Thursday, September 5, 2013

Football weather

I'm regularly asked what I think of the weather here in Scotland. Do I like it?


Emphatically yes.

Quite simply, it's (American) football weather. More specifically, this summer has been like several consecutive months of mid-to-late-September Big Ten football weather. Folks in Columbus and Ann Arbor and Madison and Champaign know it and love it. The heat and humidity of summer have dissipated. Mornings and evenings might require a light jacket or a sweatshirt. There's a briskness -- not quite a chill -- in the air. Skies may be cloudy. It might have rained recently, but that merely enhances the smell of grass and earth and leaves, as well as the bratwurst and burgers and beer.

Representing my Big Ten team, the Hoosiers, on a morning in late June at Stirling Castle. Sweatshirt weather.
We moved to Glasgow in mid-June, roughly two and a half months ago. Other than a couple of days last January when we came to visit for Kate's interview, we have been in Scotland only during summer months. We haven't yet experienced months of winter, with short daylight hours and wet and cloudy conditions.

The summer has been simply fabulous. Even during the historic hot and dry span of three weeks we had in July, the temperature never rose higher than the 70s Fahrenheit. An especially hot day here is in the mid-70s. Most of the time, the temperature is in the 60s. Some days it doesn't get out of the 50s.

A steamy day in mid-July on the grounds of Culzean Castle in southwestern Scotland. My niece Macie, my bro-in-law John, and Jack commiserated with the hot deer.
At night, it doesn't get much colder. Usually, the temperature all day and night stays in a range of about 10-15 degrees. That's different from North Carolina, where the temperature could range from the 90s during the day to the 60s at night.

Moreover, the hours of sunlight are incredibly long. Probably a little too long. At the summer solstice, it was light by roughly 4:30 in the morning and not dark until 11:00ish at night. That allows a LOT of time to play outdoors, and discourages toddlers everyone from going to bed at an appropriate hour.

Light streaming in the windows at 9:00 p.m.
It doesn't rain all that much. Not like I had feared it would. In fact, I don't think it rains much more than in Raleigh. All the Glaswegians seem to agree that Scotland in general is damp, and Glasgow in particular gets a lot of rain. True enough, many days it does rain. But it usually rains only for a short time. It might threaten to rain for several hours. Weather forecasts tend to predict a 10-20% chance of rain every day, just to be safe. But the rainfall typically is light. And for hours in the day before or after the rain, it'll be sunny or at least only partly cloudy. Even on the days it rains, it's only for a little part of a day which otherwise was quite pleasant.

The sun came out after a light rain during a hike on the Isle of Arran.
This is my favorite kind of weather. Not too hot, low humidity, plenty of sunlight. I used to love the three or four weeks each year in the States during early fall when it felt like this. Here, I get the same weather for three or four months.

Weather in Glasgow: 1       Weather in North Carolina: 0


  1. I hope to see a revision of this post come December....

    1. We'll see. Winter's not much colder in Glasgow than Raleigh, though the cold lasts longer and there's fewer hours of daylight.