On holiday in Stirling this week, I can confirm that it was quite hot on Sunday and Monday, with the temperature reaching 25C on both days (there was a time, not so long ago, that would have been regarded as good summer weather, rather than as a heatwave). But that has been about it, with a chilly wind (necessitating the wearing of a warm jacket) while climbing a hill in the Southern Uplands on the way up here from Cumbria on Saturday, and the weather definitely back to “normal” from and including Tuesday (the three 2,000′ hills I climbed on that day were climbed in mist and strong winds and I wore a raincoat which served as a windcheater for most of the walk). Yesterday and today eventually reached a pleasant 20C or so, but it was cooler than that for most of both days before briefly peaking at that temperature. So much for the much-vaunted “UK” heatwave this week.

In fact, while walking the defensive walls of Stirling Castle this morning in a very stiff breeze, with the Munros of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin disappearing from view as rain hammered across them, it felt distinctly autumnal.

Speaking of Stirling Castle, I was confronted with a sign this morning which was headed “Climate change and Stirling Castle”. Intrigued, I read that:

As Scotland’s weather becomes more extreme, the castle’s exposed location means high winds are battering its fragile stonework as never before.

There’s just one problem with this statement. It isn’t true. Turning to the (admittedly limited) section of the UK Met Office’s website dealing with climate averages I learn that data is held for 30 year average wind speeds for Scotland at an altitude of 10m, with wind speeds given in knots. It’s not ideal, but it’s enough to allow us to check both the trends and the validity of the claim on the sign. It turns out that the trend in recent decades for mean wind speed in Scotland is in fact a declining one. 1971-2000 saw January as the windiest month on average (13.6 knots) followed by February (12.89 knots) and November (12.68 knots). For 1981-2010 January was still the windiest month on average (but down to 13.01 knots) and February remained the second windiest (but down to 12.85 knots). The third windiest month for this period was March (at 12.47 knots, below November’s average wind speed in the earlier period). Finally 1991-2020 saw February take the crown for the windiest average month (at just 12.76 knots) while January was now in second place (at just 12.57 knots). The third windiest month was again March, but at just 11.97 knots).

Why does the sign at Stirling Castle make the inaccurate claim that it does? Was it funded by a Scottish government “green” grant? Is climate change propaganda now so ubiquitous that facts are no longer relevant, and every official body simply has to do its bit? Do they not know the true facts? Do they not care?

This afternoon I visited the delightful Smith Art Gallery and Museum down the hill from the castle. Among other exhibits were some whale bones. They had been collected further up the Forth Valley from Stirling – the whales had been there at a time (so the sign accompanying the exhibit explains) after the last Ice Age when sea levels were considerably higher than now and whales would have been found up the valley because it would then have been under the sea.

It’s a tricky business, climate change. Especially in Stirling.

11 Comments

  1. Like a myth of endless turtles stacked on turtles to support a mythical ancient world. Climate deception is stacked on top of climate deception to support and sustain climate fear.

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  2. High winds? Fragile stonework? Either someone did not learn about erosion in high school, or this is yet another example of passing the responsibility for a problem onto humanity at large to hide local failure. What of freeze/thaw in a warmer world? What of sulphate deposition in a post-industrial world?

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  3. It’s not just Stirling Castle we need to worry about – it’s all of the Scottish castles:

    https://blog.historicenvironment.scot/2016/08/taking-history-future/

    Featuring a photo of Caerlaverock Castle, the article makes plain the threat:

    “Climate change is more than a future risk, it is already happening.”

    If anything, that’s a bit of an understatement:

    https://castlestudiestrust.org/blog/2021/07/02/weathering-extremes-medieval-climate-change-at-caerlaverock-castle/

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  4. I might have mentioned that the self-catering accommodation we’re staying in has central heating controlled by a thermostat. We haven’t touched it – it’s where the owners left it. On four days this week, the central heating has switched itself on.

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  5. So in what started as friendly discussion about weather changed into a less than comfortable moment when I was informed that the heat waves in Britain are killing people. If I recall correctly, the claim was debunked as yet more climate hype. Please provide any stats that can put the fear mongering in perspective.

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  6. Hunterson, I offer this as a generality:

    From Denierland; original caption:

    Figure 45. Average deaths per week for each month, England and mean Central England Temperature. Data: mortality, ONS (2019); CET, UK Met Office (undated).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hunterson7,

    I would answer your question in two ways.

