Weather record for warmest January set in Scottish Highlands

A new UK record high temperature has been set in the Scottish Highlands, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.

It recorded a peak of 19.6C (67.3F) at Kinlochewe on Sunday, making it hotter than Rome and the Cote d'Azur.

If confirmed it would be the highest January temperature in the UK, breaking a record set in 2003 by more than a full degree celsius.

It would also be the highest winter temperature ever recorded in Scotland.

The temperature in Kinlochewe was significantly higher than the 18.3C (65F) recorded at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, on 3 January 2003.

The previous record high for the winter months for Scotland, was 18.7C (65.6F) which was recorded in Achfary in Sutherland on 28 December 2018.

Donald MacLennan, manager of the Kinlochewe Hotel, confirmed it was "really hot outside".

"But I can't see anyone out enjoying it as it's blowing a hoolie," he added.

"We're surrounded by mountains so the place can be a bit of a heat trap and we've been in the news before for being the hottest place in the UK."

BBC Scotland forecaster and meteorologist Calum MacColl said the balmy weather was due in part to something known as the Foehn effect.

He explained: "The Foehn effect is where, within a stable atmospheric environment, air is forced to rise up and over the hills and mountains, before descending back towards the surface on the leeward or downwind side of the mountains.

"On the windward side on the mountains, the air is mild and moist, but will cool by around 0.6 degree Celsius per 100m as it rises up the hill side. However, as the air mass then reaches the tops of the hills, it then descends and in doing so will dry out and subsequently warm by 1 degree Celsius per 100m.

"This results in higher temperatures being recorded on the downwind side compared with the windward side on the mountains."

He said southerly winds were also drawing up a very mild air mass across Scotland, leading to unusually warm conditions.

The village of Kinlochewe in Wester Ross lies at the head of Loch Maree. The area is known for its spectacular mountain views, especially the Torridon Hills.

While enjoying mild temperatures the village was also subject to a yellow wind warn on Sunday, with gusts in excess of 40mph forecast. In the Western Isles a gust of 71mph was recorded.