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?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?