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Weather and packing

We are going to Scotland in two weeks, early August. Trying to plan what to pack and I am pretty confused. I had previously heard to pack for more fall-like weather, bring sweaters, jackets, etc. But hearing on the news about heat wave.....Anybody have guidance?

Posted by
14927 posts

It depends on where you are going in Scotland.

I'll be back there in two weeks as well. I was there in June and my local friends complained of the heat when it hit 72 degrees F.

Expect highs mostly in the high 60's to low 70's. The lows will dip into the high 40's.

The European heat wave is hundreds of miles away.

Posted by
6269 posts

mizereke, you might want to read a few packing trip reports of some members who have recently been to Scotland. It sounds like it's been pretty warm but you never know. What part of Scotland are you going to? The Highlands will probably be cooler than the mainland for sure.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/sw-england-tour-with-seymour-travels-2-weeks

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/6-days-in-edinburgh-packing-report

Posted by
722 posts

Forecast calls for highs in the low sixties and rain every day for Edinburgh. I’d take a good raincoat. :)

Posted by
4787 posts

It's a good idea to have a pair of dry of socks sealed in a zip lock bag in your day bag. Hope you don't have to use them, but if you do, they are great to have. Saved our day a couple of times.

Posted by
13899 posts

Definitely a waterproof rain jacket with a hood. If it's raining it may be windy so an umbrella is sometimes useless.

I agree it depends on where....I'm going to the Orkney and Shetland Islands in a few weeks. I've been looking at the temps every day for weeks and highs are in the upper 50's and low 60's. That sounds like heaven to me!

I've got staged to pack....a rain jacket with hood, a puffy vest, rain pants (as I will be outdoors a lot), Smartwool glove liners and in a burst of optimism a sun hat, hahaha! Sunhat may stay home. Rain pants may stay home. Puffy vest may not make the travel team. I'll decide last minute.

I think it also depends on how cool tolerant you are. I'm good down into the 50s with a short sleeve tee but many need more of a jacket in that kind of weather. I'm taking 4 Short sleeve tees, 2 or 3 pr of pants - one jeans, maybe 1 travel pants, maybe another pr of jeans. I'll have a LS shirt and a Long sleeve quarter-zip dri-fit shirt that I can layer over everything.

I will also have 2 pr of shoes - I'll wear the heavier waterproof pair on the plane, pack the other pair. I got my feet soaked in Scotland on a day trip from Oban a few years ago going Mull to Iona. Even though my shoes dried overnight, I'll take 2 pr this time.

So...for a light packer, with what you mentioned, I'd do one sweater and one rain jacket or were you talking about a jacket for warmth?

Posted by
2708 posts

Pam, I am in Shetland now. Also spent a week in Orkney. It hasn’t gone above 57 since we got here. We’ve had plenty of rain, but mostly light rain and drizzle and not lasting more than an hour. We’ve also had lots of sunshine. Most days we’ve had all of the above. Who knows what you will get. Even the weathermen don’t know. You can’t believe the weather forecasts here, at least when it comes to precipitation; they haven’t got a clue! They are pretty good at temperature though.

Regarding packing… I have used my sun hat a lot, but some days it has been too windy for it, even with a chinstrap. I would bring it. I took my waterproof pants out of my suitcase at the last minute to make room for energy bars. There are days I could have used them, but I haven’t missed them. I wear leggings made of synthetic fabric and they dry quickly, so I haven’t been bothered by the rain. If we had a day where it rained all day, I would want them, but we haven’t had one of those. I would not like jeans in this climate because I can’t stand wet jeans, but yours may be faster drying than mine.

It sounds like you are much hardier than me. I love temperatures in the fifties, but I am wearing a fleece over long sleeves, not a short-sleeved tee! I would think twice about leaving that puffer vest at home. When it gets windy — and we’ve had wind up to 25 mph — it is bitingly cold. We were on a day tour one super windy day and everyone was freezing, including my husband who never gets cold. I added a lightweight down jacket to my usual three layers of long-sleeved tee, fleece, and waterproof windbreaker. And I was still cold! My husband had a long-sleeved tee, heavy sweatshirt and waterproof windbreaker and he was freezing.

miz, it may not be this extreme where you are going in Scotland, but the highlands can be much like Orkney and Shetland, especially with regard to precipitation. Layers are good and waterproof is a must.

Posted by
13899 posts

Carroll!! 💕💕Thank you SO much! I knew from the other thread you were there so this is very helpful. I think I’ll add a LS layer…maybe a chambray type button up. Can wear over the other layers and under the puffy vest. Sun hat with chin strap —> in, lol!! 🧳

Posted by
81 posts

I am sat in 14 degrees and pouring rain - three days ago it was bright and 22 degrees. Anything is possible

Always best to plan for rain and have layers

Posted by
8334 posts

I find that my usual dress for the Pacific NW works quite well for the UK year round. I layer. Base layer, warmth layer, waterproof outerlayer. If it is hot, you just use the base layer. A little cool, but not rainy, put on the warmth layer. Raining and hot, just the coat over the base. Raining and cool, all three layers. It works across a broad range of conditions.

Socks: Better than extra socks is wearing a pair of merino wool socks. They have never let me down.

Posted by
1101 posts

I live on Skye and am currently on holiday in the Outer Hebrides. Temperatures in the low sixties. Sun, wind and showers all within an hour. Pack layers and a waterproof and windproof outer jacket. If hiking add waterproof over trousers.