeing the aurora borealis in Scotland, have a read of this blog: Viewing the Northern Lights in Scotland.

5. Whisky and Firesides

Autumn in Scotland

When it comes to malt whisky, Scotland is the undisputed king. Sure there are whiskies distilled across the world now and many are giant killers but you can’t recreate the feeling of a good day on the Scottish hills anywhere else than Scotland itself. That’s why relaxing beside a roaring fire regaling tales of the day’s triumphs is all the sweeter when you’ve been weather-beaten as you weave through the forests, cross the moors and reach the peaks of Scotland’s most iconic mountains. Whether you’re keen on the peaty malts of the west coast and islands or the smoother flavours of a Speyside whisky, there is many a bar that is well stocked with the finest fire-water in Scotland.

6. Long distance trails

Autumn in Scotland

With the first frosts wiping out any trace of this season’s midges you can take on the challenge of a self-guided long distance trail like the classic West Highland Way or the more contemporary Speyside Way and Great Glen Way, safe in the knowledge that a the biting black mist won’t descend on you. This is a major bonus and because autumn is off season it also means that there’ll be much less people walking the trails, which means that you’ll truly feel the power and emotion of being in the wilds of Scotland alone and you can get your dose of the social side when you arrive at comfortable accommodations on route.

One of the highlights of this season is the red deer rut, which, even if you don’t see it, you’ll hear the eerie roars of the stags carry though the glens on an autumn breeze and it’ll send shivers down your spine.

Like this post? Read Top 5 Reasons to Visit Scotland in the Autumn.

 

Share Your Own Highlights

There are so many other highlights to share that we couldn’t possibly list them all but if you’ve a favourite that you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you on our social media pages.

 

About the author

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Ben Thorburn

Ben is Head of Marketing at Wilderness Scotland and his love and enthusiasm for Scotland’s wild places is what he hopes rubs off and inspires people to visit such an incredible place. Outside of work he's found in his natural habitat; the mountains, whether skiing, on a mountain bike or walking.

Read more articles by Ben


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