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Road Trip in March?

We are visiting Scotland for a week in March of 2020 and had planned to do a road trip. Still working on the itinerary but I'm thinking flying into Inverness then renting a car to do Isle of Lewis, Isle of Skye, Glen Coe, Stirling and ending up in Edinburgh. I've read here and there that many things are closed in March outside of the large cities. Are the roads fine in the weather (we're fine with rain and some snow, not so great with ice)? Will we find a lot of things closed that we cannot visit? Anything else we should consider?

Posted by
2801 posts

Really the best way to assess weather is to look at the actual history, available on Weather Underground. You can search by city, month, and year. Here is Inverness for March 2018.

Here is Oban for March 2017.

Here is Stornoway for March 2016.

If you spend time looking at several years and logging the temps and precip, you'll have a good idea what to expect -- to the extent that Scotland's weather can be predicted! You can also log the difference between a mainland location like Inverness and an outlying one like Stornoway.

Here is the government advisory about preparing for winter conditions on the roads.

Posted by
1207 posts

Check It is sort of a hub for a lot of other sites including different Admissions Passes. This may let you know what is open in March. The Western Isles have similar weather to Panhandle Alaska. We drove around Scotland in April with some drizzle and snow at higher elevations. Check to see what connections and layovers and extra costs there are to fly into Inverness from Oregon. It may be necessary to fly into Glasgow internationally. It might be cheaper to fly into London internationally. You can also check flights from Vancouver, BC.

Posted by
19368 posts

Days will still be fairly short in March. Between that and the liklihood of considerable rain in the islands, you may not have as much sightseeing time as you expect. I think your plan is rather aggressive for a week in March. How many nights will you be spending in Scotland?

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the input. We are actually flying from Portland into London, then on to two weeks in Italy to visit family and sight see. After that we have 11 days open for both Scotland and Ireland, with Scotland being our main focus, before returning to London and heading home. At this point we haven't purchased flights so we can be flexible with our itinerary. That's why I asked about what might be open because if it seems like a road trip isn't realistic then we can change how we allocate our time.

Posted by
2801 posts

I'm thinking you may get more enjoyment out of your time in Scotland if you focus on the mainland and places that are accessible by train. Scotland also has a robust network of bus routes, but if road conditions are bad the buses will be affected even though the vehicles and drivers are (from what I observed) world class. Rail transport isn't messed up by inclement weather unless there's a really rare severe snow or ice storm.

See rail routes here