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Scotland in March?

We are using our plane tickets from June 2020 for a rescheduled trip to Scotland. Obviously, it will be colder and a bit wetter -- but is it worth a trip in March? We are planning to have a home base in Edinburgh, would love to do some hiking outside the city and perhaps a day or two in the Highlands and are hoping to see Border Collies in action. Haven't made arrangements yet but hoping to work on it this week, really just trying to see if we could have a good experience this time of year. Thank you so much -- also welcome any suggestions for a wonderful Scotland trip!

Posted by
2939 posts

You've probably heard "there's no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing" or words to that effect. Come prepared for rain, wind, and fairly cold temperatures and you should be fine.

In Edinburgh there are plenty of places to duck in out of the weather. We walked upper 3/4 of the Royal Mile on a very rainy day and were able to enjoy it without getting soaked. (Scones with jam & cream at Clarinda's Tea Room finished off our day.) The National Museum is huge, with a wide variety of exhibits for all interests, so it is a great place to be indoors and dry. For fine dining, I can recommend the Tower Restaurant, located in the museum building with a great view of the skyline.

If you go out hiking, be mindful of what time the sun will set, and take all the usual precautions about knowing your route, telling your host where you're going, etc.

Posted by
5538 posts

January through March wouldn’t be my choice of when to visit for hiking - there is a chance of snow in the Highlands, so you would need to bring suitable gear with you, as walking the mountains is foolhardy without all the kit.

There are plenty of indoor activities suitable for March in Edinburgh and day trips to Glasgow, Stirling etc.

The only sheep dog trials I can find via Google for March are Saturday 5 March west of Selkirk 7am start. Maybe they are more focussed on lambing than trialling at that time of year? I have spent a lot of time in rural Scotland and have never happened upon dogs being worked.

Posted by
181 posts

If you can't find any Trials in March, the Meeker Sheepdog Trials right there in Colorado have grown to become pretty dang impressive, although we have enough of them in Oregon to satisfy us. Trials are not on our tour agenda for June.

Posted by
612 posts

When we went to Scotland, it was mid February. In Edinburgh, it was very windy and cold, but it was fine and we got out and about. We didn't do any real hiking, but did walk up to the top of Arthur's Seat. Then we headed up to the Grampians for a few days and it was much colder there, and heavy snow. The day we were to drive back to Edinburgh, the place we stayed suggested we not drive, but we were used to driving in the snow/mountains and were fine. I would absolutely go in the winter again, based on that trip and how much we enjoyed it.

Posted by
13058 posts

When in March? The HF Holidays guided walking programs in Scotland at their holiday house in Glen Coe start March 26.

Or you can do a 2-night weekend stay beginning March 4, 11, or 18 without the organized guided walking, but using all the resources (maps, etc.) and suggestions available at the house.

We have enjoyed several short walking holidays with this group. It is a member-owned cooperative, but non-members ( like us) are welcome. The accommodations and food are generally very nice, and we enjoy the camaraderie of the other guests.

Posted by
20 posts

Hmmm, sounds like Edinburgh would be fine in March but it is not really an ideal time to explore more of Scotland. Thank you so much for all of the information. We have tickets to London so maybe a week in Paris would be better this time across the pond. Still not giving up on Scotland, will look into Neth Hill Collies and day trips from Edinburgh.

Thanks again, really appreciate it!

Posted by
924 posts

I’ve been several times to Scotland in early to mid March, but we go as a group with ice axes, crampons, all the winter gear in fact, looking for snow in the hills. Fortunes have been mixed. We’ve had miserable rainy, cold trips without so much as a single flake of snow and we’ve had brutal weather but with snow, and also excellent clear blue skies and sun weather with and without snow. Common factor is that on every occasion we’ve got out into the hills to hike, grinning and bearing it when the weather was against us (grin might be a bit inaccurate, grimace may be a better choice) and lapping it up when the weather was kind. Just go prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

Hint - at low levels and in the towns you can most likely forget the ice axe and crampons! I’m sure you can adapt to the conditions to have a grand time!


Posted by
1345 posts

I'll go away sometimes in March. Just remember the weather here in March can be either mowing the lawn weather in a warm sun, or it is scraping the snow and ice off of the car.

March in Scotland is variable.

Posted by
7 posts

We usually go in March or April because it’s off season and less crowded. We go to visit family mostly so this is perfect for us.
You need to pack for all weather and be aware that not everything will be open. In March 2020 we had lovely weather but in 2019 we stayed near Portree and on the way from Edinburgh we had sun, rain, sleet, snow and extremely high wind all in one day. The bridge was closed for a time and the ferry was not running, we got lunch and the bridge was open. We lost power and heat and hot water for 3 days but there was a fireplace and a neighbor lent us candles. The views are spectacular in all weathers. I would not venture far on walks unless you are experts and have proper gear.
We stay with my mother in law but will also be doing a short stay in a self catering cottage. This gives you a kitchen so you can get some groceries and have some meals in the cottage or take a picnic.
It’s a lot cheaper than a hotel and a lot safer during pandemic.