Welcome to Scotland the Brava

Global warming could bring more than a ray of sunshine to northern resorts such as Arbroath, reports Mark Rowe

WELCOME to Arbroath, the sun capital of the UK. Scotland's east coast resorts are expecting to undergo a revival in popularity, should predictions that changing weather patterns will bring a revival in the tourist trade be fulfilled.

A trend over the past 30 years has pointed towards milder winters and warmer summers but new research has rejected the traditional fear that a globally-warmed Scotland would simply see a lot more mild drizzle. Instead it concludes that the east coast will enjoy hours more sunshine, boosting hopes of increased revenue from tourists. Should it happen, tourism experts are predicting that Scottish towns like Arbroath would resemble Breton coastal resorts, with harbours filled with yachts and pleasure craft.

The report, "Potential Effects of Climate Change on the Scottish Tourist Industry", suggests that, if the climate continues to get milder and warmer, then, while the west of Scotland will get more rain, the east coast will see a drop in downpours.

"Over the past decade there has been a trend to milder winters and sunnier summers," said Dr John Harrison, lecturer in Environmental Science at Stirling University and co-author of the report. "If this trend continues there would be a drastic reduction in rainfall over the summer months."

The warmer weather is being caused by strengthened westerly air in the warmer Atlantic and fewer streams of cold air from continental Europe. Though the link has not been made to global warming, the trend is clear.

The news has been welcomed along the east coast, from Nairn, on the Moray Firth to Arbroath and Dunbar in the south. "We would be delighted if the weather does get warmer. At one time the east coast resorts relied very heavily on tourism but that has waned," said Duncan Bryden, tourism and environment manager for the Scottish Tourist Board.

The resorts' halcyon days were the 1950s and 1960s, before air travel revolutionised tourism, when beaches and town centres were full of holidaymakers. Arbroath, nearby Lunan Bay with its four-mile beach, and Carnoustie, east of Dundee, were popular destinations for the two-week holiday for factory workers in Glasgow and Dundee.

"If it improves then it won't go back to what it once was but it will encourage more water sports, sailing, water-skiing and windsurfing," said Mr Bryden.

"I think it would resemble something like the resorts of Brittany rather than the south French coast. It would be a shot in the arm for them."

Warmer weather would encourage more leisure yachting in harbour towns such as Montrose and Nairn, said Mr Bryden. "A change in the climate would be the spur to economic and social and environmental regeneration for places which have suffered.

"That would improve property prices around the harbours, increase activity in town centres and lead to more shops."

East coast towns would also welcome a different type of visitor, according to Dr Colin Smith, chief executive of Angus and Dundee tourist board, which is responsible for Arbroath. "A change in temperature would open up new opportunities and may lead to a resurgence in family holidays and short breaks taken later in the year."

He pointed out that, because of the Westerly climate, Arbroath traditionally enjoys as much sunshine as Dorset, though not always the same temperatures.

However, Dr Harrison's report is a guide to what tourism managers might expect and they would do well to heed his warning on water levels. "All this could lead to a water deficit in the east. More tourists will mean a demand for more water."

Fears of the impact global warming might have on the Scottish ski-ing industry were unfounded, he said. "It would lead to a remarkable change in snow distribution but only at intermediate level of 3,000 feet. Snow will still fall on the higher ground."

But will warm weather mean the end to the dramatic and moody low cloud which can make for such atmospheric trips on foot or by car through the Cairngorms? "There's always an attraction of moody aspects of Scotland but when it does get a bit excessive it can be a bit off-putting," said Dr Smith.

But if other environmental studies are right, Scotland could endure a much colder climate due to the diversion or disappearance of the Gulf Stream.

Focus, page 25

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Branch Manager

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most