Visiting Scotland in autumn and winter gives you the opportunity to see nature change its colours and to experience the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, the pine forests, and the white sandy beaches in a completely different light. Perhaps the most obvious advantage of visiting Scotland over the autumn months is the time and space you’ll have to enjoy it, after the heavy crowds and congested attractions of the peak summer months. The busy season may be over but there’s still a huge amount to see and do, so read on for some suggestions on what to pack into your autumn motorhome adventure.
Stand up paddleboarding (known as SUP) is a fun, low impact activity that all the family can enjoy. It’s one of the UK’s fastest growing watersports and Scotland is one of the best places to paddleboard. Think about all those lochs, waterways, rivers, and coastal coves in Scotland that you can explore at your own pace! New to paddleboarding? There are many outdoor operators throughout Scotland that will get you on the water for a paddleboarding experience, providing wetsuits, paddles and buoyancy aids until you’re confident enough to head out on your own. Available all over Scotland, just search ‘paddle boarding Scotland’ to find a location to suit you.
Look to the skies
As the nights draw in and the October nights grow darker, the skies brighten with astronomical beauties, giving you the chance to spot your favourite constellations. The UK’s first dark sky park, Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries & Galloway, which covers 777 km2 of stunning landscapes, has some of the darkest skies in all of Europe and is a great place to stargaze and see the Milky Way! A lack of light pollution means that more than 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye.
If you’re very lucky and conditions are favourable, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights this October. Our Northern latitude means that you could start seeing the aurora borealis on cold and clear autumn nights. This spectacular sight can be spotted from a variety of locations including the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, and Angus. So park up under the stars with friends and family and spectate this amazing natural light display.
Enjoy the autumn colours
Scotland really comes into its own during autumn, with the glorious golds, yellows and reds of the autumn foliage setting its scenery ablaze with colour everywhere you look. As the leaves turn from green to golden, and the trees begin to shed their leaves, a scenic walk along one of Scotland’s many trails, hills, coasts, or waters is an unmissable experience and provides the perfect photo opportunity! Whether you’re looking for a day trip from the city or something further afield, you’ll find stunning woodland walks all over Scotland and spectacular autumn destinations.
Watch the wildlife
Majestic red deer stags compete in the annual ritual of fighting for ‘top dog’ each autumn, and it’s an impressive display. They jostle, shove and fight for mating rights from dawn till dusk, locking horns to assert their dominance.
The Cairngorms National Park and the islands of Arran, Jura and Rum are all prime spots to witness this natural phenomenon, while the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore has a large herd too. Be sure to view from a safe distance!
Other wildlife highlights at this time of year include Atlantic salmon leaping upstream to reach their breeding grounds. Grey seal pups, common on the Moray Firth (close to Inverness, northeast Scotland), are usually born in autumn too.
Try a new outdoor activity
Get out into the fresh air and feel the thrill of trying something new and exciting! From popular activities, such as cycling and golf to more unusual experiences, like land-yachting or a gentle ride on a two-wheeled Segway, Scotland has a host of things to do and expert guides to instruct you on how to go about them. If you’ve always wanted to climb one of Scotland’s Munros, then there are lots of great options for first timers too, so why not start planning that ascent now?