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Adventures in Scotland

Scottish Tourist kit guide for dummies – Winter Edition

On February 19, 2020 By Tammy Reynolds

With the newspapers declaring that the UK is going to be hit by -yet another- coldest winter in a hundred years, it’s probably best for the winter adventurers to get kitted up the right way.

I write this because I was a tourist once, and now I’m a local and thus can now see the foolishness in some tourists’ choice of clothing when it comes to tackling the Scottish weather. And let me tell you, some can be truly foolish indeed.

Now, I’m not saying that you’ll do any of these foolish things, but I only write about it because I’ve actually seen some people do it, so I can only hope and pray that no one else will have to ruin their holiday to this magnificent part of the world because they weren’t dressed right.

So if you’re planning a trip up here in the winter, whatever you may end up doing, I hope these tips will prove useful to you.

  1. Hats

As a relatively young person, I’m one to appreciate good fashion that the aspect of ‘looking good’ sometimes trumps being practical. But trust me when I say that there are both fashionable and practical headwear out there that won’t intrude on your ‘image’ and keep your ears warm at the same time.

I myself had this winter hat, the branded kind that I cannot name here, but it had a fairly big tick on it. It was fairly pricey too and was a nice colour. However, the colour nor the tick did anything to keep my head warm. In fact, the thing was probably using my body warmth to keep itself warm.

The Scottish winds can be truly penetrating you see, and you only find out just how much when you wear a hat you wished would do more than just say you’re very much a city person.

There are plenty of outdoor shops where we are where you can buy hats for a price, yes it’s also labelled with a brand, but at least you know that it’s a brand that works towards practical solutions as well as looking sweet.

I, for one, haven’t looked back.

  1. Scarves

I get given one of these at least once every year, and it’s usually Christmas, from a distant relative who got me for Secret Santa and doesn’t really know me well enough to get me something a little bit more personal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love scarves, but I personally have way too many of them and to be honest, I find wearing them just gets in the way.

Let’s say you come up here and you and your family decide to go for a walk around the forest or even up the Cairngorms if you’re feeling lucky. You have your scarf on and every single second, the wind is blowing it off your neck and onto your face, sticking to your thickly lip-balmed lips. I have seen way too many pictures of people standing on the mountainside with their scarves taking up half the picture.

Think something more practical and use a buff! I can say it has truly changed my life. There’s no more wrapping in special ways, no more having my head buried in breezy fabrics, I’ve actually got something closer to my body keeping it warm with no risk of it being blown away.

  1. Footwear

This one was kind of relates to the whole fashion thing already mentioned about the hats, but this one is a bit of a bigger topic, especially to the younger ones.

My husband is an outdoor instructor and will sometimes, if not most of the time, take a group of young’uns up on the hill for a walk, get their bodies working. Sometimes he encounters a ‘mare of a child where they had worn a very expensive and fashionable pair of shoes up the hill and has it end up in the slightest bit of bog en route to the top.

Let me tell you something about the Scottish marshes and trails, bogs are almost always guaranteed. So please, wear something appropriate!

  1. Waterproofs

If there’s anything Scotland is known for, it’s the weather. We don’t really shut up about it here and for good reason. It’s pretty ‘dreich’ all the time, which brings me to the point of waterproofs.

I’ve had 3 just being here, and the reason I’ve had three is that the Scottish rain managed to whet out the previous two and ruin it forever. They were the better makes too! It just goes to show that there is really no going against the elements up here. And as a tourist, it is better for you to just accept this and be more prepared to tackle it because it’ll be you getting the last laugh.

There was a couple I saw once un Cairngorm skiing, with jeans on. JEANS! Needless to say, I shook my head at them, inwardly, of course, I’m not a monster. But at the bottom, both their bottoms were drenched and their legs were aching not because of the skiing but because they had to roll up their already tight jeans up their legs to put the skiing boots on. Please, don’t be like them.

The drier the better.

  1. Emergency Clothing

Since you’re already going to be bringing a bag with you, why not just add a clean and dry pair of socks in there, maybe an umbrella, a few plastic bags, a buff and anything that could potentially save your day from being miserable.

If, say, you did step into a bog and your feet are now wet and muddy, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing you’ve got a spare and then slip on the plastic bag so as to not re-enter the dirty shoes with your clean socks. It was most definitely one of my saving graces when a small outing turned into an epic.


There you have it, most of those things you should already know, of course, this wasn’t meant to make you feel dumb, just as a wee reminder. And please, do enjoy the Highlands, it’s a one of a kind.

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