Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

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.


April 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.

March 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

March 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

March 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

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

Beast weather is weird weather

The Beast from the East is providing unusual weather, over me at least.

Despite appearing to be snowing most of the time (at least almost every time I’ve looked out the window), the fine, powdery, dusty snow we saw has not built up to any degree, and still only amount to about a foot, or 30 cm.

Today has seen little new fall, but looking at the trees, and the weather station, I don’t fancy going out in the wind I see gusting now, especially if it has come from Siberia. It’s probably gusting to 25 mph, and the wind chill is probably making it feel like -10°C although the measured temp is hovering around freezing point now.

But the most interesting factor remains the direction – normally so boring and stable, this comes from the west via the Jet Stream and is so consistently only from the west I have gone and checked the sensor is not stuck! But now…

It’s stuck from the east!

East Wind

East Wind

The only good thing I can see at the moment is that although this is all down to freezing wind from the east, the underlying weather is warmer (spring had sprung just before this drastic change) so the cold is not deep, or penetrating deep into the ground (yet).

I already see signs of melt around edges where the snow is thin, or has landed on ground (or roofs) that were not freezing cold before it landed.

If the forecast change in the weather suggested by the weekend arrives, while this may not disappear ‘overnight’, there’s a good chance it will not persist either, as it would if we were suffering proper overnight winter frosts as we experienced a few weeks ago.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The Beast from the East is real

I see what I have referred to recently as the Siberian Blast in recent posts has come to be known officially as the Beast from the East.

It really does feel as bad as it looks in the clip above, and today started looking a little snowy at first light, then continued to go downhill.

Although not ‘heavy’, the snow continued to fall in varying degrees throughout the day – most notable was the light and fine nature it had, akin to dust or powder most of the time, and explaining why it has not piled high (yet?). I left a couple of doors cracked open – no gap to see through, but when I went back later was fairly amazed to see this dry, dusty, powder like snow was being blown in through the tiny gap.

The next depressing sign was a drop of -3°C in the afternoon, a time when the temperature usually rises during the day – this does not bode well, and has taken below -4°C and I don’t fancy what the night might bring.

Apollo Towers was beginning to collect snow as the day progressed.

Snowy Apollo Towers

Snowy Apollo Towers

At least I found a cat there…

Winterised Cat

Winterised Cat

I ventured along the road to lane that overlooks some houses, but was more interested in seeing what the hill in the distance looked like.

Yup… WHAT hills? Visibility was nil past only 1 km.

Hill View NOT

Hill View NOT

I grabbed a quick street view, and as noted, although the snow is non-stop, because we are only being hit with a fine powder it is not building up to any great depth. But I guess that could change at any moment.

Now that the ambient temperature has settled well below 0°C, anything that falls will not go away.

Proper Snow

Proper Snow

Last thing I did before it got dark was venture up into the loft, and glad I did too.

Normally the snow doesn’t blow in the open skylight, but this light powdery stuff did, and was beginning to build up.

I leave this open year round for ventilation – but now it’s closed for the first time in years.



I was irritated later, when I missed a photo-op.

In the dark (it is not actually dark here now thanks to the snow, I don’t even need room lights on), I saw a fox wander through the garden, but there was no time to go pick up a camera as it was not hanging about.

February 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is weatherman’s Day

05 February is Weatherman’s Day.

(Quick, celebrate it before the feminazis have it banned.)

I’m mentioning this one purely because of the many morons who think it’s ‘clever’ to poke fun at weather forecasts, and say they are always wrong.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and while the weather is a natural phenomenon, and subject to change without notice (just like a horse, as many skilled riders have found to their cost, as they pick themselves up from the ground), that doesn’t mean to say it cannot be predicted.

What the critics fail to grasp is the statistical nature of forecasts, they’re not MEANT to be 100% absolutely correct, they can’t be, but they can be largely correct, and have a small degree of error.

Think of like comparing two streets in your area – the weather forecast may say your areas is set to have rain.

You stay in and watch your street all day, not a drop of rain falls on it, and you call the weather forecast ‘useless’.

