Carrick weather volunteers are winning in the rain

Ayrshire's Susan MacColl and Peter Kennedy were among those recognised for their longstanding service this week. Image: Murdoch Ferguson.
Ayrshire's Susan MacColl and Peter Kennedy were among those recognised for their longstanding service this week. Image: Murdoch Ferguson.

EVERY cloud really does have a silver lining for two Carrick weather watchers who were commended for their dedication to data collection this week.

Alloway’s Peter Kennedy and Blanefield’s Bishop Louden were among 14 rainfall observers to be presented with awards at a ceremony in Glasgow on Monday.

Voluntary observers collect daily rainfall data at 146 of the nearly 400 sites operated by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), sending their statistics in on a monthly basis for inclusion in its database and national archive.

Notching up nearly 80 years’ service between them, Mr Louden has been recording rainfall at Quinloch Farm Gauge, Blanefield, for 39 years, while Mr Kennedy of Doonholm Gauge, Alloway, can boast 37 years of a tradition that has been in his family since 1898.

The two men were thanked for their hard work by representatives from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office.

Having taken over from his father, he said he has begun to notice patterns in the weather as a result of his observation work.

“If it’s drier at the start of the year we seem to get a lot of rainfall at the end of the year, which seems to be true this year as it has started and forgotten to stop!” he said.

Fellow Ayrshire residents Jim and Susan MacColl of Dunlop were also recognised at the ceremony.

The pair have been recording rainfall in memory of Mrs MacColl’s late brother Alasdair - a trained meteorologist and dedicated rainfall observer - for the past 15 years. Mrs MacColl has also been selected to champion the national campaign to recruit new observers.

“My brother taught me a lot about cloud structures, which led to my interest in the weather. We wanted to continue reading the gauge as a fitting tribute to him and because it provides important information which can help people,” she said.

“Our granddaughter also helps us take the readings, so I hope she might be one of a new generation of volunteers.”

James Curran, SEPA chief executive, said: “The voluntary rainfall observers provide an invaluable service and it is important we recognise their outstanding commitment and dedication.

“Some have carried out their duties for nearly half a century and we hope they continue to show the same enthusiasm in the service they provide.”

For more information on becoming a rainfall observer contact Grant Kennedy, Senior Specialist Scientist at SEPA, on 01355 574368 or visit the rainfall observer page at www.sepa.org.uk.