6 Great Reasons to visit Moray and North East Scotland this Autumn
The nights may be drawing in, but there is still so much to see and enjoy here as we venture into autumn. Whether it’s a taste of the wilderness or a brush with art, culture and events, here’s our quick guide to what’s on around Moray and the Cairngorms this October and November.
Loch Morlich (above) in the Cairngorms is just one of many beautifully quiet locations to explore this autumn.
1. Picture autumn in the Highlands
With all of our beautiful beaches and craggy landscapes, from the Moray Firth to the Cairngorns, North East Scotland is a photographer’s dream. You’ll find big skies and epic scenery here at any time of year, but the autumn brings an even richer palette of colours to feast your eyes, and perhaps your lens too.
That said, you needn’t be an expert photographer to get a lot from your trip. A whole series of short photography courses and workshops at Forres offer expert tips and tuition on a whole range of topics to combine a relaxing break with learning some new skills. Whether it’s the course on “Taking Better Photos with Your Compact Camera, Phone or Tablet” (14th October 2017), or Working with Layers and Masks (November 4th) to process your own wonder-shots, there’s plenty of hands-on advice.
2. See history in a new light
A fantastic light show awaits at Forres this November (Image: Colours of Cluny Facebook)
There are many places to fascinate the history enthusiast in the North of Scotland, including some truly unique and ancient sites. Study the seasonal events calendar though, and there are also some exceptional seasonal events and special tours. Colours of Cluny (8th-19th November), for example, at Grant Park in Forres, is a huge hit with all ages, transforming local landmarks into a dazzling light show.
Meanwhile, the sharper-eyed guest will find some interesting talks and tours to spark your curiosity this autumn and winter. Elgin has several interesting events hosted by passionate local experts, including a guided tour of Elgin’s Hidden Treasures (Nov 5th).
3. Get into gear, or run on whisky!
Who says exercise and a little excess can’t be friends? (Image: Dramathon Facebook page)
When does exercise not feel like quite like exercise? The answer is when you combine an epic cycle or walk with some special treats along the way. Adding some traditional spirit to an endurance event, for example, is the Dramathon (21st October 2017) along Speyside Way. Make your journey between several distilleries at three different distances and you can earn special stamps to take home samples at the end of the race! Sounds like the perfect way to ease any aching muscles we think.
If cycling is more your cup of whisky though, you could always try a spot of road or mountain biking. There are not many better places to do this than the Cairngorms National Park. Try Mike’s Bike Hire, in the north of the park, for cycle rentals and some excellent recommended local routes: Aviemore Bikes
4. Peak time for the best Scottish food and drink
What a shame so many visitors leave Scotland at the end of the summer holidays, just before harvest time! Perhaps there’s a reason the locals keep it quiet, as this is probably the best time of the year to plan a gourmet trip North. From amazing sea food to local specialities and game meats, autumn menus are outstandingly good. Our menus change daily to reflect the best of the season, giving you a perfect taste of Scotland and something new to try every visit. See our dining section for more information.
5. Enjoy a brush with Highland wildlife
One of the other great things about visiting Scotland later in the season is the opportunity to spot Scottish wildlife, from those iconic creatures to one or two you perhaps didn’t expect. The Craigellachie National Nature Reserve has red and roe deer, red squirrels, grouse and much more besides. The birch trees and forests turn beautiful colours too, while it is a great time to find mushrooms and another field fare.
Meanwhile, if you hear reports of reindeer, don’t assume the locals have lost the plot because Cairngorm Reindeer Centre officially has the UK’s only wild herd of these creatures.
6. Enjoy luxury for less and special autumn breaks in Scotland.
If you ever struggled to find good value, or perhaps even an available room in the first place, during summer, enjoying a Highland escape later in the year makes even more sense. Prices tend to go down, making even the luxury hotels cheaper, while there is seldom any scrum for rooms.
With many hotels and businesses keen to entice you, it’s also a great time of the year for themed breaks and special events. These range from foodie escapes to romantic getaways for two; shop around for the best deals and be sure to check our special breaks and experiences page!