Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Our wonderful weather II

After yesterday’s post on this subject, I was in Glasgow city centre again and passed through George Square during the evening. The Christmas market is still there, which I mention only because I deliberately avoided St Enoch Square earlier as it has a similar feature, or HAD, since I glanced down there from Buchanan Street only to see it had gone completely, so I needn’t have detoured.

George Square was pretty quiet, but still relatively busy with folk having a last look.

Last week, this would have been a solid mass of people.

George Square Post Christmas

George Square Post Christmas

However, the interesting thing was the lack of cold.

While many people were wrapped up as if it was freezing (and I ended up overheating when inside buildings yesterday – I really did have to step outside to cool down at one point, and I was far from ‘wrapped up’), and I honestly don’t know how they could stand being wrapped up in thermal jackets, hats, hoods, scarves, and gloves, others were wandering around in t-shirts.

Here’s one example I caught at the side of a pic of the Christmas tree.

Is this really Glasgow, Scotland, on 30 December?


Scotland In December

Scotland In December

I checked my own temperature records when I got home.

That said it had been over 12°C at my house then, and had started falling (but only to 11°C).

Bear in mind I live in a ‘cold corner’, and a city centre can easily be 2-3°C warmer than the surrounding area.

It certainly felt like that.


Dec 31, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Our wonderful weather

I try to avoid simple weather posts, they’re just too easy to make if you live in Scotland.

But, when there is a point, they can be interesting.

Scots probably still remember this year’s Beast from the East and, if not too diverted by the festivities, may have noticed a Met Office alert to the effect that similar upper atmospheric conditions are already stacking up NOW, and might bring a similar freezing wave, only none months later.

The good, or bad, news is that they simply can’t tell if all the elements will combine to repeat the phenomenon, and that they’ll only be able to see this happen a week or two in advance.

Some years ago, our winters had become very different, and I recall one trip made to the Isle of Bute on 31 December (I used to play ‘Catch the last ferry’ in those days, as they don’t run at the start of the year – miss it, and you’re stuck there) to catch some of the geocaches planted there. It was so warm I dump my jacket, and was climbing around the island in a jumper.

Meantime, consider I’m writing this on a balmy Sunday morning with 11.3°C showing on the outdoor thermometer, on 29 December 2018, and took the pic below in Glasgow on the 28th.

Glasgow 28 December 2018

Glasgow 28 December 2018

Let’s look a little closer at one detail, as seen from the Observation Gallery of the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green.

People's Palace Picnic

People’s Palace Picnic

It was actually colder yesterday, probably closer to 8 or 9°C.

Dec 30, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

SNAW! – The weatherfolk were 100% right (again)

I have to admit to a loss of patience with the people who think it’s ‘kewl’ to mock a certain large and official institute in the UK that is responsible for weather recording and forecasting.

This dates back, I believe, to 1987 and a weather forecast which has been misrepresented ever since then by the media, as an excuse to get a cheap laugh by mocking the forecaster who presented that forecast.

NOT so widely shown by the media is an ACCURATE review of the WHOLE forecast given then, which debunks the fun, and shows that the forecaster was referring to a number of storms during that forecast, and that his words have been taken out of context to create the myth.

But, as I say…

Why let the TRUTH spoil a good media story?

This week it was interesting to see that the weekend not only carried warnings about possible snow falling in Glasgow, both Yellow and Amber warnings were issued.

(Snow tends to be referred to as ‘snaw’ in Glesga, or ‘Glasgow’ if you’re posh, so I have to cater for the locals as well as the rest of the world 🙂 )

Looking at the prevailing weather, this might have seemed a little silly, as we are living with temperatures up around 8°C, although the nights are sometimes frosty.

So will the folk who think it’s ‘kewl’ to laugh at the forecaster be laughing.

You decide.

This was a shot taken out my back door during the night.

I’m not sure how much had fallen, as the ground is still relatively warm.

Nothing was lying on roads or paths, but they were very wet, with puddles, while grass and soil had visible snowfall lying.

Remember, it only needs ONE snowflake to fall on a certain rooftop in London on 25 December for it to be officially declared a White Christmas!

Sat 15 Dec 2018 Snow

Sat 15 Dec 2018 Snow

Right about ‘Frozen Rain’ too!

The alert I read also mentioned something referred to as ‘frozen rain’, but didn’t go into any real detail.

I suppose the meaning is fairly obvious (to anybody but a weather forecast naysayer, that is).

I was standing in my hallway at lunchtime, and noticed a strange noise penetrating the house, and getting more noticeable.

For the technically aware, it was as if someone had started to turn up an amplifier just playing white noise.

It was coming through the open loft hatch, and also from the front of the house.

