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Highland hiking

July August or September which is better for hiking in the Highlands and why?(lack of bugs rain tourists etc.) Thanks Scott

Posted by
237 posts

It varies from year to year but earlier or later is always better for midges but worse for weather. We saw no midges in May but also got snowed and rained on at random and repeatedly. July and August are peak season for midges so I would go as late in August as possible or into September if you're willing brave the weather risk to avoid the bugs. Here's the live "midge-cast" from Scotland: http://www.midgeforecast.co.uk/home The fact that they have one should tell you all you need to know. I've never seen a bad midge day but most everyone who has will tell you it's better to risk the weather than the bugs, but it's up to you. The Highlands are amazing - have a great trip,
=Tod

Posted by
5580 posts

I've hiked in July, August and September and I am not sure that there really is that much difference regarding midges, rain and tourists. There are fewer tourists in Scotland in September and the schools have opened so you lose the local families, but I have never found a crown on any hike that I've been on in Scotland. I've trying to think if we ever ran into another party....maybe Glen Affric. One thing arguing for the earlier date is the amount of daylight. It stays light very late in the summer time. As you move into September you've started to lose those long lingering evenings. Pam

Posted by
5664 posts

You would be best served doing your own research as to the"best" month to walk Scotland. We used the Lonely Planet "Walking in Scotland" as an initial planning resource. Scotland's climate varies. Realize that the west coast is reportedly wetter than the east coast. Fort William for example is climatology wetter than Inverness. May- June tend to be the statistically speaking the dryer months. That said, walk in the UK for a week and you will have a day or two or more walking in the rain. The next issue is bugs. The LP Walking notes that promotional tourist literature down plays midges. LP Scotland claims that midges appear starting in early June and blight the country until autumn. My West Highland guide suggests that May-June are more favorable months with respect to midges. We did the West Highland starting the end of April into May. No midges or other insect pests; a couple of damp days with a half day of downpour. While the old Norwegian saying about no bad weather, only bad clothing is substantially correct, when walking the UK in a sustained downpour, expect wet socks and feet. Longer daylight in May-June than September-October. Keep on mind that some B&Bs may serve breakfasts after 8, resulting in delayed starts. Check on hunting season so that you don't serve as a volunteer driver.

Posted by
5580 posts

I want to second the comments about the rain in the west. My walking group always felt, that "west is best" however, there is a lot of rain in the west. So, we were very happy to have the flexibility to walk in the Cairngorms or in the north. So, don't just think about when you're walking, but where you want to base yourself. Pam