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November 2022 Visit

My husband and I are planning a visit to Scotland in 2022. At the moment, we are choosing early November 2022. My work schedule is tight until that time and we recently read that it is easier to get onto St. Andrews in the late fall/early winter because there are not as many tourists. It will also be easier on our budget. I fully anticipate chilly, rainy and windy weather - we live in New Hampshire, USA so we are accustomed to that sort of weather in November. My concerns are more about visiting the Highlands. While he wants to see St. Andrews, I really want to visit the Isle of Skye and Inverness. We are not looking for hiking but plan to spend our time driving about and site-seeing, stopping to take pictures and maybe a short walk if necessary to view a particular attraction. Looking for some advice on places to visit, scenic drives to take, where to avoid, etc. We plan to fly into Glasgow then head towards Glencoe on to Skye to Inverness and then St. Andrews. Any input would be welcome!

Posted by
21985 posts

Western Scotland tends to be rainier than the eastern part of the country. I'd recommend keeping your plans as flexible as possible so you can check the day's weather forecast and figure out the best direction to head. I had comparatively good luck last year except for my time on Skye and in Oban--lots of rainy days. I saw the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye through bus windows with rain sheeting down.

I assume you're planning to rent a car for the rural part of your trip; that will make things easier for you in a lot of ways. I'm not sure whether you'll run into limited lodgings open on Skye in November, though.

You might want to take a look at the actual, historical, day-by-day early-November weather statistics for the places you hope to visit. You can find about ten years' worth of data on timeanddate.com. The link takes you to the statistics for St. Andrews in November 2019.

Posted by
3789 posts

length of daylight. Pretty vital at that time of year and rural roads. Keep your distances short so you are not caught trying to navigate in the dark (or worse, get caught walking the moors in the dark). Be sure you have water and snacks in the car.

Posted by
3707 posts

Check flights to Edinburgh as well, it is the larger airport served by more airlines so you might find a better flight there.

Posted by
647 posts

I live on Skye and love being here, but November would absolutely not be my choice for a time of year to visit. It will be dark by 3.30pm and not properly light until about 9am. Many sites such as Dunvegan Castle will be closed, and while the scenery will obviously all still be there, it won't be looking particularly colourful (shades of brown mainly). Walks on Skye are likely to be boggy and some walks impassable. For example, the path to the Fairy Pools involves crossing a couple of streams, which in winter become full on rivers and are likely to be impossible to cross (unless the community bridges have been built by then - unlikely I'd have said). It is likely to be very wet and windy and fairly unpleasant. Inverness is mainly a working town with few sites to detain the visitor apart from Culloden. However, it could be a useful base for day trips and more restaurants and B&Bs are likely to be open there than on Skye, where you might have problems finding accommodation. Most B&B owners (myself included) do not open during the winter months as there simply isn't the demand and we need a rest! You might be better sticking to the east coast and St Andrews (and maybe Edinburgh) as the weather while still likely to be wet, is unlikely to be as windy.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
3 posts

Jacqui - would late September to early October be any better to visit Skye? Our plans are not set in stone. Just trying to work around a few anticipated work obligations and want to avoid huge crowds.

Thank you all for your input. :-)

Posted by
106 posts

Hi Kris,
I live on the VT /N.H. border in USA. You will find the weather the same as Hanover or northern N.H.
We tend to go early November because few tourists, cheaper, a lot open still. Probably slightly warmer than N.H. that time of year. Layer up with rain layer, light polar fleece, maybe a light puffer jacket that can second as a pillow on the plane, you should be good. I bought Oboz waterproof hiking sneakers for first trip; never regretted that comfortable protection when hiking in Highlands. Highlands really remind us of parts of Vermont.

Can take other questions offline

Posted by
647 posts

Hi Kris
Yes late September/early October would certainly be better. You will have longer daylight hours and a better chance of good weather. It could still be rainy and you'd need a waterproof and windproof jacket, and layers, but much more fun than November. I'd do the west coast/Skye first and then head to St Andrews. More restaurants and B&Bs are likely to be open in September, the B&Bs start closing at the end of September.

Have fun with planning!

Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
2953 posts

Since St. Andrews is a high priority for you, you may want to know that the Old Course Hotel is not all that expensive and it has an indoor swimming pool. I have not stayed there (we stayed at a B&B outside of town) but would definitely consider it at the time of year you're planning.

You may already know that you can only get a St. Andrews tee time by lottery (or with certain expensive package deals) and you have to have better than a certain golf handicap to play. But anyone can play the Himalayas; just don't wear high heels, and be aware there are no lockers or other facilities to leave your belongings. The Old Course walking tour is less walking and more standing around listening to a lot of anecdotes about certain famous golfers and how they shot a certain hole in a certain tournament, which is pure treasure if you're a big golf fan, but potentially boring if you're not. The British Golf Museum, OTOH, has lovely exhibits that I think would be interesting for anyone. Their cafe is upstairs with a huge picture window overlooking the 1st / 18th hole; definitely worth having a cup of tea at least.

Posted by
5671 posts

I want to give you some real numbers around differences in the amount of day In early vs late fall. I have traveled in Scotland in September and love it. I have travel to the UK in early December and been stunned by the limited amount of daylight and Cambridge is 500 miles south of Portree on Skye! So let’s look at the length of daylight on Skye as the fall progresses.

  • September 1 sunrise is at 6:29 AM and sets at 8:19 PM. That is nearly 14 hours of daylight.
  • October 1 sunrise is at 7:28 AM and sets at 7:01 PM So you still have 11.5 hours of daylight.
  • November 1 sunrise is still at 7:31 AM due to the end of the British daylight savings time, so sunset is at 4:46 PM which gives you a little over 9 hours of daylight and have sadly lost it in the evening.
  • December 1 sunrise is at 8:34 AM and sunset is at 4 PM which gives you 7.5 hours of daylight.

This may be fine for you. But you need to take it into consideration in planning your trip. I love driving in Scotland. The wee roads are my favorite. However, I have to admit, that for the most part I drive in the daylight. I speculate that single track roads are easier at night as you could see the headlight quite a ways off, but those roads are narrow and can be winding.

If the only time you can do this in November then go and have a wonderful time. Just use google maps an plan your routes. Add 25% to the length of each drive as you will drive slower and will want to stop. 😎

Pam