Sure enough, tiny little ice drops were hitting the front window, and presumably landing over the whole area of the roof.

This was quite unlike the usual hail we see here, which often batters down in clearly visible waves, and lies on the ground.

This fine stuff was almost invisible, and just falling like ordinary rain, and so light it couldn’t stay frozen on the window, or gather on the ground.

So, I guess it was indeed, ‘Frozen Rain’.

Unlike hail, which I think makes multiple journeys up and down in the freezing air at altitude, so grows slightly each time until the hailstones become too heavy to stay aloft, it looks as if frozen rain is literally just that, rain which has hit a layer of cold air, and just frozen on its way down, without ever being carried back up to get wet, and then freeze again as it falls.


Don’t think this has ever been mentioned before.

Dec 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | 2 Comments

Looks like I really do live down a cold hole

After a couple of years of noticing an odd weather (or is it local climate) effect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m NOT imagining it.

This year in particular, with its apparently milder start to the winter season compared to recent years, has made this effect even more noticeable for me.

What I find is that I can either be at home, or wandering the local streets, and think the day is freezing (which it is, both by looking at the ground, and reading thermometers). But, if I have to go out, once I get about a mile away, it’s always warmer.

I used to think I was just imagining this, as walking a mile takes 15-20 minutes, so you should be warming up anyway. But, that wouldn’t explain the lack of ice/frost, or frozen ground, which I might just have walked through near home, but is not present once I’ve walked that mile.

Tonight, I found another confirmation after decided to cycle to the shops.

The road past my door is gritted regularly, and the gritters have been out, so it was fine.

Then I turned off it – and found myself being VERY cautious. There was a nice, sparkly, coating of ice on the road.

Yet when I was coming up to that first mile – all was well again, and there was no ice on the back streets near the shops.

At least I knew to be extra careful as I headed home.

Hydraulic disk brakes on bikes – absolute MAGIC!

I also note that Glasgow City council (you know, the council I suggest local people STOP slagging off, and actually LOOK at what it does) published its ‘Bad Weather’ policy statement a few weeks ago, and that included a commitment to have its gritters not only working on established critical roads, but also cycle paths and routes with them.

While they can’t clear EVERY road and route, it does mean that they are NOT ignoring cyclists, as perhaps the damned ‘cycling activists’ might want us to believe.

We even have an online Gritter Tracker

Apparently the tracker is worth looking at just for fun, as out gritters have names, such as ‘Gritty Gritty Bang Bang’.

But, we don’t have these though (as far as I know).

Dec 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter – take a hint!

It looks as if I may not be the only who is getting tired of winter.

While hail is not such a winter phenomenon as snow, we did just have a temperature drop (not as far as freezing, just to about 4°C during the night) and had a pretty heavy fall of hail during Thursday evening, which lay for some 9 hours before melting away.

Combined with a flip in the wind direction from west to east, and Norway having a temperature drop this week, that east wind is making Scotland feel cold, colder than expected.

So I’d like to drop a little hint, to winter

Winter Hint

Winter Hint

Not my pic (found online) but, there’s an interesting observation.

That knife at the front, the one with the three rivets in the handle.

I lost that one last year (seriously, it got swept up with some garden rubbish and disappeared with it), so it’s nice to see it turned up somewhere useful.

I’d like it back, but I guess I’ll have to replace it – made from a single piece of steel from tip to handle end, unlike those with a blade fitted into a separate handle, this solid design does not suffer the flexing of the two-part design, and real force can be exerted when it is used, and it does not threaten to fail at the join.

Apr 29, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

It’s still chilly

The past week has been fun (for what I can still think of as fun, which is not much) as I waited and waited for the snow to come, and for the country to grind to a halt based on the weather forecast The Scotsman relied on for some strange reason.

I know we have the occasional weather extremes in Scotland, but who in their right mind would give any credibility to The Weather Channel, founded by an acknowledged climate change denier (according to John Coleman – dead – it’s all government manipulation to make money), when it said:

Experts at The Weather Channel warned that the mercury could drop to -2C in areas by the middle of next week, causing air frosts in rural regions that are a complete contradiction to this week’s summer temperatures.

Heatwave over: Scotland set for sub zero temperatures

I’ve screen-grabbed that article, just in case it is deleted, and also noted the weather in Glasgow for the week following its publication, see here Now it’s winter in late April (I just object to being treated like an idiot, and I consider that forecast, and the article, both did that).


On a lighter and more fun note, I did get to dig up a couple of pics I didn’t get around to using before the ‘heatwave’, so it’s not all bad.

Just for fun, I grabbed an almost complete 180° panorama of George Square when it was quite on a chilly day – it’s not the full sweep simply because I had to crop out some ‘distractions’ at each end which would have wasted the view if they’d been left in. (Click to expand).

