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.
What months is it Autumn in Scotland? Well it falls (ha ha) October and November and personally I’d say the best time for autumn colours in the Highlands are the second last two weeks of October. In September you can expect the daytime temperature to be about 16°C, lowering to 9°C in November, with an increasing number of frosty days, and also stormy days as autumn progresses.
Here are our top 5 reasons to visit Scotland in autumn, click on them to take you straight to the section:
- Autumn Foliage
- Seasonal Produce
- No Midges
- Less Tourists
- Then we’ve got some cool autumn facts
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.
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
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.
- Have a look at our autumn walking holidays and indulge in beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
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!
- Here is our pick of the best places to try out Scottish cuisine.
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.
- If you like to be forewarned ahead of your trip to the Highlands then take a look at the Midge Forecast site.
- If you are still a bit worried about midges, read Midges in Scotland – How to Combat the Mighty Midge for some useful info on how to avoid getting bitten.
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.
- The names of the moons after the Autumn Equinox are the Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon and the Long Night Moon.
- Talking of the equinox, the Autumn Equinox or Autumn Equinox tends to flick between the 22nd and 23rd September and for many, this heralds the start of autumn and when nighttime and daytime are roughly equal.
- On a less celestial theme, “conkers” is the name given to a game in the UK and Ireland where players use the seed of a horse chestnut tree (the conker) thread it with string and then take it in turns to strike each others conker until one
, thus the winner is crowned.
- Mist is an incredible benefit to autumn in Scotland. The reason being that if you make it to high ground, you get the most spectacular view of the surrounding high ground sitting like islands in a sea of mist. How does mist form? We think WeatherOnline say it better than we ever could, so take a look.
- The same clear, still weather that helps form mist, is also said to be one of the contributing factors to Autumn being one of the best times of the year to see the Northern Lights. The darker skies of late September and October increase the chance of the Aurora being visible. Find out the best way to see the northern lights in Scotland.
- Swallows fly south at a rate of about 200 miles a day and at a speed of between 17-22mph.
- And just to top off this list of facts, testosterone surges in red deer herds as the rutting season starts in October. Interestingly, this is also the same in humans.