Overview: Scotland being the most northerly country of the UK and being surrounded on three sides by water has a climate that can be described as unpredictable. There is an old Scottish saying that "there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!". The weather varies from region to region but in general the west is fairly wet and mild as it is warmed by the Gulf Stream. In fact there are some tropical plants which grow there. The prevailing wind is from the west which means the eastern side is drier but has colder winds. In the Highlands in winter the precipitation falls as snow and the temperature rarely rises above freezing.
On the western side of Scotland the damp mild weather supports midges, and in the summer months visitors are advised to have plenty of insect repellent.
Temperature: The average temperature during the winter months for Scotland is between 5°C and 7°C. During the summer months of July and August the average daily temperature is around 20°C. It is quite likely to experience temperatures considerably higher and lower than these, so it is always advisable to check the forecast to be well prepared.
Sunshine: It is worth noting that in the far north of the country there can be 18 to 20 hours of daylight in the summer months and resorts on the east coast are renowned for the amount of sunshine they receive. January and February are the months with the least amount of sunshine. Over the year expect to see the sun shining on around a quarter of the days, as some days can be dry but permanently cloudy.
Rainfall: Rainfall varies by region. The Western Highlands has around 3,000 mm per year while the east coast receives just 800mm per year. Rain falls on more than 250 days in the Highlands and around 150 days in other areas so always be prepared for a shower.
Snowfall: Between December and March snow will fall on more than a 100 days in the Cairngorms, which is good news for the five major ski centres there, but on the west coast and also in the south of the country it is unlikely to fall on more than 20 days per year
Wind: The prevailing wind from the Atlantic brings a great deal of warm wet air to the west side of the country along with the rainfall. Some of the islands including Orkney, the Shetland Isles and the Western Isles experience gales on more than 30 days of the year.
Visibility: On the whole Scotland often experiences very good visibility, although occasionally there is a hill fog on higher ground. Sometimes on the east coast a sea fog, known as a "haar", can roll in from the North Sea and spoil what would otherwise be a fine day, but generally is fairly short lived.
More Information: For other live Scotland Weather Forecasts check out the BBC latest forecast and for other general weather / climate overviews of scotland see Visit Scotland and the Lonely Planet websites.