THE curious thing about autumn is that it encourages the Scottish nation to both hate the wet and adore the wet at the same time. How so?

Well, the drizzle, drizzle, drizzle of rain is a constant pain, as it splatters the face, soaks the clothes and creeps down the collar, ensuring that “ugh!” feeling all over.

But the wet can also be a welcome relief. In the guise of soup it warms the insides, persuading us that we just might survive the next few months until spring returns. The best place to indulge in a bowl of nourishing autumnal soup is a cosy rural watering hole, or a welcoming countryside café.

Here’s a few of our favourites …

Applecross Inn, Shore St, Applecross, Strathcarron

SOMETIMES enjoying a bowl of soup can involve a great deal of personal risk to the soup slurper. For instance, the Applecross Inn may be a charming hostelry in a picturesque Highland setting, but it’s also a mere three miles distant from the bridge where the Bodach Beag was often sighted in the past.

As our readers are surely aware, the Bodach Beag is a troll-like monster who rather enjoys scaring people late at night, especially those who have recently imbibed a whisky or two.

Luckily, folk who have only indulged in a bowl of soup are slightly less likely to bump into him.

So enjoy the Applecross’s homemade soup of the day, served with local bread, and you will (probably) avoid shaking hands with a hideous beasty. What could be a better recommendation than that?

The Ship Inn, The Toft, Elie, Fife

AT The Ship Inn the soup is as hale and hearty as a bear-hug from Brian Blessed. Options include a Cullen skink that’s so thick it could probably run for President of the United States. Each bowl is heaped high with hunky helpings of St Monans smoked haddock, potatoes, leeks and celery. If a Presidential pottage isn’t your thing, there’s also an excellent wild mushroom soup, which includes shallots, garlic, crème fraiche and parsley. (In case you’re a tad concerned, wild mushrooms aren’t mushrooms that like to carouse all through the night … at least we don’t think that’s what they are. We’ll google it later.)

The Broc Bar (Part of the Bonnie Badger), Main Street, Gullane

TOM Kitchin is one of Scotland’s most illustrious chefs. (Though would he have made it to the top of the culinary world if his name had been Tom Livingroom? Discuss.)

Along with several other swanky restaurants, Kitchin oversees the Broc Bar, a watering hole with great dollops of wow. It’s part of his Bonnie Badger hang-out in East Lothian, which includes rooms to kip in, plus two other dining areas. As well as a bowl of satisfying celeriac soup, the Broc does a range of artisan beers and seasonal drinks, with an excellent variety of wines and whiskies.

The Steam Packet, Harbour Row, Isle of Whithorn, Newton Stewart

THIS family-owned village pub overlooks the harbour in the pretty fishing village of Isle of Whithorn. It’s a tradition watering hole, with a few modern stylistic flourishes.

Being next to the harbour allows the chef to take advantage of the local catch, with much of the scoff being sourced from a 20-mile radius. Though don’t assume The Steam Packet is parochial, for there’s also enticing exotica on offer, such as the soup, a corn chowder that’s so Mexican in flavour that if you invited a bowl of the stuff along to a footy match, it would probably insist on starting one of those annoying Mexican waves.

Kilchrenan Inn, Taynuilt, Kilchrenan

LOCATED in rural Argyll and Bute, this friendly inn is close to the shores of Loch Awe. (As in, “Awe, isnae that a braw loch?”)

It’s also surrounded by some of those especially lumpy bits of Scotia, otherwise known as mountains.

So this is an ideal spot for hiking and biking; then, once you’ve completed the energetic stuff, calm yourself down with a bowl of the Kilchrenan’s soup, served with bread and butter.

The Cocoa Tree Café, 9 High Street, Pittenweem, East Neuk of Fife

THERE are both savoury and sweet autumnal pick-me-ups on offer at the Cocoa Tree Cafe, with steaming mugs of hot chocolate, or a thick mixed bean soup, made with cocoa. There’s also a variety of other chocolate indulges to enjoy; enough to make Willy Wonka green with envy.

Though be warned, don’t chomp all that chocolaty goodness at once. Take at least three minutes to snaffle it down.

Palmerston’s, 20 Atholl Street, Dunkeld

THE great thing about soup is that it’s more flexible than an ace Olympic gymnast, warming up for her floor routine. Steak or chicken can only be plonked on a plate; that’s the entirety of their performance.

But soup can gloop into a bowl, or mould itself to the contours of a mug.

Both versions of the frisky fluid are in operation at Palmerston’s, where the homemade soup can be enjoyed in bowl form, as a meal in itself, served with crusty bread and oatcakes. Alternatively, you can enjoy it in a mug, added to any of the other lunches on offer.

Traquair Arms, Traquair Road, Innerleithen, Borders

THE Herald’s intensive research into the complex culture of soup has led us to the conclusion that many hostelries and cafes advertise a soup of the day.

Not the Traquair Arms, which has something more dazzling to offer … a soup of the moment. It arrives with warm bread and butter, making it a much more momentous moment.

This 200-year-old coach house also serves locally sourced food plus local ale.

The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan, Arrochar

ESTABLISHED in 1705, The Drovers Inn is both dog and music friendly. Pooches arrive with their owners, while the musicians scamper around unleashed, so hopefully they’re toilet trained.

They’re definitely trained in the singing and guitar-strumming arts, and provide a merry atmosphere of a weekend. Slightly less convivially, there are also numerous ghosts lurking on the premises, for this is one of Scotland’s most haunted pubs.

The wandering spirits are presumably fans of fidos or frisky tunes. Perhaps both.

Luckily ghosts are wispy and insubstantial, so they won’t be able to nab your spoon to enjoy a sneaky slug of your Scotch broth, the soup of choice at The Drovers Inn.

The Steamboat Inn, Main Road, Carsethorn, Dumfries

THIS homey and welcoming family-run establishment is located on the Solway coast, with picturesque views across the Solway Firth.

But who needs a picturesque view when there’s a hot bowl of soup to delight in? At The Steamboat Inn you can enjoy a soup of the day, which arrives with toasted sourdough bread.

You certainly won’t be feeling sour after polishing it off.

Though perhaps you will be left feeling a tad doughy, especially if you also indulge in the pie or ribeye steak, just two of the satisfying main courses to chomp after you’ve finished polishing off your soup.