Clients often ask us for the best time to come to Scotland. The classic answer is May, end of, it is cool but the weather is usually fair. Surprisingly September is the second most stable month for weather and it is a touch warmer.
RAIN IN SCOTLAND, RAIN IN GLENCOE, RAIN IN FORT WILLIAM
Rain in Scotland in April and May is at the lowest of the year in the West coast. The East coast is drier, but these remarks apply mostly to the Fort William area, Glencoe and Oban areas. In some respects the weather and rain in Scotland can be better than in England. The East Coast of Scotland has only 16% more days of rain a year than the driest place in England. Yes, the driest place in England. There are far fewer thunderstorms in Scotland than in England. Yes, far fewer. Rain in the Autumn is the worst of the year, though.
But the rain varies depending upon your exact location. In our cottage we get 50 inches of rain a year - we have a little micro climate around the bay here, whereas in Glencoe itself, about 5 miles away, the rainfall is at tropical levels, over 100 inches a year. The problem is the hill behind us, it sweeps the rain clouds up high so they empty on the other side.
THE WORST TIME TO VISIT SCOTLAND
This is November, December and January, but probably everyone knows that already. however these months are cosy, the people are friendly, no queues, no traffic it is much more relaxed. This is the time when people take the get-away-from-it-all breaks. It is also the lowest cost time of year for self catering accommodation, the rates can be half of the normal rates pew week, and most cottage owners will offer short breaks.
BUT IN DECEMBER YOU HAVE HOGMANAY
I pity the poor people who try and get accommodation for the New Year during December. Not a hope for most people, but still they try right up to the end of December. Christmas is quieter, but the New Year is the busiest week of the year. Most cottages start to get bookings for the New Year during September. Don't bother with the weather, just enjoy the fun of a Scottish Hogmanay.
Yes, they can be a problem in wooded, damp areas. They don't like sunlight but like true Scots they are ready for a fight at any time between the end of May and the end of August. I have to say this, you can believe it or not, but it happens to be the truth. We get very very few midges at the cottage. I've got no idea why, we have not got a single mention of midges in any guest book and no one has complained. Yes, they been bitten elsewhere - come to that we've been bitten elsewhere but not here.
IF YOU WANT A SHORT HOLIDAY BREAK IN SCOTLAND
Here the time of year has less to do with the climate than the availability. It can be near impossible to get a short break cottage in mid summer and the school holidays, unless you go to a big complex where they offer several accommodation units and can keep one free for short breaks at a premium price.
However after the end of September and until the end of March, most cottage owners will do a short break for you. You can't always pick the dates you want - go to the big complexes for that.
This is what makes certain Scotland locations very popular in January, February and March. On our West coast, you can ski in Glencoe, then go up to just north of Fort William for excellent skiing there. The skiing is warmer than in the Cairngorms.
WHY DO PEOPLE COME TO THE WEST COAST?
Overwhelmingly the main interest is in walking, from gentle walks around our own Cuil Bay, to mountain walks and climbs for the high level tyros. But you've got fishing, cycling, canoeing, wild life, historical locations, extreme sports, sightseeing and touring by car - all of them have devotees who come again and again.
One of the key activities is photography, for amateurs and professionals alike.
Hope all this helps.
The best walks in Glencoe
Ben Nevis, go climb it
Munros are over 3,000 feet
Some Munros are easy
Glencoe rock climbing
Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again
New cycle tracks around Glencoe
There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe
Accommodation Fort William
Golf on the West coast
Tour the Highlands
Short breaks in Scotland, Last minute cottage holidays Scotland, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Weather month by month Scotland summer
Weather month by month Scotland Autumn
Weather in Scotland Winter, month by month
Misunderstandings about Scotland's weather