UK's highest temperature of the year recorded as mercury rises over 20C

Scotland became the first part of the UK to see temperatures soar to a new high since November last year.

An area in the Scottish Highlands has seen temperatures rise above 20C for the first time this year, making it the warmest part of the UK so far in 2023.

On Monday, Kinlochewe in Wester Ross became the first part of the UK to see temperatures soar above the figure since November last year.

The mercury reached 21C in the village on Monday, just a week after temperatures reached 17.3C over the Easter weekend, which had been the highest temperature of 2023 recorded north of the border until now.

High temperatures continued in the Highlands on Tuesday as Kinlochewe once again reached 21C, with Aviemore, Achnagart and Kinloss not far behind.

STV News
STV News
Here comes the sun: Loch Morlich pictured in April 2023 compared to December 2022.

Over the next few days, the mercury is predicted to reach between 17C and 18C around Fort William, Oban, Lochalsh and Skye.

However, southerly air next week will see temperatures drop back to single figures in the north of Scotland.

Insight Sean Batty STV meteorologist

On Monday, the north Highlands basked in blue skies with the mercury soaring to 21C in Kinlochewe, which is the highest temperature of the year so far.

Not only was it Scotland’s warmest day of the year, but it makes the Highlands the warmest part of the UK so far in 2023. The Highlands often hold the record for the UK in the early spring, until the heat builds up across the rest of Britain, and I’m sure the 2023 record will move back to England.

We’re currently in a warmer south to south-easterly air flow and this also enhances the temperatures in the north west because of something called a foehn effect. This is where air flows over mountains, cools as it rises over them, but warms at a faster rate as it descends on the other side, and that’s why it’s 10C on the Aberdeenshire coast, but 20C in the north Highlands.

On Tuesday, I headed to Aviemore where it was 18C, with a peak of 19C possible. Again it’s reached 21C in Kinlochewe, with Achnagart and Kinloss not far behind. While Aviemore is up there in the top five warmest places, it’ll be one of the coldest spots tonight with a low of -3C. We do get large diurnal swings at this time of year, which is the difference between the high and the low. This is down to the strengthening sun warming the air more, but the nights still being sufficiently long enough to allow for low temperatures.

Over the next few days the west will hang onto the highest temperatures with 17-18C likely around Fort William, Oban, Lochalsh and Skye.

But if you thought this was the home run for spring, maybe just park that idea for just now, as it’s going to turn colder again. Next week the southerly air flow switches to a northerly with highs in the Northern Isles around 6C by day, and places like the north Highlands and Aviemore around 5-7C – a significant drop on this week. We’re also likely to see a return to wintry showers and ice.

So the message is – enjoy the better weather while it’s here because winter hasn’t quite given up, yet…