Amazing autumn in Scotland

Maple tree. Photography: Kloniwotski

Maple tree. Photograph: Kloniwotski

Scotland’s landscape is bursting into a fabulous array of autumnal colours. Where are the best places to see autumn at its most splendid?

As suddenly as the sun came out in summer, so the leaves turn from green to fiery reds, oranges and yellows in autumn. It is one of my favourite times of the year and especially in Scotland where we are usually the first in the UK to enjoy autumn’s fabulous colours.

Scotland is also lucky to have so many woodlands and forests, where people can enjoy the crunch of crisp fallen leaves underfoot while being dazzled by a kaleidoscope of stunning foliage. There are so many fabulous locations for viewing autumn’s colours and we have chosen some of the best to show you in photographs.

In America, people who go in search of the best autumn tree views are called “leaf peepers”. I like this phrase! And perhaps Forestry Commission Scotland does, too.

Autumn in ScotlandThis autumn, a new campaign by FCS is calling on people – or leaf peepers – to share their autumn photographs.

Leaf peeping photo call out

The chosen pictures will be added to an Autumn Colours Map of Scotland, which will be updated weekly to reflect the transition from summer into autumn.

Photos can be submitted via Twitter or Facebook along with the hashtag #autumncolours and the best ones will be selected to add to the map. Take a look at Scotland’s Autumn Colours map and hover over the map to view the autumn colours emerging in various parts of the country.

10 top places to see autumn colours
Faskally Wood. Pic credit: Forestry Commission Scotland.

Faskally Wood. Photograph: Forestry Commission Scotland.

Faskally Wood, near Pitlochry, Perthshire

The owners of Faskally House created a “model woodland” in the 19th century and the house later became a school for young foresters. Visitors can explore a mix of tree species on the Foresters’ Trail, or take the “easy access” Dunmore Trail around the loch. In autumn the forest showcases a stunning display of colourful foliage.

To get there see Forestry Commission Faskally

Glen Affric. Pic credit: Forestry Commission Scotland.

Glen Affric. Photograph: Forestry Commission Scotland.

Glen Affric, Highlands

The glen is the largest area of pine forest close to its natural state in Britain. It’s a place that reveals what the Caledonian Forest, which once covered much of Scotland, would have looked like centuries ago.

But while Scots pine is the symbol of this forest, it actually has a rich mixture of different trees, including birch, oak and Douglas fir. In autumn, the changing colours of the foliage offer a truly breathtaking vista, with further eye candy provided by gorgeous lochs and mighty mountains.

See Glen Affric 

Pass of Killiecrankie.

Pass of Killiecrankie. Photograph: Mike Bolam

Killiecrankie, Perthshire

The Pass of Killiecrankie is a magnificent wooded gorge with the River Garry flowing along its base. The Battle of Killiecrankie, the major event in the first of the Jacobite uprisings, was fought nearby.

The nearby visitor centre tells of the battle and how one soldier escaped by making a spectacular jump across the River Garry at the spot now known as Soldier’s Leap. For daredevils, why not whizz through this fabulous landscape courtesy of the daring Highland Fling Bungee Jump?

River Ayr Way. Pic credit: Fiona Outdoors

River Ayr Way. Photograph: Fiona Outdoors

River Ayr Way, Ayrshire

The riverbank woodlands and tree-lined gorges of the peaceful long-distance walking trail are a magnet for leaf peepers. If you haven’t already walked a section of this 65km route, from Glenbuck to Ayr, you are missing a scenic treat.

See River Ayr Way

Queen's View.

Queen’s View. Photograph: Ian Dick

Queen’s View, Stirlingshire

An easy-ish walk that offers lovely views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a pretty view all year round but in autumn, especially if there is a touch of early snow, it appears as though some landscape artist has had their hand in creating an even better picture postcard vista.

Loch Morlich. Pic credit: Les Haines

Loch Morlich. Photograph: Les Haines

Loch Morlich, Aviemore

The early evening light paints a still and beautiful picture on Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park.

Maple tree. Pic credit: Kloniwotski

Maple tree. Photograph: Kloniwotski

A fiery red maple tree

Scotland is home to many delightful gardens, including Benmore Gardens, Argyll and Bute. This stunning red maple tree photograph was taken during the month of October.

Pic caption Queen Elizabeth Forest looking over Loch Lubnaig. Pic credit: Ian Dick

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park looking over Loch Lubnaig. Photograph: Ian Dick

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Stirlingshire

From The Lodge Visitor Centre, near Aberfoyle, there are a number of short walks that reward with fabulous autumnal views. Families will enjoy many of the trails, such as a magical meander to a waterfall and wildlife hide.

There are also gentle trails, suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, close by and alongside Loch Katrine and on the peaceful wooded shore of east Loch Lomond.

See Forest Park

Loch Achtriochtan. Pic credit: Mike Bolam

Loch Achtriochtan. Photograph: Mike Bolam

Loch Achtriochtan, Glencoe

The loch is located to the east of Glencoe village and is cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. During the 18th century, the loch flooded and nearby inhabitants had to abandon the area. These days it is a popular spot to walk or simply to stand and stare.

The Hermitage and River Braan. Pic credit: Mike Bolam

The Hermitage and River Braan. Photograph: Mike Bolam

The Hermitage, Dunkeld, Perthshire

An attractive woodland walk leads though a woodlands including magnificent Douglas firs to the amazing folly, Ossian’s Hall, which overlooks the River Braan and Black Linn waterfall.


Tell us about your favourite Scottish views in autumn.

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