Best time to visit Scotland: Hiking in Scotland?

May 10, 2021 by
POSTED BY May 10, 2021

Scotland is not known as the country with the most pleasant weather. It is known as a rainy place with unpredictable seasons. A sudden shower can fall at any time of the year. In this sense, it is difficult to say that there is a ‘perfect time’ to visit Scotland. However, in this post, we outline the information that you need to know in relation to the best time to visit Scotland.

West Highland Way Hike Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Views over Loch Lomond coming down from Conic Hill, West Highland Way

Best time to visit Scotland

It’s very unlikely to avoid any rain on a trip to Scotland, no matter what time of year, but you can still somewhat reduce the chance of experiencing daily showers. In addition, other factors play a role in the best time of year to visit Scotland, such as the average temperature and – important for Scotland – the presence of midges, annoying little flies.

Precipitation in Scotland

Although dry feet are never guaranteed during a trip through Scotland, there are months with more or less rainfall on average. May, June and July are the months with slightly less rainfall than the rest of the year. These months still have an average of 16 to 17 days with precipitation, so the chance of a shower remains high even during this time. The chance of long-term precipitation – such as a day on which it rains continuously – is lowest in June, July and August. The months with the most rainfall days are January, October and November. Long-term rainfall is most likely between October and March.

For those who want to keep their socks dry as much as possible, it is therefore advisable to plan a trip in Scotland between April and September.

Walkers walking along the Great Glen Way
Hiking along the Caledonian Canal, Great Glen Way

Temperature in Scotland

Average temperatures in Scotland are similar to those in the Netherlands or Northern Germany, except that it is often slightly cooler in summer. This is not necessarily a negative thing for those who want to spend more time outdoors; walking at 15 ° C is generally more pleasant than walking at 25 ° C. The average maximum temperature in Scotland is highest in June, July and August at 17-18 ° C. In Scotland you are most likely to have a sunny day between May and September. June is the month with the highest sun certainty.

In terms of average temperature, every month from April to October is generally pleasant. The average minimum temperature in these months does not fall below freezing, and the average maximum temperature is 10 ° C or higher.

Midges

So summer does seem like the best time to travel to Scotland for several reasons, but there is one exception. Midges, pesky gadflies commonly found in Northern England and Scotland, are normally active from June to August. Bites from these pesky critters don’t carry any diseases but can sting slightly for a short time and leave itchy bumps – enough reason for some tourists to travel to Scotland outside of the summer months!

Still, there are things you can do to protect against midges. They don’t like wind, direct sunlight and drought, so often hang out on a windless shadow side of a mountain. They are generally most aggressive around dawn and dusk. It can therefore be useful to keep walking at these places and times – especially when you come across a swarm. The midges cannot fly as fast as we can walk.

Other tips include wearing covering clothing including a net for over your face or using bug spray.

West Highland Way Hiking Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Hiking The West Highland Way

Late Spring to Early Autumn

In our opinion, the best travel time for Scotland is really late spring to early autumn, because of the hours of sunshine, the pleasant walking temperature and the slightly smaller chance of precipitation. And anyone who occasionally encounters a shower or a midge can at least say that they have experienced the real Scotland!

Hiking in Scotland

Again and again, hikers travel to Scotland to take hikes. Why? First, perhaps because of the breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. In addition, the friendliness and hospitality of the Scots is a good motivation to choose this destination. And those interested in whisky can immediately add a third reason. In short: Scotland is a phenomenal hiking destination and one that has to be experienced in order to really appreciate it.

Rob Roy Way Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Rob Roy Way Hiking Tours

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to the Best time to visit Scotland. If you are interested in hiking in Scotland, just get in touch.

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