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2024- May or September?

We are planning a trip to the UK in 2024, spending most of the trip in Scotland. My Grandmother was a McLeod. We want to avoid the summer crowds, we just can't decide on May or September. We had a wonderful trip to Germany last year April 18-May 18, very little rain. I know we will have more rain in Scotland. We are planning another 4 week trip.
I'm also wondering a good website to find festivals on Skye. The information my Father had from 30 years is no longer good! We also hope to stay in one of the cottages at Dunvegan Castle. My parents were there for a clan gathering 30 years ago.

Posted by
7243 posts

Travel is very popular this year! I would check the lodging still available for those two separate months, especially if you have some special ones where you would like to stay. Those results may determine when you should go.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you Jean, we are not going this year. We are planning a trip next year, so at least 14 months from now at the earliest. I read in this forum of difficulty in lodging for September 2023 already and we want to start planning.

Posted by
27053 posts

Looking at the monthly weather averages in the Wikipedia entries for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Portree and Oban, it appears the high temperature could be just a bit warmer in September, but May is likely to be a lot drier. For me, the much longer days in May would be the deciding factor.

Posted by
1827 posts

I would also go for May for the wild flowers! Everything will still be looking green and fresh.

Posted by
6502 posts

In 2008 we visited Scotland in May and last year we were there in late September into October. Both trips were fine but the weather was slightly better on the May trip. That may have been luck more than anything else. Either month is fine. On the recent trip, the only crowded places were Edinburgh and Stirling castles. There was also a line to get onto the HMY Britannia but it wasn’t terrible. Most of the places we visited there was no line or crowds.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you everyone, I think we are probably going May 2024! We just bought Rick's newly released Scotland book and we have a Lonely Planet Scotland book from 2017. My husband's cousin from Germany may come join us for part of the trip. She brings her car on the ferry from Amsterdam to Scotland. That may help with my husband's reluctance to drive on "the wrong side of the road".

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Laura,

The Isle of Skye Folk Festival is usually held during the second week of May, so I hope that you'll be able to attend in 2024. It used to be a festival of traditional folk music, but it has expanded in recent years to include electronica and house/trance music. (I guess they have to attract the younger crowd.). They have accordingly changed the official name of the festival to "Skye Live". There are usually several very good folk bands and solo performers.

Most of the action takes place on Am Meall (The Lump) overlooking Portree Harbour, but there will most likely be late night sessions going on in the town.

The festival runs Thursday through Saturday, and on Sunday there is usually a traditional music session going on in one of the outlying villages. The TI office in Portree may have a schedule.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
6274 posts

Laura, Mike beat me to it - I was going to mention the Skye music festival also. In fact, I was hoping to get to it this year but sadly I don't arrive on Skye until the day after it ends on May 13th. If I was smart like you, I would have checked a year in advance. :)

Posted by
1827 posts

As well as RS and Lonely Planet, also get hold of a copy of DK Eyewitness Scotland. It covers a lot of places that aren't mentioned in the other guide books. The pictures are superb and the maps have enough detail for basic planning. (A new edition is due out in September 2023 but earlier editions are available cheaply on Amazon.)

Onve you start to research in more depth, the Undiscovered Scotland website is the place to begin. Start vwith the relevant map pge and follow the links to text pages with information and lots of photos. it even has suggestions for day driving tours.

If you are wanting to walk, then the walkhighlands website is the 'Walker's Bible'.