November in Scotland can be a strange month. Sadly, I cannot promise you the best weather, nor can you expect the worst weather. In fact, whilst you might expect cool, breezy days, it can be no better or worse than Summer weather! So don’t dismiss November in Scotland. Just pack accordingly.
5th November Bonfire Night
The 5th of November is traditionally Fireworks Night in the UK. The historical origins of this day originate from Guy Fawkes’s 1605 Gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and replace the Protestant King with a Catholic Head of State.
Living in a country like Scotland, where history surrounds our daily lives, one cannot help but be reminded that we have the Culloden Battlefield near us, which was the site of the last ever battle on British soil and that involved Scotland wanting Catholic Bonnie Prince Charlie as their King albeit that Charles Stuart would have reigned as a Protestant.
And as part of everyday history in Scotland, I recently had time to explore Kinloss Abbey. Founded in 1150 by Cistercian monks, it is hard to comprehend not just the size of the Abbey but its wealth and influence for over 400 years in this part of Scotland. The Reformation Parliament abolished the Catholic church in 1560, and religious life at the Abbey ended.
With modern politics revolving around Scottish Independence, some things do not appear to change. I often wonder how people will review us in the future.
Even more confusing, some say this 5th November celebration replaced the original Pagan ceremonies we now celebrate as Halloween. It seems to be that traditions change and modify as times go by. As with many other traditions, they have become more 21st-century and commercial.
The changing of this ceremony is asking for fireworks to be discontinued and replaced with light shows and new technology. Fireworks can be loud, unusual and frightening for all wild and domestic animals. And if poorly handled can be dangerous to the user, this should perhaps be one more forthcoming change we welcome.
No matter where or how the Bonfire Night tradition originated, it is an excellent event for all ages, and on a clear dry night, it is a unique experience. Sausages and Toffee apples can complete the cold evening standing watching the considerable fire that the Forres residents in Grant Park would have assembled.
So If the pandemic allows and you are visiting on the 5th of November, perhaps next year, find yourself a good vantage point in Grant Park and enjoy the atmosphere – write your name in the dark with a sparkler or light for me.
Of poignant importance here in November in Scotland and the whole of the UK is Remembrance Sunday where wreaths are laid in remembrance of those in the armed forces that lost their lives at the end of the First World War. Commemorated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the war ended in 1918. It is particularly poignant in this house as Major Galloway the original owner of Blervie House, died in 1915.
We also have the RAF and Army bases here as part of our integral community, and history again takes us back to Fort George, the home of the Highland Regiments and where Major Galloway was stationed.
St Andrews Day
The 30th of November is St Andrew’s day and the official flag day in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s flag-flying regulations state that the Flag of Scotland (the Saltire or Saint Andrew’s Cross) shall fly on all its buildings with a flagpole. Before 2002, the Scottish Government followed the UK Government’s flag days and would fly the Saltire only on Saint Andrew’s Day. The regulations were updated to state that the Union Flag would be removed and replaced by the Saltire on buildings with only one flagpole.
In Scotland and many countries with Scottish connections, Saint Andrew’s Day is marked with a celebration of Scottish culture and traditional Scottish food and music. In Scotland, the day is also seen as the start of a season of Scottish winter festivals encompassing Saint Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night. There are week-long celebrations in the town of St Andrews and in some other Scottish cities.
What to Pack
This leads me back to the weather in November in Scotland and what to pack. With temperatures ranging from around 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F), it’s a perfect time of year to snap some photographs as you take an invigorating autumn amble through the forest. So boots suitable for hiking, a waterproof coat is necessary any time of the year and comfortable walking trousers. Gilets are great because they can add warmth and can be so versatile. On holiday in Scotland to me means smart casual and layers.
It’s a good idea to include a pair of sunglasses. Scotland is a great place to be outdoors, and cruising on Loch Ness can mean more sunshine in November than in the summertime. This is a picture I took last November on Loch Ness – it was like a magical Summer’s day!
Johnstons’ of Elgin November Sale
However, if you forgot to pack something, another November in Scotland tradition is the annual Johnston’s of Elgin Sale. If you have forgotten something, this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to some timeless, classic knitwear, and it is the sale too.
Of all the attractions we send our many guests to, Johnston’s consistently pleases everyone. We see some very small shopping bags coming back, but they say the best things come in small packages.
We also see people making return visits and are very happy to use our Blervie House Loyalty Card in the store for their additional discount! So if quality Cashmere and Christmas presents are on your mind, look out for Johnston’s November sale.
So there are plenty of traditions in Scotland in November. With so much evidence to remind us of the past, November is still a month to make people’s dream of visiting Scotland likely to come true.
In the meantime, we have superb Autumn scenery and some stunning beaches, castles and scenery for you to enjoy.