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A rare glimpse of summer

Not a photo from this year! Meal beach on a warm summer's day in 2008 - Photo: ShetNews

AS THE rest of the UK basks on the hottest day of the year, Shetland is enjoying a rare day of sunshine during a summer that has proved to be a source of disappointment so far.

Over the last couple of months the isles’ climate has been a regular talking point among disgruntled locals who have been left peeved by chilly air and dull skies.

Social networking websites have been inundated with Shetlanders moaning about the lack of sun and warm weather.

By contrast, London is expected to hit a tropical 36 degrees Celsius today (Wednesday) as England undergoes a summer heatwave.

Lerwick, however, is due to reach the lofty heights of 16 degrees this afternoon – a temperature, by this summer’s standards, likely to fill locals with joy.

Blankets of fog meanwhile have recently scuppered plans for a number of travellers of looking to get in and out of Shetland.

Hobby meteorologist Bob Skinley, who runs the Gulberwick Weather website, said that this summer has had “quite a lot more unsettled weather than you’d expect”.

However, he re-affirmed that the problems with mist and fog are to be expected with living on an island like Shetland in the summer.

“It’s certainly been a bit cooler. The May temperatures were below average. Normally, for instance, we usually get a good spell of weather towards the end of May, but that didn’t materialise.

“However, what I would say is that mist and fog and disruption to flights are fairly standard for this time of year.

Shetland News weather forecast for today and the rest of the week: Sun at 6pm, downpours by 8pm.

“It could be a purely cyclical thing – the global climate does go through cycles. But it depends on an awful lot of factors. To be honest, I don’t think it’s quite out of the ordinary.

“We’re an island in the middle of the North Sea at 60 degrees north, so the weather here can be a lot more unpredictable than that on the mainland,” he said.

The weatherman, however, did have some cautious cause for optimism.

“It is now getting warmer, and it looks a lot better this Friday. But it’s still looking quite up and down – there is always a ‘but’. At the moment, the middle of July is looking really quite warm.”

Rosa Steppanova, who runs Lea Gardens on Shetland’s westside, said that they “haven’t really had a summer at all”.

“I would say that it has affected the amount of people visiting the gardens,” she said. “We have the few intrepid ones – but when it’s raining, nobody really wants to walk across the garden.

“I hope it gets better, for my benefit as well. I hate being out there when it’s bucketing with rain and it’s freezing cold.”

Scottish folk band Lau meanwhile were among the high-profile casualties of fog as they were forced to cancel a gig at Aberdeen’s Music Hall on 27 June after being stranded in Shetland following cancelled flights.

Keiba Clubb, from Brae, was another victim of the mist as she was forced to pull out of a night’s work filming a wedding at the weekend after a series of cancellations.

“I was meant to fly on the 6pm flight on Friday. It didn’t go, so I was in a hotel that night and was booked on the 7am one the next day. It went about 9.30am, circled Sumburgh for about an hour and flew back to Aberdeen,” the 25 year old said on Wednesday.

The modest temperatures in the isles meanwhile are of stark contrast to the heat currently being faced by Shetland’s Island Games team in Jersey.

The group have been competing in heat that has risen to over 30 degrees Celsius – but the temperature hasn’t hampered their medal haul, which currently stands at 13.

An hour by hour weather forecast can be found at www.shetnews.co.uk/weather