The magic of the Northern Lights in Scotland

They say magic isn’t real. Those who say that, however, clearly have never seen the Northern Lights in Scotland. Because once you’ve experienced waves of light dancing over your head, you might just believe that anything is possible. 

What are the Northern Lights?

If we want to be all scientific about this (boo!) then the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are the result of the interactions between particles from the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field. As the particles are deflected towards the North Pole, they interact with our atmosphere and create the streams of light we can see. 

Exactly how the Northern Lights work isn’t totally understood yet. However, we do know that they are more likely to be visible after a large solar storm. They are also more dramatic the further north you are. 

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights can only be seen at night time. So, if you visit our holiday houses at Loch Lomond or Loch Tay in the winter, you will have a much better chance of seeing them. 

Nothing is guaranteed, of course. You can get alerts about when Northern Lights might be visible during your visit to one of our properties. Visit the AuroraWatch website for up-to-date information.

It’s also best to be somewhere with very little light pollution. You will struggle to see them in the middle of a city, but sitting outside a lodge with a warm drink might just be the best place to experience this natural phenomenon.

Finally, make sure you look north for the best chance of seeing them.

The northern lights over Loch Lomond.

Legends of the night sky

So although we know what causes the Northern Lights, there’s still plenty of room left for some imagination. Throughout human history, we have tried to understand these beautiful displays. 

Some early people of Scandinavia – the Sami – believed the lights were the souls of the dead being taken away. If you waved at the lights or caught their attention, they might pick you too (or even cut off your head) so looking at the Northern Lights was highly discouraged. 

Similarly, it is thought that Vikings believed the lights to be a sign that warriors were rising up to see Odin in Valhalla. The lights were reflections of the armour of Valkyries, guiding them up. 

However, in other countries and times, the lights were seen as good omens. For example, Estonians believed they were a sign of a great wedding happening in heaven. If Swedish fishermen saw the lights, they would consider it good fortune as they would land a great catch that morning. 

What do you think? Might the Northern Lights really be a river in the sky? Or aliens talking to us? Or…well, whatever you can imagine. The sky’s the limit!

Experience the Northern Lights at our lodges

We can’t guarantee the Northern Lights when you stay with us, but we can be sure you will have an exceptional time at our holiday properties at Loch Lomond or Loch Tay. Find out more and book your perfect stay with us.