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      climate in scotland

      The Climate in Scotland

      Scotland's Climate & Weather

      So what can people expect when visiting Scotland climate-wise? Scotland’s climate is temperate oceanic. This means that Scotland has a shorter range of temperature, and is generally cool and wet. Scotland has mild winters as well as mild summers and is unlikely to experience extreme weather events. Other regions with temperature oceanic climates include New Zealand, the rest of the UK, northern Europe, and parts of Canada, the US and South America.

      Scotland does not have a dry season or a wet season, instead, rainfall is fairly consistent across the year, with some months wetter than others. Unlike some other countries on the same latitude, Scotland has a narrow annual temperature range. In our warmest months, our average temperature sits around 18°C (around 64°F), and in our coldest months, it’s around 0°C (around 32°F).

      Scotland is often at the mercy of the low-pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic ocean. This means it’s generally cloudier, rainier, and windier than in England. But what about sunshine hours? When thinking of Scotland we imagine you’ll be picturing moody skies and dark clouds. This is definitely an element of Scottish weather, but not the entire picture. Due to its northern latitude, Scotland enjoys long summers days. At the height of summer, Scotland can have over 18 hours of daylight! On average, Scotland experiences 1,186 hours of sunshine annually.

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      Scottish Weather

      We doubt there is a topic as heavily discussed in Scotland as the weather. It’s notoriously unpredictable, with people claiming to experience all 4 seasons in one day. We, therefore, advise visitors to be prepared for all weather possibilities when coming to Scotland. It’s worth noting that with the temperate oceanic climate in Scotland, extreme weather is very rare.

      In the winter we’ll experience snow, especially on higher ground and in the north. However, blizzards are uncommon and snowfall is only occasionally very heavy. Most of our precipitation comes down as rain rather than snow.

      Similarly, in summer, we can experience warm and balmy days, but thunderstorms are infrequent. Sunny days tend to come in stretches, intermittent with greyer and wetter days.

      Tip: When heading out in the hills, it’s wise to check the Scottish mountain weather forecast for the most accurate and up to date weather information.


      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.

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      Summer promises long days, pleasant temperatures, and festivals galore. The countryside transitions from vibrant green to breath-taking purple as the heather blooms.

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      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.

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      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.

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      Scotland's Seasons

      scotland climate summer

      Scottish Summer

      It can feel like the sun barely sets with 16-18 hours of daylight over the months of June, July, and August. It’s a period of drier weather, with an average daytime temperature high of 18°C. This time of year is great for outdoor lovers. The cooler temperatures and longer days make Scotland perfect for activities like hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, and paddling.

      Take in our beautiful countryside, awash in summer blooms and lush vegetation. The upside of the rain we’ve become so famous for is the plethora of greens viewable in summer.

      Visit our Summer Page

      scotland climate autumn

      Scottish Autumn

      Experience the beauty of Scotland during the autumn months. It’s less busy this time of year so the perfect opportunity to have Scotland’s wild vistas and tourism hot spots to yourself.

      Weather-wise, autumn is pretty settled. October is the wettest month of the year. However, it’s also the month when autumn really makes its presence known. Take in the changing colours, darker nights and some of Scotland’s most exciting wildlife spectacles.

      Visit our Autumn Page

      scotland climate winter

      Scottish Winter

      Immerse yourself in our frosty landscapes during winter, and breath in the crisp and piney air. The weather is changeable at this time of year, but rarely extreme. You can expect a mix of clear blue skies and cloudy grey days during winter in Scotland, with occasional rain, snow and ice.

      The daytime temperature during winter in Scotland is on average 4°C (around 39°F). There may not always be snow underfoot, but snowcapped peaks are a fixture in the northern parts of Scotland.

      Visit our Winter Page

      scotland climate spring

      Scottish Spring

      Spring is a time of crisp air, misty mornings, and glowing skies. Statistically, the spring months are the driest and have the sunniest days. The weather is mild, but temperatures are gradually rising and the days are getting longer. Spring temperatures are on average a pleasant 8°C (around 46°F). 

      Our landscapes are covered with spring blossoms, and our fields brimming with newborn lambs. Many birds start returning to Scotland in the springtime, so it’s a great time for birdwatching. The end of May marks the start of the tourist season, so enjoy Scotland whilst it is less busy.

      Visit our Spring Page

      What to Wear in Scotland

      There is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing. We love saying this. But when heading outdoors in Scotland, it’s very much the truth. Good layers, waterproofs, and sensible shoes do a lot to mediate unpleasant weather and enable you to get out despite a bit of rain. We’ve put together extensive kit lists and clothing recommendations for all the outdoor activities that we provide, plus instructional videos. Get all the info below.

      Activity Kit Lists

      Wilderness Climate Emergency Declaration

      Our business was created to share our passion for the inspiration, spirit and value of the natural environment. What we didn’t know when we started our business many years ago, was how significant the threat of a changing climate would become. While we have always sought to run an environmentally sustainable business (and have been independently recognised several times for doing so), we feel the time has now come to ramp up the action, work harder and act more creatively to respond to the climate emergency with renewed focus and energy.

      Read the Full Declaration

      Our holidays reviewed
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      Wilderness Scotland is the best. I chose it by chance on the Web, and as the trip went on, I was more and more convinced that I had lucked into an outstanding organization--well orchestrated, high quality, wonderful people.

      Darsie Bowden
      Wilderness Walking - Wilds of Assynt
      Reviewed on 07/06/2016

      Rated 4.87 out of 5 based on 4,415 reviews

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