Orkney's sunny skies are the envy of Britain

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The Independent Online

The rest of the country is not often jealous of the weather in Orkney, but this summer the remote islands have enjoyed almost three months of unbroken sunshine.

The rest of the country is not often jealous of the weather in Orkney, but this summer the remote islands have enjoyed almost three months of unbroken sunshine.

Glasgow and Edinburgh suffered their wettest June on record, and England and Wales the second rainiest July in a decade, but Kirkwall in Orkney revelled in 195.5 hours of sunshine in June, making it the warmest since records began in 1947.

Sheila Faichney, the head of marketing at the Orkney Tourist Board, said: "Visitors have been extending their stays and our information centre staff have been run off their feet."

However, the rest of Britain's dreary weather is likely to be replaced this week by the sunshine and warmer temperatures enjoyed across England and Wales this weekend.

A spokesman at the Meteorological Office said the warm spell this week might mark the start of a warming trend in England and Wales after this dismal month, in which the average amount of rain for July fell in the first 13 days alone. "This is really the first piece of warm, sunny weather we have had since the jubilee weekend," the spokesman said.

At Scotland's biggest music festival, T In The Park, near Kinross, about 500 people received first-aid treatment, most of them requesting sun screen and after-sun cream, medical officials said.

However, in Ireland, which has endured one of the wettest, windiest and coolest summers on record, the bookies were not optimistic.

Paddy Power, Ireland's largest bookmaker, quoted 10/11 on the next eight days producing a millimetre of rain, and much longer odds of 8/1 against the prospect of the next two weeks staying dry.

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