1. It’s wet.
  2. It’s grey.
  3. It’s beautiful.

No, really. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Scotland’s scenery is absolute stunning. The seemingly endless drizzling should be an hindrance, but in reality—it just adds to the magical mystery that makes up the Scottish countryside. Who knew that somewhere so wet, so grey, so foggy & cold could be so stunning?

Scottish countryside
The lush Scottish countryside

The wet weather means green grass (and plenty of moss). The foggy grey skies might make the countryside appear spooky but that only adds to the Scottish atmosphere. The many shades of grey that make up the Scotland countryside only emphasize the other colors that do exist. The Tartan kilts, the grassy green knolls, the pastel-painted houses, the black slate and the amber whisky. Scotland is lovely. End story.

TRAVEL TIP: TAKE A BUS TOUR! To get outside of the Scottish cities, consider a tour with companies like Rabbie’s Travel or Haggis Adventures. These group tour buses are a great way to get to hard-to-reach destinations as far north as the Isle of Skye…but they’re also handy for visiting whisky distilleries, castles and scenic outlooks. Check out Rabbie’s Tours of Scotland here.

Photos from the Scottish Countryside

Loch Lomond, Scotland
On the shores of Loch Lomond

Scottish Words to Know & Their Definitions

Scottish Words for Outdoors TravelOne thing I learned during my first trip through the Scottish countryside is that not only is this a whole other world than I’m used to, they’ve got an entirely different language here! It’s called “Scots” but it’s not actually taught in schools. And even though Scotland is currently part of the UK, that doesn’t mean they speak English here. I thought it bizarre the first time I heard someone speaking Scots because I just didn’t realize the accent and dialect would be so hard to decipher.

I’ve only really traveled around the Trossachs region of Scotland’s countryside, so without witnessing the majestic glory of the Isle of Skye or the picturesque Highlands, I can’t really speak of all the different types of scenery you might find in Scotland, but these Scots words should be a helpful starter guide to Scotland’s scenery (and weather).

  • Glen — It’s a steep-sided valley, popular among sheeps who graze along them, and photographers who can’t stop snapping photos
  • Ben — A mountain. Historically, many of these served as beacon hills to signal and call-to-arms neighboring Scottish clans
  • Loch — A lake. As in Loch Ness, duh.
  • Strath — A valley, like a glen, but this one’s got a flat floor which makes for good farmland.
  • Burn — A stream, usually occurs because of the massive amounts of rain that feed into the gushing waterfalls

Also, two of the most important weather-related Scots words. Trust me: these will be handy when trying to fit in like a local!

  • Dreich (also geidreich) — It means all the worst bits of weather: wet, cold and gloomy! Use “gei” when it’s exceptionally bad.
  • Braw — It’s used when the day is actually quite nice, or “fine.” Hopefully you get to use this word more often than “dreich.”
Wet Scotland
Scotland is wet but beautiful in the winter
Monachyle Mhor
It’s possible to even go on safaris through parts of the Scottish countryside. Hidden Glen Safaris get you close to nature and wildlife in The Trossachs
The Trossachs
Road in the Trossachs National Park

TRAVEL TIP: BRING SCOTTISH MUSIC ON YOUR ROAD TRIP! When you’re out exploring the sweeping vistas and the glens, lochs and straths of Scotland, make sure you load up a playlist of Scottish music. And not that silly (but sweet) traditional folk music. Rather…load the cool indie bands you’ll find at the likes of the T in the Park music festival.

Waterfall Scotland
Gushing waterfall in The Trossachs
Scotland Glen
Glens are deep valleys
Scotland countryside
Stone fences to keep sheep from wandering too far
Scotland moss
Moss is everywhere in Scotland
Loch Fyne
Flooded Atlantic waters of Loch Fyne
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Scotland countryside
Trees in the mist

If you’ve been to Scotland before, let me know below what you thought of the Scottish countryside. Did you find it as delightfully spooky and darkly charming as I do?

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