But what about that other street I mentioned?

There, the good people stayed at home, and watched as their street enjoyed a day of shower – and they were happy they listened to the forecast and didn’t go out.

Clearly, the forecast was not wrong, but it is wrong to consider it as a 100% absolute declaration for an area, and not consider variations.

Weather Forecast Stone

Weather Forecast Stone

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Christmas Day 2017

Sad to say, this little guy looks like Christmas Day 2017 feels like in my corner of Scotland.

Apart from the weather, I haven’t noticed the usual stream of bodies and cars at the neighbours’ and even their trees and lights don’t seem to be switched on for the day, which is usually the custom. All seems very low key this year. Did I miss the memo?

Wet Christmas One

Wet Christmas One

We may have lost the wind that kept gusting around yesterday, and made the day feel really  miserable, but the temp has dropped from 10 deg C to 5 deg C, so not really any better.

And we still have the same irritating rain that’s not really rain – this stuff is in the air all the time, descending rather than falling, and very good at soaking everything it touches.

Since I hadn’t managed to get anything useful done during the day, frustration saw me wander out shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, to get some pics of a wealthy homeowner’s floodlit garden. I’d recently collected some using a decent compact camera, but the results were just weird, so I wanted some taken with a large sensor dSLR for comparison (there will be a post once I look at the results).

While this only took about an hour or so, I came back feeling like the little guy above.

This type of rain may not soak you to the skin like a heavy shower or downpour, but its pervasive and incessant nature means you still get soaked, and everything gets wet.

The one good thing was that although my jacket may be old, it has an internal layer that resists moisture, so my camera wasn’t at risk.

I think I prefer crisp Christmas over soggy, provided it is not also trying to set a new record low temperature!

Oh! Met Office issues ice warning for Boxing Day


December 25, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Eve 2017

I had a fairly (read: VERY) irritating colleague at work once. He believed he was a sales and marketing genius (I wonder if he knew some major clients had STANDING ORDERS at their reception desks, instructing security that they were NEVER ‘in’ if he dropped in for a visit), and he sounded good – until you realised none of the brilliant advice he gave was his own, but was memorised from business leaders, and repeated like he was some sort of parrot.

His little face used to light up with joy if he could fault anyone who had omitted something from a plan, or maybe not even prepared one for some task.


Would follow the poor unfortunate as he dressed them down, put them in their place, and lectured them on how HE would have succeeded where they had just failed.

Utter rubbish of course, but doing this kept him happy.

I try to plan to be in Glasgow on Christmas Eve, mainly to have a late wander through what remains of The Barras.

While I don’t suppose they make it all the way there nowadays, it used to be the tradition that the place would stay open until midnight on that day.

Despite my plan, I usually can’t follow it, so it’s a waste of time, generally for reasons I can’t control.

This year (given I’m on foot) the weather killed the thought, although it was mild at around 10 deg C, the wind never gave up, and while it was not actually raining, it was always in the air with the threat that it might turn from threat to reality, and not stop.

Ah well, maybe next year.

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

It wasn’t all bad, since I had to go to a nearby shop (to get a refund for a set of truly dreadful Bluetooth earphones), I wandered around the rest and picked up enough goodies to make a nice seasonal meal from the last minute clearance shelves.

December 24, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Weather forecast says ‘Winter is coming’ with warnings

Last night (or early morning) was weird here.

The weather folk warned of a cold snap, and I watched the outside temperature doing funny things.

Usually it just falls overnight, but last night it went up and down a few times, starting at +2 deg C, then down to -5 deg C, but then back up, to -1 deg C. Time for bed after that, but I did spot some number between those extremes before morning.

Via Britain is braced for a cold snap overnight amid snow and sleet

We will be able to tell where the first snowflake lands – that part of the country will grind to halt 10 seconds later!

These guys appear to be ready for anything.

Fluffy Cats

Fluffy Cats

Left Cat “What’s that?”                        Right Cat “Something to kill!

More fluff here.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

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