The Wayfarer - There are many misconceptions about Scotland’s weather

In view of all the rain that has fallen recently it is perhaps time to lay to rest some unfortunate misconceptions about the weather in Scotland. Contrary to popular belief that it is always cold in Scotland you may be surprised to learn that the highest air temperature ever recorded in the UK was on the 9th. August 2003 when a temperature of 32.9 % C. was recorded in Scotland at Greycrook near St. Boswells. Mind you as far as rain is concerned the highlands and islands benefit from around 118 inches of rainfall annually but the lowlands only receive an annual rainfall of less than 31.5 inches per year.

That does not take into account the rainfall this year, but Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway holds the record of the most rain to fall in a 30 minute period when 3.15 inches fell on the 26th. June 1953.So perhaps it is relevant that a Scotsman, a Glasgow chemist by the name of Charles Macintosh should in 1824 develop a process of rubber proofing cloth to provide all those who had to venture into the rain with some protection This very clever invention is now well known as a ‘Macintosh’ or more familiarly as a ‘Mac’ and is worn around the world in comfort wherever it rains.Despite having the highest air temperature in the UK Scotland can also boast of having the lowest air temperature ever recorded in the UK when -27.2%C occurred, not once but three times, twice in Braemar on 11th. February 1895, 10th. January 1982 and finally at Altnaharra on 30th. December 1995. In view of this it is perhaps relevant that another Scotsman Sir James Dewar a physicist and chemist developed an insulated flask in 1892 whilst studying the possibility of keeping some gases at a very low temperature. This of course was the basis of the vacuum flask which could also be used to keep tee/coffee hot. Unfortunately, so intent was he on his other research that he failed to appreciate the value of his discovery and therefore did not patent it However this important invention was picked up later by two glassblowers in Germany who appreciated its value for keeping drinks both hot or cold and in 1904 patented it as a ‘Thermos’ flask taking the Greek name ‘Therme’ meaning heat. Just a little thoughtlessness on behalf of a Scot who should have been able to appreciate where the potential for earning an extra few good Scots bawbees lay. The inventiveness of the Scots was well known as they were renowned for using their initiative. You will be aware of the Dumfries man who invented the bicycle and the man who put Dunlop rubber tyres on it to make the ride more comfortable.