ORKNEY WEATHER?

I have decided to add this page as it is one of the most frequently asked questions. 

 

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?

 

THIS IS TO TRY AND TELL IT HOW IT IS!

 

The average temperature in summer is around 10 - 15C  [50 - 60F].  However, as we are a group of islands, there is always some wind going on. So factor in for wind chill.  The wind can make the air seem a lot cooler.  We are on the same latitude as Hudson's Bay in Canada at 59 degrees north and are only kept ice free in winter by the Gulf Stream warm water current coming up from the Caribbean.

 

Orkney weather is very changeable.  There is a saying that we can have 4 seasons in one day.  A sunny start to the day can end in rain - and visa versa.  It can be sunny in Kirkwall and raining on the other side of the island.  Just because the calendar says that it is summer, does not guarantee warm sunshine.  In Scotland rain is nicknamed 'liquid sunshine'!

 

The other thing to remember is that many of the places we visit are out of doors, so dressing warmly is a good idea.  A warm jersey and a waterproof rain coat and hat are essential, and also shoes suitable for walking on possibly wet grass.  You can always take a layer off if the sun comes out.

 

UMBRELLAS?

This is tricky one to advise on.  When there is wind it tends to blow the rain sideways, so they often don't give very good protection.  Also when there is a lot of wind, they tend to blow inside out.  That is why I reckon a hat or hood on a water proof jacket is better - and warmer.

 

So my first message is that when you visit, come prepared for possible rain and wind.

 

BUT - THAT IS THE DOOM AND GLOOM BIT OVER WITH.

 

The weather in Orkney can be beautiful and even has been know to reach the dizzy heights of 20c [68F].  It does not rain all the time and there are days with little or no wind.  It is just that we never know when it will happen.  So as I am a glass half empty person, rather than glass half full one, I like to look on the downside - and then things can only improve.

 

In summer there is 18 hours of daylight and the sunsets can be really spectacular.  Weather systems can work through quickly giving wonderful cloudscapes, and dramatic variations of colour in the landscape.  The air is so clear and pure that sun cream is necessary on sunny days even in spring.

 

 

So please don't be put off by the thought of gloomy weather.  One of our best loved comedians once said that in Scotland there is no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong sort of clothing.

The hills of Hoy across the loch of Stenness showing the wonderful reflections we get when it is calm.

But here a storm is whipping waves across the Churchill Barriers so closing the road to cars until the tide drops and the wind calms down.

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