A glow in the north

A glow in the north. Scotland turns to autumn.

22nd October 2020

Every year at the beginning of September, when I am driving north out of Edinburgh on my private tours of Scotland, I cast my eyes over the trees lining the A90 to look for the beginning of natures change of season. The leaves on the trees have not yet changed colour, but they have lost their vibrancy, and have gone, ever so slightly, dull. It won’t be be until early October that we will see the display of yellows, oranges and reds but before we get to this pallet of new colour, there is a dullness in the leaves, a farewell to the green for another year. This for me, is the beginning of that wonderful season in Scotland, Autumn. Light, or the decreasing amount of it, is another sign that we are on the change. In summer, because of our latitude, we enjoy long summer days and nights where the sun does not set until around 10.30pm giving us 18 hours of daylight! Now, the nights are ‘fair closing in’, as we would say in Scotland, and the mornings take longer to get going too.

The air is ‘fresh’, which means cool or cold! In early morning, in late September, you can feel the slightly damp air touch your face, like one of those soft misty showers used to keep you cool when standing in line at a hot theme park. We are obsessed with weather in Scotland, and no matter how bad the summer months have been, we Scots do love the transition from Summer into Autumn.

Scotland is one of the finest countries in the world to experience autumn. It is our glowing golden time of year. The leaves on trees, shrubs and bushes turn to a yellow gold, but orange and red are prevalent too. The agricultural landscape, of grasses, wheat, barley and hay fields are all golden. The sun has a warm glow, and on crystal clear days, it is almost like the landscape is all served up in a glass of beautiful, golden, single malt whisky!

Walking is the number one activity in Scotland and autumn is arguably, the best time of year to get out there. Our many thousands of lochs seem to be a deeper shade of blue and swell that bit wilder, as the winds move across the landscape whispering to us, “change is here”.

Even the castles glow in autumn. Most are built in beautiful sandstone and now, at last, the seasons have caught up with them and matched up in a togetherness, in a perfect harmony of heritage and nature. Of course, they coexist and thrive in other seasons too!

In Scotland, autumn speaks to us. It invites us to get out here. It reminds us that we are an outdoor people. We should be living off the land, like our ancestors did (well, just seeing it will do for us). We should be gathering and saving. We should be getting ready for winter...