Edinburgh weather: Sun worshippers enjoy 29C heat

Chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo keep their cool by sucking on fruit ice poles''. Picture: Neil Hanna

Chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo keep their cool by sucking on fruit ice poles''. Picture: Neil Hanna

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AS PARTS of Britain sweltered in temperatures hotter than Lahore, the Lothians wasn’t quite treated to the heatwave it had hoped for.

But despite some overcast skies, determined sun-worshippers from across Edinburgh and the Lothians came out in numbers to enjoy the hottest day of the year so far as the mercury struck 29C.

Crowds enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Crowds enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Shorts and flip-flops were defiantly on show and outdoor cafes and pubs with beer gardens enjoyed a brisk trade from Portobello to the West End.

Hundreds of people enjoyed intermittent sunshine in Princes Street Gardens and the Meadows yesterday ahead of forecast thundery downpours.

Meanwhile, a smoggy haze drifting over much of the coastline, blocking any views of Fife, was blamed on air pollution.

Cross-country skier Callum Smith stunned onlookers as he took advantage of the hot conditions to train in the Meadows.

Sophie Walker, ten, and Lucy Brown, 17, cool off in the sea at North Berwick beach. Picture: Jane Barlow

Sophie Walker, ten, and Lucy Brown, 17, cool off in the sea at North Berwick beach. Picture: Jane Barlow

The 22-year-old, a hopeful for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, sped by sunbathers on specially-adapted roller-skates.

Callum, who lives in Edinburgh, said: “I get some funny looks.

“I’ve already worked out my upper body, so I’ve been round Arthur’s Seat twice and now I’m nearly finished for the day.”

Paul Greasley, 52, of Bruntsfield, was basking in the sunshine close to the Scott Monument and enjoying a fruit juice.

He said: “I am thoroughly enjoying it. I like the sun and the sun likes me, and I will be making the most of it while it lasts.

“If it gets too much for me I may duck into an antique shop or two to escape the heat but I heard it may get thundery later.”

High temperatures, traffic pollution and ground-level ozone combined to create a “chemical soup” which broke air quality guidelines in places.

People with respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema were also warned that they could be affected by the smog hanging over Edinburgh and in the Lothians.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the Bush Estate in Penicuik, saw air pollution levels rise above the legal standard of 120 micrograms per cubic metre and considerably higher than the World Health Organisation’s standard of 80 micrograms per cubic meter.

But that didn’t deter people coming out in their hundreds to get their sunshine quota.

Among them was Sean Brady, 22, who took advantage of the sunshine and 
borrowed a friend’s bike to ride to Portobello via Holyrood Park.

“I’m going to get a smoothie now, but it will be a few pints later in Sandy Bell’s to cool down,” he said.

Jessica Smith, 17, of the West End, was handing out leaflets advertising a food stall in Princes Street Gardens during one of the longer spells of sunshine.

She said: “It’s absolutely gorgeous here and everyone is so friendly and relaxed because of the weather.

“We have been selling a lot of ice creams.”

Joanna Charles, a staff nurse at the Western General, was soaking up a few rays in the Meadows and later Princes Street Gardens before beginning a night shift at the Hospital. The 23-year-old, who lives on the Royal Mile, said: “I am definitely a sun-worshipper – and you have to make the most of the sun while it’s out because the weather has been so rubbish lately.”

But Alan Kowalski, 27, of Leith, said: “I don’t think anyone is in danger of heatstroke and it’s not as hot as Tuesday.”

Today was expected to see a bright start but clouds are due to move eastwards during the morning with top temperatures of 22C.