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Scotland in September--what to pack?

My husband and I will driving around Scotland for 2 weeks, from Sept. 11-24. The closer I get to the date, the more I worry that my packing list doesn't have enough warm clothes/layers. I have a few late summer/early fall outfits packed for each of us, but I'm wondering now if I won't need those at all. Should I skip the short sleeves for more sweaters and layers? Also, should I be prepared for rain the majority of the time, or can I hope for some sunny days?


Posted by
10344 posts

There's no predicting the September weather in Scotland. Best not to hope for sunny days, that way if you get some you'll be pleasantly surprised. You may not need the short sleeves, but with Scotland weather you never know--if you don't bring some, you're jinxing yourself, right? As the Scottish say: There's no bad weather, only inappropriately dressed tourists.

Posted by
5677 posts

Don't skip your short sleeves. As Kent said that's the surest thing to curse you to the many black clouds! One year when I was in Scotland in the highland I got a Scottish suntan. We went out walking and climbed the hill behind Ullapool and stopped for tea which turned into a nap in the heather followed by discussions on US politics. It was a great afternoon, but I was quite red for the next few days as the sun was shining and skies were blue....Make sure that your jacket is goretex. You need water proof, not water repellant. I prefer a hood or hat to an umbrella. I'd rather have may hands free for photos--even in the rain. If you are doing any walking around the lochs or up the hills I would recommend hiking boots over walking shoes. It can be boggy and wet or rocky and slick. It's all well worth it. I wear them on the plane with a pair of sandals in my carry on to switch into for the trip and then for arrival. I just tie the boots onto my day pack when I get to my final UK destination. If its in Scotland, then all the emigration people smile when they see those boots and just ask for confirmation that I'm going walking! ; ) Enjoy your trip. I'm so envious of your driving on the wee roads. If either or both of you are Whisky drinkers or even if you aren't Iain Banks book "Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram" is marvelous.


Posted by
2624 posts

Hi, Gretchen. I was in Scotland the last two weeks in June and I never wore a t-shirt, though my husband did. It wouldn't hurt to bring a couple in case you get a heat wave, but you will probably need long sleeves. Plan on layers. I wore a long sleeve t-shirt, fleece and waterproof windbreaker almost every day. I would like to echo the comment that a waterproof jacket is a must, preferably with a hood. Northface makes great jackets that are waterproof and have hoods that keep your head completely dry and do not blow off in the wind. Also, the hoods do not obscure your vision. They are not cheap, but they are ideal for a climate like Scotland's. We had rain almost every day, but most days it was just a very light rain. I would also suggest pants that dry fairly quickly -- anything but jeans.

p.s. We were in Scotland in May once and it was a bit colder. I wore a cotton turtleneck as my base layer on that trip. I don't think you will need that if you have a fleece, though.

Posted by
1358 posts

Having been there that time of year, I can suggest you plan for weather just like you have in Ohio. There is no altitude to consider so it wont be cold.

Posted by
588 posts

If you are planning to be on the coast and on the water, it get quite windy and cool. I was glad I had my hooded rain/wind jacket (long enough to cover my bum), a short pair of gloves and knit cap I always keep in the pocket, and a buff or bandana to wear around my neck. I never take a trip without those 4 items. Good it Switzerland, Wales and in Scotland. I don't like umbrellas.