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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Scotland in Autumn

Posted on Aug 19, 2016 by Mary Lawless

Autumn in Scotland

Autumn is a beautiful time of year to visit Scotland; the landscapes are ablaze with autumnal colours, the skies have a wonderful purple and orange glow, and the wildlife is thriving with activity. When is Autumn in Scotland? Well it falls between October and November and personally I’d say the best of the colours in the Highlands are the second last two weeks of October.

Here are our top 5 reasons to visit Scotland in autumn, click on them to take you straight to the section:

  1. Wildlife
  2. Autumn Foliage
  3. Seasonal Produce
  4. No Midges
  5. Less Tourists

Watch Autumn in Slow-mo

This time-lapse captures the last days of a golden autumn in the Scottish Highlands. It was filmed throughout the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Affric and Glenshee.

Wildlife

Visit Scotland in the autumn

Autumn is one of the best times of year to spot Scotland’s rich and varied wildlife and experience a real sense of change across our natural environment.

  • Red Deer – hear the echoing sound of stags roaring and clattering antlers as they gather in the sheltered glens for the annual rut, competing to mate with the females.
  • Grey Seals – watch grey seals land with their fur coated pups on the islands off the west coast. Did you know Scotland accounts for 40% of the world’s grey seal population?
  • Barnacle Geese – see some 25,000 of these breeding birds descend on the Hebrides to escape the harsher climate of Spitsbergen in Norway.
  • Swans – spot two different breeds of swan in northern Scotland as the Whooper from Iceland and the Bewick from Siberia leave their frozen nests behind

Related Autumn Stories

  1. Wildlife in Scotland – which creatures to look out for in the Highlands in autumn.
  2. The Best Way to View the Northern Lights.
  3. Autumn Photo Blog – Scotland’s Greatest Show.

Autumn Foliage

Visit Scotland in the autumn

Many underrate autumn in Scotland saying ‘Scotland is full of evergreens’ but we think the golden hues of autumn are best viewed against the backdrop of the famous Scot’s Pine. The leaves on the trees start to change colour in early autumn and are in their full glory by the end of September right through to the end of October. Combine all of this with the deer-grass on the moors when it turns that wonderful russet red and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice photo opportunity.

  • Almost one fifth of Scotland’s land area is covered in trees but they aren’t all evergreens.
  • There are plenty of deciduous trees to be admired from ancient hedges on castle grounds to areas of deciduous or mixed woodland.
  • Of course famous for it is ‘Big Tree Country’, Perthshire, home to the highest hedge in the world standing at 30 metres tall!

It’s the perfect time to enjoy walks through multi-coloured landscapes as the lochs are nestled against a backdrop of red, gold and amber.

Seasonal Produce

Visit Scotland in the autumn

The stunning shades of gold and the active wildlife are not the only reason to come to Scotland in autumn. After a day exploring your wonderful surroundings you can indulge in some of the most amazing local produce from the autumn harvest.

The apples, plums, pears and damsons are at their most delicious and make wonderful jams and desserts. Lamb is at it’s most succulent in autumn and game is readily available.

Have you hear the old wives tale: Oysters and other shellfish should be eaten only in months with an “r” in them? Luckily our native Scottish oysters are delicious from October through the colder months. Finish off with a wee dram beside a roaring fire, what more could you want!

No Midges

Visit Scotland in the autumn

You will be happy to know that this stylish headpiece (midge net) Rupert is modelling won’t be required as you won’t encounter any midges in autumn. Scottish highland midges normally start hatching in May or early June and they hover around being pesky during the summer months….although if the breeze picks up to 4 miles an hour you’ll be safe, as they can’t fly in it.

Once autumn arrives and at the first signs of frost the midges start to die off leaving us to enjoy the wilderness in peace.

Less Tourists

Visit Scotland in the autumn

As the tourist season ends Scotland has an even more remote feel to it, the paths and trails all over the Highlands are near deserted. With mainly just the Scots left you can immerse yourself in the true Scottish experience.

So that’s why we love Scotland in Autumn. Feeling inspired? Try some of these adventurous things to do in Scotland in the autumn.

Autumn Tour Availability

We time our tours to coincide with the best of the colours, as Autumn gradually works its way across Scotland. This means that you are assured the most magical show of colours and the majority of visitors have left already, meaning you have the place to yourself.

Click the links in the table below to view tours that have availability and you could be experiencing the best of Scotland this Autumn. 

Trip Date Name Price Availability Book
2nd Sep - 8th Sep 2017 Wilderness Walking - Wilds of Assynt £1,2956 place(s) leftBook Now
2nd Sep - 8th Sep 2017 Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides: Uists, Barra and Mingulay £1,3956 place(s) leftBook Now
4th Sep - 11th Sep 2017 Wilderness Walking - The West Highland Way £1,3754 place(s) leftBook Now
9th Sep - 15th Sep 2017 Wilderness Walking - High Points of Torridon and Wester Ross £1,395Places availableBook Now
18th Sep - 25th Sep 2017 Wilderness Walking - The West Highland Way £1,375Places availableBook Now
30th Sep - 6th Oct 2017 Wilderness Walking - Wilds of Assynt £1,2556 place(s) leftBook Now
11th Oct - 15th Oct 2017 Wilderness Walking - Autumn Highlands £9953 place(s) leftBook Now
18th Oct - 22nd Oct 2017 Wilderness Walking - Autumn Highlands £995Places availableBook Now

About the author

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Mary Lawless

Mary grew up on the west coast of Ireland and after spending some time travelling around the world found herself studying for a masters in Tourism at Strathclyde University. Each season she hears herself saying ‘This is my favourite season’.

Read more articles by Mary


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