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highlands in mid October with a car ?

hi all,
I'm planning a 7 day trip to the highlands in mid October.
an estimated route is : Edinburgh --> Glencoe --> Glenelg --> Skye --> Inverness  --> Saint Andrews --> Edinbrough
My main concern is bad road conditions due to weather.
What are the expected road condition on this route at this time of year ? are snow tires needed ? is road flooding expected ?
What is the expected weather ? I don't mind some rain , but too much rain will be less favorable  ?
Are there affordable traveling alternatives along this route or a similar route (like a combination of trains/buses/faeries)
Any other suggestions (route changes)
thanks in advance ,


  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Thanks for your enquiry. I am not sure whether you are planning to drive or to take public transport. In mid October it would be very unusual to have snow - it can happen in November but it's still quite rare. The weather is extremely unpredictable in any season but my guess is that you will experience a mixture of rain/sunshine/wind and maximum temperatures around 10 - 12 Celcius . In October the trees look spectacular as the leaves are turning red and gold so it's a really good time of year to see the Highlands.
    Regarding the route you describe, it is fine as you have a whole week. I would recommend you to have a look at our accommodation section if you want to plan overnight stays. If you prefer to travel by public transport, have a look at Citylink Explorer Pass or Scotrail Travel passes which can save you quite a lot of money. Citylink offer discounts on some ferry and other bus companies.
    When in Scotland, please pop in to VisitScotland iCentres for helpful advice on a whole range of topics.
    Have a great holiday in Scotland and please post some pictures on the forum! 
  • @ezko I would imagine that you will be absolutely fine in Mid October - You will hopefully get some lovely autumn colours and some sunshine. Public Transport would be very difficult on the route.   Be sure to check ferry times - you can also sail to Skye from Mallaig and booking is recommended.   Accommodation will also still be quite busy in October - especially in Skye so best to book ahead!  The great thing about October in the Highlands - No Midgies!!!  Have a great visit.  
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  • ezkoezko Member

    Hi Donnie and VisitSctolandMurial .
    Thanks very much for your replies.
    It sounds like a car would be the best option.
    I didn't know october is still busy (i was planning on just finding B&B along the way) , but now i understand reservations are advisable.
    if you have any other suggestions (places to see , short walks along the way) i'm open to suggestions. 
  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @ezko
    I am glad you find the information useful. For walks along the way, please check out the following website:
    There is a bridge to a go across to Skye between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin so that would be the cheapest option in a car. Places to visit near Skye: Plockton, Applecross and generally Wester Ross (North West Highlands) which is a stunning part of the country if you have enough time.
    Enjoy your time in Scotland!

  • ezkoezko Member
    Hi VisitScotlandMurial.
    thanks for the tips. the website you suggested for walks is awsome (so many walks - hard to choose from).  
    thanks !
  • BushmanBushman Member ✭✭
    Hi @ezko, For road info such as road works expected delays etc check out
    I see you are planning on visiting Glenelg, there is a ferry there that takes you over to Skye i think i'm correct in saying it's the only turntable ferry left in operation. The drive from Kylerhea on to the main road is spectacular but be aware it is a narrow road. 
    Also at the top of the hill at Kylerhea on your right there is a car park that is for the otter hide but also has a great view of Glenelg and the ferry. It is a lovely walk into the hide and is one of the best wildlife hides i have ever been in, just remember there is no certainty in seeing any otters.
    Hope you enjoy your visit , i'm sure you will.
  • Hi there, following this with interest as staying in Edinburgh and then driving to Fort William for steam train ride to Mallaig (back to Edinburgh same day).  Does anyone know of good rental company to use or is it just standard national companies.  I've been told its about 3 hours drive, is this accurate?  Many thanks.
  • VisitScotlandAlisonVisitScotlandAlison Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Try the main rental companies from the airport as they tend to have longer opening hours.  Time to Fort William is roughly 3 hours but traffic out of Edinburgh can be heavy unless you are leaving very early for the morning train from FW.  You don't want to be late for  your trip so allow plenty of time!  You can get a nice breakfast from the Morrison's next to station if you do arrive a bit early!  
  • ezkoezko Member
    thanks again for all the tips.
    i'm starting to work on a more detailed plan which i will post later on for some more feedback.
  • mustseescotlandmustseescotland VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    Be sure to check your Glenelg - Skye ferry times - as they stop operating in October - exact date not decided. We have some Skye advice and driving route to Skye info on our website too.

    The independent online guide to Scotland, written by Gilbert and Johanna Summers - lifetime Scottish tourism experts, so you get the best vacation.

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