Autumn colors. Perhaps that idea brings to mind Vermont, or Tokyo, or Tuscany. All good places to experience the beauty of changing seasons. Had you thought of Scotland?
It’s true that Scotland is known for its evergreens. Fir, spruce, and pine dominate many mountainsides and forests. As varied as its landscapes are, though, so too are the varied ways you can take in the beauty of autumn colors in Scotland.
Perthshire is, after all, known as Big Tree Country. That’s a designation that comes into full force in autumn, in places such as Faskally Wood. Faskally has been standing in for the US state of North Carolina in episodes of Outlander, and it is also the site of The Enchanted Forest festival, when the woods are celebrated with music and lighted displays.
There are other aspects of autumn colors to savor in Perthshire. You will find autumn tinging landscape with color throughout the Highlands and further north in Caithness and Sutherland in autumn, as well.
Somewhat at the other end of things both in geography and in denseness of forest from Highland Perthshire is Shetland. There was a time when Shetland was almost treeless. That is changing, though, and even where there are not many deciduous trees about to share their autumn colors. you can look for autumn’s color changes in the ground cover and shrubs. While you are in the northern isles you may experience lovely autumn sunsets too.
Back on the mainland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs offer fine prospects for autumn forest exploration. So do parts of Argyll.
The Cairngorms are covered with evergreen forests, but there you will find contrasting colors of autumn standing out among the silvers and greens of fir and spruce.
You will find autumn colors in Scotland’s towns and cities, as well, along streets as well as in parks, from Inverness to Aberdeen to Edinburgh to Glasgow.
The Borders down towards Hadrian’s Wall have their own autumn beauty, as well.
Scotland is being affected by global warming, as it is with the change of seasons all over the planet, so places and times of autumn color changes can and will vary year to year.
In general, expect autumn colors in Scotland to be at their height between mid September and late October. There will still be some changing leaves lingering in November, but by then it is turning toward winter and leaves will be falling.
One place to look for information on how Scotland’s autumn colors are changing in any given season is the Forestry and Land Scotland website, which has information and guides to many things to do with Scotland’s forests. The Woodland Trust is also a fine resource to consult when planning to visit forests in Scotland.
To keep up with weather across Scotland, BBC Scotland on television and radio and the Gaelic language channels BBC Alba and Radio nan Gàidheal are good resources, and you can follow BBC Weather on social media as well. Though television broadcasts are mainly available only within the UK, radio channels can usually be heard online worldwide.
When you are done with your daytime and sunset explorations, autumn is also an excellent time to experience night skies in Scotland. From Galloway Forest Park to the Outer Hebrides, remember to take time to explore Scotland’s night skies.
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