What It Is It Like To Live In Scotland
As I get more and more involved in the world of traveling and photography around Scotland, I can’t help but see more and more people online starting to become interested in what it is like to live here.
I moved to Scotland almost 8 years ago, from Romania. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow and went on mini adventures as many times as I could, in an attempt to see as much as I could of this place. Inevitably, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this country. The culture, the landscapes, the roads, and, most importantly, the people, make this place a wonderful place to be. Keep on reading to find out more about what I think it’s like to live in Scotland.
Let’s get the obvious (and quite possibly, the only negative of living here) thing out of the way. When people think of the United Kingdom in general, they think of kings and queens, they think of the industrial revolution, Mr. Bean and THE RAIN. Yup, there’s no denying it – the weather can be a bit miserable, especially up north, here, in Scotland. There are approximately 265 days a year (according to the MetOffice) that it rains in North Western Scotland, whereas the South East can generally see as few as 170 days. Being based in Glasgow, I can attest to these numbers. There are times where it can really drag on, with cloudy days and scattered rainfall day in, day out.
Scotland can experience all 4 seasons and the beauty of it is that that can happen on the same day! Depending on the time of the year, if you go for a drive, you can experience sunshine, clouds and rain, hail, snow and gale-force winds! With that in mind, spring is between March and April and sees temperatures rising up to 13oC. Vegetation starts to come alive and daylight gets longer and longer. Summer brings in the warmest months of the year, with temperatures rising to as much as 30oC (that was this year, 2018, it usually is around 20oC). Days can be really long, especially further north, which can give you a lot of time to be out and enjoy the weather. In autumn, temperatures start dropping, rainfall increases but every park and woodland become covered in amazing colours and it makes for incredible scenery. When winter comes along, the nights get longer, rainfall increases and it’s generally cold. If weather currents are just right, there can even be snow here.
All in all, although the weather can be gloomy for extended periods of time, there’s no denying that. But when the sun shines, it makes for an amazing place. All I need is one day of sun and I feel refreshed and thankful for living in such a beautiful country. Visit Scotland has a bit more information here.
There probably wouldn’t be a My Saturday Drive if it wasn’t for Scotland’s amazing landscapes and scenery. From stunning beaches and beautiful plains to towering mountains, this country has a little bit of everything to offer! There are modern cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness which offer typical modern living conditions, with plenty of public transport, housing and work opportunities. No matter your age or ambitions, you would be hard pressed to not be able to find your place in Scotland.
If you are the city dweller type who likes the rush of the city, the morning Starbucks run and being within 20 minutes of everyone and everything, Scotland could be a great place for you to live. If, however, you prefer a more tranquil lifestyle, want to detach yourself from the world and be able to see the stars at night, there are plenty of smaller towns and villages dotted around Scotland for you to pick. Ideally, for a couple of weeks a year, I would love it if I could move out to one of the islands on the West Coast of Scotland. I recently visited Mull and Iona (read about my experience here, here and here) and, honestly, I did not want to leave. It was so nice being disconnected, breathing in fresh air and being within walking distance from the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen.
As for me, when I am not travelling, my home is Glasgow. It’s where I first landed in Scotland and I’ve built myself a nice little life here. I am not the most extroverted person, nor the most outgoing, yet it wasn’t hard to find friends, work, accommodation and hobbies. Glasgow can be a fantastic entry into the world of Scotland for anyone. There are three amazing universities (University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Strathclyde), tons of job opportunities (see Indeed) and plenty of pubs and restaurants to hang out or shops to get your retail therapy on. The same can be said about the other major cities here, so at the end of the day, it’s just a matter of personal choice where you want to go, if you want to live here.
The most incredible thing about Scotland, to me at least, is that in addition to the vibrant, bustling cities, there are so many beautiful places to visit, many of which can only be no more than an hour of driving away from where you live. Many a Glaswegian will find that Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas (Queen Elizabeth Park and the Trossachs) can be a nice place for a little day break out of the city. Equally, during summer, if one fancies a little bit of beach and seaside, Ayrshire on the West Coast, can easily be reached in an hour from Glasgow. My favourite beach is a more secluded one, down at the Electric Brae. I’ve spent many summers there and believe it or not, I always tanned!
If the beach is not your thing and you are more of a mountaineering kind of person, Scotland has 282 Munros (mountains that are at least 3000 feet tall) for you to bag and plenty of snow sports opportunities at Glencoe or the Cairngorms.
If I could do it, so can you. If you are looking to relocate to Scotland then, by all means, do it, because, in my opinion, this is one of the most amazing countries in the world! There’s beautiful landscapes, amazing cities and of course, all of this because of amazing people, which smoothly segways us into the next topic.
In 2014, Glasgow was the proud host of the Commonwealth Games and with that, the slogan “People make Glasgow” came about. But people make Scotland! All of the things we see today in Scotland are because of the people who live here. No matter where you go, be it the busy streets of Edinburgh, or the quiet lanes of Tobermory, you will always find amazing people, kind people, polite people and people who are willing to chat or help out with directions.
In case this is the first time you are coming across my blog, welcome! I hope you are enjoying my content. Although My Saturday Drive focuses a lot on travelling experiences, as its name suggests, it is also inclined towards driving and anything to do with the world of cars. So what is it like to drive in Scotland? In the congested city centres, like anywhere else in the world, it sucks. But if you like your driving, you know the fun is to be had outside of town, onto the twisty country roads, which Scotland has plenty of. Part of the reason why I started My Saturday Drive is that I fell in love with driving through Scotland and now I am looking for any excuse during the weekend to get out there and drive. The roads are absolutely great and you don’t even have to go too far out into the country to find amazing ones. I’ve already covered about 30.000 miles through Scotland and I can tell you, the majority of them were incredibly fun. I will compile a little list of what I think are the best roads in Scotland to drive on, but in the meantime, on a related subject matter, have a little look at what I think could be a great weekend getaway for the driver in you – NorthCoast 500.
So there you have it. I hope you find this little insight into what I think it’s like to live in Scotland useful. I am not expecting to convince anyone to move here but I hope I painted a pretty good picture of the general aspects of living in Scotland. What do you think? Will you come for a visit, or, even consider relocating here?