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Scottish rain

We will be in Scotland soon - at end of August/beginning of September. Looking at the weather in Edinburgh/Glasgow/Hebrides areas it's been raining most days the last few weeks. We live in the Northwest so rain doesn't bother us but I'm wondering if it's solid, all-day type rain or maybe a few hours here and there? I'm specifically wondering if I should pack rain pants and waterproof hiking boots or can I get away with just a raincoat, umbrella and waterproof spray my leather shoes?

Posted by
775 posts

Hi Lin -

I would pack your rain pants and boots as well as your raincoat. The umbrella is probably not useful as it may well get shredded if the wind is of the normal variety!

You’ll possibly have seen others asking about the weather and how much it might rain and also seen the answer ‘nobody really knows’ especially well in advance. So the best advice is to travel hopefully but be prepared. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have in those circumstances!

Have a great trip!


Posted by
5042 posts

Check out the forecast at, which will show an hour by hour breakdown of the forecast for each particular town/city and it also shows if there are one or two rain drops, denoting how heavily it is likely to rain.

We are getting strange weather at the moment - the hottest temperature ever two weeks ago in England and it is currently blowing a gale and has been cool today. The wind brought down a tree in my garden last week, which is unusual weather for August.

Many places in the north, including Scotland have been experiencing flooding this week, when a month’s worth of rain has fallen in a couple of hours, which is why a dam wall partially collapsed last week in Derbyshire, which has been making news headlines here. Hopefully normal weather will return by the time of your visit. I would bring a waterproof coat with a hood, rather than use an umbrella.

Really unpredictable - very heavy rain this morning in Edinburgh, but then warm sunshine by the afternoon. I was wearing a good raincoat but normal jeans and leather shoes. Dried out pretty quickly so I was fine in that.

Posted by
5581 posts

Pack your rainpants! I love walking in Scotland and I've taken many walking vacations at that time of year. These were week-long trips. We didn't base ourselves in the west. We based ourselves near Inverness and would drive to where the weather was best. If it was raining in the West, we would head north, or east or south to the Cairngorms. If the weather was good in the West, we always went west as we definitely felt that "west is best!"

There are definitely days when it rains all day everywhere in the Highlands. And that's when we would have a shopping day or a day touring castles etc--always in our boots in case it miraculously cleared up. For trips with 6 days of walking, we would have at most one day that was solid rain. Other days would be a mix. It's a maritime climate, which if you are from the northwest you know about. What's different is that the sea is to the north, west, and east. And the mountains pop up and of course influence where the rain goes.

So the best thing is to be prepared for rain and not to let it stop you enjoying your time in Scotland.

Posted by
5664 posts

Depend on what you are want to do in Scotland. If you are just walking about urban centers, rain pants and waterproof hiking boots are a bit overkill. On the other hand if you will be walking (hiking) and spending significant time in the outdoor environment, a definite yes to rain pants, waterproof hiking boots, gaiters to go with your water/windproof hooded jacket. Forget the umbrella. Bring a lightweight drysack for things that should stay dry in your backpack because pack covers don't always stay on you pack in high winds.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you all - this is very useful. I know it varies a lot, but it helps to hear what's been happening recently weather-wise like the flooding. Also, thanks for the UK weather-link. The weather's been changing so radically all over the world that the standard charts ie "when's the best time to visit ......" aren't as helpful anymore, are they?

Posted by
54 posts

We just returned last night from 2 weeks in Scotland---Isle of Skye, Glasgow, Stirling, Dumfries, Oban (and Isles), Inverness and Edinburgh. We were blessed that we did not experience a downpour except for our last afternoon in Edinburgh (Wednesday)! It's more of a drizzle and it often did not last long----it actually did not impact our touring at all, but it does make it hard to capture nice pictures! However----we did read a tip on this Forum that jeans, when wet, will NOT dry every quickly! So we took nylon pants (Columbia, Royal Robbins, etc.), and after than rain Wed afternoon, my pants were dry in about 20 minutes, if that. Jeans would have never dried and felt wet and clammy. In addition, the nylon pants will dry overmight in the hotel room when washed in the sink. Don't take an umbrella--no use and too many crowds. We did spray a waterproof product on our shoes which worked pretty well.

Posted by
1492 posts

If you are out in the rain wearing a hooded jacket; take along a baseball cap to wear under the hood.
It keeps the hood from slipping down over your face!