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First time to Scotland - Weather and driving question

I am traveling to Scotland at the end of October through the middle of November.  My friend and I are flying into Edinburgh on the 26th and plan on renting a car and driving immediately north to Wick so that we can catch the Pentland Ferry to Orkney the next day.  We plan on being on the road by noon and I am wondering realistically how long (in terms of hours) the drive is?  Also, I am trying to be prepared for weather.  I live in California where it rarely falls below 7 Celsius in the coldest of winter so I am curious how cold and wet it might be?  Any information and advice will be greatly appreciated.  I am counting down the days until I get there.  


  • ParsmanParsman Member ✭✭✭
    The drive will likely take you 6 - 7 hours depending on road conditions and traffic. Temperature wise, it will be low and close to freezing on some days probably. The high temperature would be roughly your California low. Especially on Orkney you need to consider the wind chill factor. As always we suggest that you wear a few layers so you can dress up or down as the day progresses. A good jacket is an essential in winter too. Just remember though, in Scotland this is not cold, just bracing! :)
  • wlsginiwlsgini Member
    Parsman, Thank you for the response.  This confirms what I thought about the drive time.  As for the weather, I have augmented my mainly sleeveless wardrobe with some long sleeved layers and a good waterproof hooded jacket.  After a heat wave here this summer with a record temp of 44 Celsius, I am looking forward to bracing!  :smiley:

  • ParsmanParsman Member ✭✭✭
    A couple of years ago friends in the Balkans had a week of temperatures over 40 Celsius every day so just out of curiosity I checked the highest ever temperature in Scotland. On one day, just the once, we reached the heights of 32.9 down in the Scottish Borders. We really don't live here for the heat :D

  • SuleskerrySuleskerry Member ✭✭
    @wlsgini Layers are the key if you are visiting Orkney during the winter months, a good set of waterproofs (jacket and trousers), and decent footwear, ie walking boots.  I would also suggest you buy yourself hat, gloves & scarf somewhere along the way. Our winters tend to be windy and wet, although we do get some magical sunny days too.  The temperature doesn't often drop as low as freezing here, and as mentioned above the wind chill is a big factor. Always be prepared for 4 seasons in 1 day, and you'll be fine! 
  • Another alternative would be to take the shorter drive up to Aberdeen (about two and a half hours), which is on a good road, and get the ferry service to Orkney from there.

    Check out
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