George Square Stitch

George Square Stitch




How can you tell (they’re tourists)?

They’re dressed for a chilly day – therefore clearly NOT locals (and I could hear them, but not understand a word)!

Apr 27, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Now it’s winter in late April

The weather did just peak at 20°C, and we’ve managed an average that hovering at somewhere around 14-15°C.

We’ve also had THREE returns to winter before these temperatures arrived, and gave the appearance of being reasonably stable.

The forecast I’ve been looking at suggested that the peak was just that, a peak, but the forecast averages I look at appeared to be consistent with the current reports, my own weather station, and other monitors I rely on.

So, why mention weather? A subject I tend to avoid.

This was a pic I grabbed of the hills somewhere around Glasgow (probably looking south from the city), as seen on 19 March – virtually a month ago. I don’t usually get to see this sort of view from where I live.

Glasgow Weather

Glasgow Weather

Now, ‘The Scotsman’ (or more accurately its source of weather forecasts, The Weather Channel) warns:

Experts at The Weather Channel warned that the mercury could drop to -2C in areas by the middle of next week, causing air frosts in rural regions that are a complete contradiction to this week’s summer temperatures.

The Weather Channel says: “Predictions for the middle of next week ​indicate sleet and snow flurries falling across the country​,​ from ​the Welsh hills to the ​Pennines and north ​Scottish mountains​,​ as ​a ​cooler ​snap grips ​Britain.

“Temperatures are expected to fall after the weekend with widespread outbreaks of rain and blustery showers on the cards for large parts of the UK.”

Heatwave over: Scotland set for sub zero temperatures

I don’t use The Weather Channel (and I’m not saying what service I rely on either, as that just invites derision of its forecasts, regardless of which service it is), but this is totally at odds with what has been forecast by my provider.

However, the founder of The Weather Channel is a climate change denier called John Coleman – that probably tells you how reliable anything they forecast is.

Seems there are two options for the course of the next week.

A drop from the peak of the so-called heatwave, down to more normal temperatures for spring (and it looks like being a bit wetter too).

Or The Scotsman will be proved right with its dire warning of winter’s return, freezing temperatures, and snow.

At least we don’t need to trust anyone for the answer – we’ll see which arrives for ourselves over the course of the coming week.


(I’ll fill this in with a note regarding whatever kind of weather we actually enjoyed during the week ending 27 April 2018).

Today (Friday 20th) was pretty warm and sunny, around 15°C. No Rain. No Snow.

Today (Saturday 21st) means we are in the weekend now, and Saturday has been a great sunny day, with my Glasgow burbs reaching 22°C. I even cut the grass.

The Scotsman continues its ‘The Weather Channel’ forecasts by running this WARNING: Scotland’s weather: Yellow alert issued as thunderstorms forecast

Today (Sunday 22nd) has been truly dreadful… We froze as the temperature tumbled down to 12°C, and we feared flooding would arrive in the wake of a couple of rains showers.

It’s little short of hysterical to see ‘The Weather Channel’ shills post mocking comments about the Met Office in the comments after the article I referred to above, in the notes for yesterday (Saturday). Then again, with no credibility after the snow failed to arrive, they have to SOMETHING to divert attention.

Today (Monday 23rd) was even worse than yesterday… after yesterday’s low of 12°C, frostbite was a real danger as we froze after another 2°C drop to a near Arctic 10°C, accompanied by fairly constant drizzle, and even a 10-minute shower around 4 pm. It was notably windy, but got rough around 9 pm as I arrived home gusting somewhere over 20-25 mph for a while.

Today (Tuesday 24th) terrible day… started at 12°C, fell to 10°C for a while then climbed to an even chillier 14°C a couple of times! There was a little rain, but it still hasn’t snowed.

Today (Wednesday 25th) actually worse than yesterday (but still NO SNOW). Started bright and sunny, but gradually got dull. Best described as looked nice every time I sat down – but started to rain every time I opened the door to go out. Gusty at time, and dropped another couple of degrees towards night.

Today (Thursday 26th) another day I’d just class as ‘worse’ – just the same as yesterday, but with heavier rain showers, and even dropped a further two degrees at night, down to about 7°C. But no snow, or even frost.

Today (Friday 27th) started sunny with blue skies and 10°C at breakfast, and continued the same (even hitting 16°C) until… evening. By then, the temp had collapsed to 8°C and what I thought was heavy rain (from the sound) turned out to be hail! Wish I’d looked sooner, but it lay all night, when the temp fell further to around 6°C, but it had gone by dawn.

Pity it was hail and not snow, making The Weather Channel’s forecast (and the unfortunately gullible ‘The Scotsman’ repeat of it) of snow this week appear the utter farce it was. Pity they didn’t just say it would ‘Get chilly later in the week’ then they’d have won a prize, instead of looking useless.

