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Best of Scotland early May weather

I am on a tour that takes place the first week of May. Can anyone who toured this time in past years tell me what kind of weather they had? I’m evaluating what to pack (lady clothing). Thanks!

Posted by
4872 posts

I haven’t taken this tour, but I have visited Scotland. Pack layers. Take a warm waterproof jacket with a detachable hood rather than an umbrella, to keep your hands free. Good waterproof shoes are a must.

You are likely to get some rain, but probably no snow. It could be mild and sunny or it could be cold, windy and wet. These days, it’s difficult to predict. Last week, the UK was warmer than the Mediterranean at 20 degrees, but we currently have gales and rain and it’s 8 degrees.

Posted by
8397 posts

This might help altho it's after your time frame. There is a link in the trip report to my packing list so I'd go with that list but cut one SS shirt and add another long-sleeve shirt...depending on the current weather forecast when you are ready to leave.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/tour-report-best-of-scotland-june-6-june-15-2018

Definitely take a waterPROOF jacket - not water resistant. And I agree with Jennifer - umbrellas are useless when it's windy and wow, we had some windy days in June.

Posted by
1190 posts

The weather could be very pleasant one minute, but dampish the next. I don't like a hooded jacket (removable OK) unless it is really raining because it can block the view. Wear a knit hat or a rain hat that ties. I did wear a wool head scarf a few cool windy times and pretended I was QEII. I also wore leather oxfords with rubber soles which are still trendy if you're not a frilly type. I wore dark knit slacks, because jeans can be binding and are too heavy to dry quickly. Also tees and sweaters can layer better than shirts; and you can roll them up with little wrinkling. I really got the most use of a middle weight fleece pull over and a light weight quilted puffy water resistant jacket. Take a modest night shirt and some flip flops just in case bath is across the hall. A full length foldable light raincoat was very appreciated in windy rainy weather. Take one skirt and a pair of flats, just in case you want to try a "nice" place for dining. The Scots tend to be Sporty in dress because they enjoy the outdoors and dress for the weather. Take just enough clothes that you have one set to wear, one set to wear the next day, and one that may need a wash or airing. If you rotate you can avoid doing the laundry; except for undies.

Posted by
8397 posts

"Take a modest night shirt and some flip flops just in case bath is across the hall."

None of the accommodations on this Rick Steves tour have a shared bath arrangement. I think the only tours that have the possibility of a shared bath are the 21 day Best of Europe, the Scandivania tour and Bulgaria...maybe one other one. The possibility of shared bath arrangements is listed under Physical Demands on each tour listing page.

Posted by
27 posts

Than you for your answers! I guess it is pack for cool Spring. Do have waterproof pants I can put in my day pack for the bus. Am so hoping for a good day on Iona. Thanks, Pam, I did look at your lists. I live north of Seattle so this may be similar weather to us, but possible harder rains than we get.

Posted by
8397 posts

Well, the ONLY time I ever wanted or needed waterproof pants was on the Iona day! If you have them and they aren't the real big heavy ones, I'd take them. I knew it was bad when the guide pulled hers on!

And yes, I'd go for your usual temps! If spring is as weird as winter has been then I'd base it on normal not current, hahaha!

Posted by
95 posts

I think DH and I are on the same tour as you! I am already looking at the extended weather (ridiculous to look out 7 weeks I know) and the average temps are in the 50's. That's a little chilly compared to NC in May. We did Ireland the same time in 2017 and light layers worked best---several days I wore a long sleeve T and I lived in a lightweight down vest. We are also debating the waterproof pants. Hope for the best and plan on the worst!

Posted by
677 posts

I’m from Boise, Idaho, and I’ll wear shorts until the snow goes sideways. I’m in San Diego where it’s 55F and the natives are bundled up in their down coats.

You’ve got to know your comfort level and tolerances for wind, rain, and penetrating cold or damp. Bring appropriate outerwear for your needs. Being wet or cold is a miserable way to spend a vacation.

Personally I’m packing rain pants for Scotland in early April because Scotland and April.

Posted by
27 posts

Dear edgefield, (DW) yes I think we are on the same tour! I actually checked to see what the weather was last year on these dates!! Ha ha ha! Turns out this week was all rainy, but the next was all sunny. I thought, well, crumb, I picked the wrong week! But, hey looks like we could have rain or sun, or a mix. Maybe bringing our rain pants will be like insurance against it raining.....So looking forward to the trip! Sounds like I am packing pretty much what you packed for Ireland.

Posted by
16 posts

I was on this tour in early May of 2017 and we didn't have any rain at all. I would say the weather was cool but the tour members who were from warmer climates (CA mostly) thought it was cold! In the mornings I would put on jeans, l/s tee shirt, scarf, cotton sweater, and rain jacket and as the day progressed would remove bits as it warmed up. The boat rides were colder and I put on gloves and a light puffer jacket under the rain coat but took them off when we arrived at Iona. If you want to see pictures, I did a scrapbook and you can check out both the weather and what the clothing was like!

Posted by
27 posts

Martha, thank you! Sounds perfect for this western Washington lady! Would love to look at your scrapbook. Is it in the RS Tour scrapbooks?

Posted by
745 posts

edgefield and terilowe60: We're on the same tour with you. I've been practicing for Scotland weather today. Here in central Illinois, it's been mid-30s to low 40s and pouring rain all day. I've been out a couple of times with a light fleece and puffy jacket under my rain jacket. Upper body stayed warm and dry, but I'm now at least thinking about adding rain pants. And while I chose to buy non-waterproof Merrell shoes, my wife and I are thinking we'll hit our shoes with some waterproofing spray before the tour.

Our son, who's been studying at the University of Edinburgh since early January, has reported he's had pretty good weather with little rain since he's been there. He walks a mile or so to classes every day and hasn't minded the weather at all. He loves walking around the historic city. Fingers crossed for our trip.

Posted by
27 posts

Stout fella- good to hear from you. I don’t have waterproof shoes either. Wish to wear the running shoes that are the most comfortable for me. Just keep dry sox on hand! Your son’s report on the weather is so helpful, too! See you in April/May!

Posted by
745 posts

Martha: I'd perused your scrapbook before, but gave it another look after your comment on this thread. It's very nicely done and I especially enjoyed your commentary. It was helpful now knowing what time of year you went on your tour. I wish everyone who posted scrapbooks included that information.