Autumn can elicit a variety of responses depending on who you ask. The golden coloured hues of the trees, pink sunsets and the sound of rustling leaves lining our paths through acorns and conkers have a distinct visual charm yet it is also the time when our days lose a little more light and we start thinking about staying in. So for a time of transition it helps to ease ourselves into this new season, without beginning our hibernation period too early and what better way to do it than some autumnal outdoor activities!
Host a Small Bonfire
As the evenings get cooler, hosting a bonfire in your backyard or at a designated fire pit area is an excellent way to savor the cosy side of autumn. Bonfires aren’t just for Guy Fawkes night! Layer up and bring your blanket and enjoy the warmth and crackling of the fire. Smaller fires are great for marshmallows, baked potatoes and ghost stories while bonfires might suit sparklers, good tunes and some strong tonics! Either way it’s the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family while embracing the spirit of the season.
Although the air is taking on a distinctly cooler, crisper feel, autumn does tend to mean clearer skies, making it the perfect season for stargazing and star walks. Plus, with the darkness setting in earlier, you don’t need to stay up as late to enjoy the night sky. Keep an eye out for any big astronomical events, like super moons and meteor showers - they are not as rare as you might think! Meteor showers are particularly exciting, something about witnessing a cascade of shooting stars really makes you feel lucky! Put December 13th and 14th if you want to catch the Geminids Meteor Shower which can produce up to 120 meteors per hour! A trip to any rural area should reveal the stars to you and the moon is available wherever you are. However, if you really want to go all out there are a few ‘dark skies areas’ around the country where the sky is super clear and mesmerising.
It wouldn’t be right to not seek out some trees in autumn. As October moves on the colours just get richer and richer, particularly in broadleaf forests full of oaks, beech and sycamore. This is the perfect time to get inspired by nature and take some slower strolls under the canopy. While you’re slowing the pace, why not pick up a camera and find the fun in capturing the world through your own personal perspective or tracking down an elusive robin or red squirrel for a bit of modelling.
Bothying, the practice of staying in simple, remote, and often rustic shelters in the wilderness, is particularly rewarding in the autumn season. Bothying allows you to fully immerse yourself in this enchanting season, offering a sense of seclusion and a deep connection with the natural world. As you gather around the fire in the evening, sharing stories and laughter with fellow bothiers, you'll find that this age-old practice captures the very essence of autumn—warmth, togetherness, and a profound appreciation for the beauty of the great outdoors.
There’s a surprising amount of activity going on post-summer if you can wrap up warm enough to seek it out. It tends to be a time of books, ales and scary stuff but plenty of music as well. Near us we have the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (October 13-29) and later on the Samhuinn Fire Festival (October 31) where the night is lit by fire spinning and effigies from the Celtic past. So don’t assume everything stopped - have a look for what’s going on where you live, there is bound to be some kind of performance or boogie. And don’t be afraid to try something new!