Odd that the Met Office got it spot on, again – despite all the negative remarks small-minded sheeples continue to throw at it.

Hail can fall at any time of year – it’s cold up there – but snow? That’s a harder trick to pull off out of season.

I guess The Weather Channel (which I’ve never seen, or ever will see) looks something like:

Weather Channel Forecast

Weather Channel Forecast

Even the cat was…

Cat Weather Opinion

Cat Weather Opinion

I’m with the cat, and suspect this is always going to be more accurate than anything The Weather Channel EVER has to offer.

Cold Clue

Cold Clue

Apr 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Nocturnal tennis always makes me laugh

I don’t know why, but I just can’t get used to seeing people so keen to play tennis they will go out in freezing cold conditions and install floodlights so they can carry on into the hours of darkness (even if that is not really very late at this time of year).

I usually grab the odd pic of our local tennis courts from a different street with a clear view, but a detour sent me around the other side last night.

Given the mini ‘Beast from the East’ only subsided two nights ago, and we still had light snow falling then (and even lying in sheltered areas), and the evening temperature was now only 5°C (it had made it down to -3°C that morning), I was surprised to see the tennis courts were not only floodlit as the time approached 21:00, but they were also packed (by mature adults, not kids), to the extent that there were players on every court, even if not particularly visible in the pic below.

I suppose if this was Russia rather than Scotland, they’d be the ones hacking holes in the ice and diving into the water below, just for ‘fun’.

Tennis Night

Tennis Night

They’re not really that mad.

While it was still absolutely freezing outside the previous night – the wind was still howling in from the east, and seriously cold (I know, I was out in it, and wandering to the shops) – last night, despite being a similar recorded temperature, was completely different thanks to the flip over to a westerly wind, not carrying freezing Russian or Siberian air as its payload.

I dropped a layer of clothing, and still didn’t feel the cold this time out.

Mar 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Inversnecky wit nails it again – this time, winter!

I’ve mentioned some of the fun shared from the Aberdeen’s Inversnecky cafe sandwich board in the past.

This time, they’ve nailed the departure of this year’s winter, or the Beast from the East.

Nice 🙂

Inversencky Winter

Inversencky Winter

Mar 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ding Dong! The Beast is Dead!

I was putting together some notes elsewhere, and happened to collate some of the data from my own weather station.

I’d been waiting to see what the wind direction looked liked before, during, and after The Beast from East had done its thing and made the past couple of weeks downright miserable for some.

My own gripe was how it somehow manages to inflict a heft dose of various varieties of cold and flu on me virtually the first day it hit – before the media started to report on it.

These symptoms stayed with me for the entire period (and are still lingering) which meant I didn’t even get the chance to go out for a little wander and get some endearing snow-covered pics. All I got was the opportunity to look at others.

Anyway, the plot below shows our usual prevailing westerly wind at the start of February, around 250 degrees or so, and how it changed firmly to an easterly, around 50 degrees, and has now left that behind and is returning the west, as usually driven by the Jet Stream.

Ignore the random scatter, this is just a side effect of calmer spells with little or no wind, when the wind direction sensor just flops around aimlessly with any odd gust.

Beastly Wind Direction

Beastly Wind Direction

Mar 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

World’s most boring thermo-hygrometer

Since I’ve been largely bored out of my head watching this for the past few weeks, there seems to be no reason not inflict the same on everyone else.

I decided to move my thermo-hygrometer next to an open window as this is closer to the operating conditions such devices need in order to retain a semblance of accuracy.

It’s worth noting that you will see many of these devices mounted poorly in many location, being placed on a nice comfy shelf, often up high to avoid little fingers, and out of draughts.


They need to be mounted in a moving airflow, to ensure they are not ‘measuring’ a static cloud of stagnant air, and as close as possible to the item they are supposed to be measuring, or recording, the environment of. Placed on high, they will just sit in a nice warm layer of air that has settled at the height of the shelf they are on.

Since the Beast from the East made its appearance, most indications have been of temperatures around 0°C, and RH levels that have stuck up around a maximum of 90% or more. The RH came down as the air chilled and things dried out in the freezing air, but the arrival of temperatures above zero, and some rain, raised the local RH back towards 90%.

Hopefully, this pic will start to change and the pointers will start to move, provided they have not seized!

Incidentally, there should be pens on the ends of those arms, but they need to be bought and replaced, as does the increasingly expensive chart paper – so the arms have been adjusted to point closer to the actual value, with no pens fitted. With no inky pens fitted, we save on chart paper.

Casella Thermo-Hygrometer

Casella Thermo-Hygrometer

Mar 5, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

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