We reveal some surprising facts!
"What’s the weather like in Inverness and Loch Ness?"
That’s a question I am asked frequently, though in these days of mobile aps it tends to be asked a little less frequently! I must say though, that the local forecasts on my mobile devices never really give you a definitive overview of what the weather is doing, exactly where you want to go, so I thought I would say a little about how it actually feels from a local perspective, from someone living here on Loch Ness.
Sitting here in my office right now, end of November, the forecast last night predicted snow and all sorts of warnings of things to come today but in fact I’ve just watched the sun set in an almost cloudless sky !
What few people realise is that Inverness is actually one of the driest areas of Scotland with just under 900 mm of rain average per year, October, November and December being the wettest months and February and April being the driest. Compare that with Fort William, just 66 miles south west of Inverness, which has over 1800 mm a year. If that weren’t enough, I often see rain across the loch moving up the glen and fizzling out before it reaches Inverness. I see clear roads at loch level but snowy conditions higher up the slopes of the glen.
The important lessons to glean from all this, is that due to our geographical location, it is nearly always sunny somewhere in our part of the world !
I say that with tongue in cheek though, so come prepared with raincoats and “woolly pully” and then, whatever you want to do will be achievable and comfortable.
My personal favourite time of year at Loch Ness is second half of May to mid June. This is usually before the midges come out in force and the days are endless. See about how to avoid midges. You may already know it, but this far north in early summer the sun is often still shining at 10pm and it hardly gets dark at all.
The days are short in winter and daylight hours are about 8am to 4pm depending on whether the sky is clear or overcast. As I get older, my days out on the hill become less frequent but I love the midwinter low temperatures of December and January when -10 C is quite normal at altitude and places like this are just a short drive out of Inverness. Hill walking is crisp underfoot, no boggy waterlogged trails to endure! Just white crisp hills with fields of unbroken and unmarked snow - it really is a joy to behold and, just like kids, a good hill to glissade down is the most fun you could ever experience.
The sun shines, it does rain and it does snow, sometimes all on the same day! This is all part of the Highland experience. Come prepared and you can have the time of your life any time of year. Choose low season and you will have more choice of accommodation at rock bottom prices, take a look at our accommodation pages.
For stats junkies: Annual Weather Averages
July is the hottest month in Inverness with an average temperature of 14°C (57°F) and the coldest is January at 4°C (39°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 5 in June. The wettest month is January with an average of 50mm of rain but remember at altitude (just up the glen a short walk away) it falls as snow. It rains an average of 143 days per year.