    First, although the UK covers a relatively small area, the differences in weather and especially with regard to temperatures, can be great. What the MSM are hyping as a UK heatwave is no such thing. It is an English & Welsh heatwave, and even then, the further north and west you go in England and Wales, the less the heat. Today my wife and I returned from holidays in Stirling to our home in Cumbria. It felt distinctly cool when we left. We called at New Lanark Mills (a detour we long intended to make but never previously got around to), and arriving there just before 10am, it was (according to the car thermometer) just 12C. Certainly people we saw out and about, walking dogs and the like, had coats on. On the M74 south we were regaled with motorway signs warning us of an amber heat warning, which seemed more than a little ridiculous, given the temperature. As we drove down through northern Cumbria, the car thermometer had crawled up to 15.5C, and when we arrived home it was 16.5C. Walking into town later in the afternoon for shopping it felt pleasantly warm – a nice summer’s day, in fact. I didn’t need a jacket, but I wasn’t hot. The BBC weather forecast tells me that we reached 19C here today, and that felt about right. Around 6pm, when it clouded up and I went out to water the plants, which had been left unattended for a week, it was too cool to sit outside without a jacket or jumper. Over the next three days the forecast tells me that temperatures will head rapidly upwards, and peak on Tuesday briefly at 31 or 32C here. Very hot certainly, but no hotter than the temperatures British people actively seek when they take their holidays in Greece, Spain and Italy. The BBC and media hype about this is beyond absurd. On Tuesday evening it is forecast to start raining, with some thunder and lightning possibly on Wednesday, and from Wednesday until the end of the two week forecast, we are told not to expect anything higher than 17 or 18C.

    2. Sadly, yes, small numbers of people do die from excess heat in the UK, but those numbers pale into insignificance compared to those who die from the cold every winter in the UK. Yet of course we don’t have all this hysteria about “deadly cold days” and national emergencies, when we get some unusually cold weather, which we do regularly. Actually, it doesn’t even need to be unusually cold for cold to kill more people than heat. Here’s the latest, hot off the press, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:

    “Both heat and cold increase risk of death in England and Wales but rates vary across geographical areas and population groups”

    https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2022/both-heat-and-cold-increase-risk-death-england-and-wales-rates-vary-across

    Of course, it talks only of England & Wales. In Scotland, cold is more of an issue and heat is less of an issue. The headline summary is:

    “New risk estimates suggest London and other urban areas had the highest heat-related mortality rate, while cold-related deaths were highest in Northern England, Wales and the South West”

    This hides the underlying reality that cold is a much bigger issue than heat:

    “Each year in England and Wales, there were on average nearly 800 excess deaths associated with heat and over 60,500 associated with cold between 2000 and 2019, according to a new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

    The study, which is the most comprehensive assessment of mortality risks related to outdoor temperature across the two countries, found that exposure to both heat and cold is associated with substantial excess mortality, but with important differences across geographical areas and population sub-groups.

    The study was led by researchers from the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), in collaboration with the UK Health Security Agency and researchers from several European universities.

    The team found that London had the highest heat-related mortality rate, with 3.21 excess deaths per 100,000 people, which translates to 170 heat-related excess deaths each year. Heat-related risks were also much greater in urban areas across the two countries.

    In contrast, the risk of death associated with the cold was highest in the North East of England and Wales, with an excess mortality rate of 140.45 deaths and 136.95 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively. London had the lowest risk associated with cold temperatures, with 113.97 deaths per 100,000 people (almost 5800 cold-related excess deaths each year).

    Consistent with existing scientific evidence, the research findings showed that the impacts of cold, and to a lesser extent heat, were more prevalent in deprived areas.”

    Of course, under the new “rules”, the very different levels of fatalities are rolled together and treated as though they are the same:

    “With the number of temperature-related deaths set to rise under the projected climate trends, the researchers call for targeted policies and better adaptation strategies to prevent more severe health consequences from both heat and cold.”

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  8. Slightly related….two of my favourite mountaineering books were written by WH Murray, Mountaineering in Scotland and Undiscovered Scotland. He was very active either side of WW2 (Mountaineering in Scotland was written in a POW camp). He tells tales of climbing in winter when it was so cold they had to drain their car engine of water before they set off for the day and of walking across Rannoch Moor when it was so hot and dry that all the water courses had dried up.
    After WW1, there was very little winter mountaineering in Scotland, partly because so many young men had died in the war but also because there was a run of mild and wet winters.
    Anecdotal tales, I know, but what we are experiencing now, is nothing new!

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