Schools out! And 500,000 set for mass Edinburgh getaway

Pupils from the Royal High Primary School in Edinburgh are piped out on their last day at the school
Pupils from the Royal High Primary School in Edinburgh are piped out on their last day at the school
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The final bell rings for summer prompting a mass getaway as schools across the city break up for seven weeks.

Whether flitting to Florence or cruising to Crete, holidaymakers are ditching home turf in search of a break with nearly half a million people expected to travel through Edinburgh Airport next week.

Sun seekers not anticipating the Capital’s mini heatwave will take off to the most popular European destinations including Mallorca, Alicante and Malaga in Spain, Athens, Rhodes and Corfu in Greece, and Turkey’s favoured resorts of Dalaman and Antalya.

Jet-setters heading further afield to North America will be checking in to resorts in Cancun and Orlando as well as city breaks in New York, Washington and Chicago.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “It’s great to see the excitement of people heading off on their holidays, whether it’s two weeks on the beach or a multi-city break.

“As Scotland’s busiest airport we fly to more than 150 destinations and handle more than 13 million passengers every year so we are always a hive of activity, but the terminal really comes to life in the summer months and we wish everyone who comes through a great holiday and thank them for flying from Edinburgh Airport.”

For those staying at home, forecasters say the weekend weather will pick up again with high temperatures expected throughout Saturday and Sunday.

A spokeswoman from the Met Office said: “Edinburgh isn’t going to have the baking sunshine of other places in Scotland, but it isn’t looking too bad and is set to have a good weekend. It’s going to start a bit cloudy this morning but the cloud will break up by mid-morning and then it should be sunny for the rest of the day.

“There will be lots of sunshine for Edinburgh on Sunday and as a result temperatures are getting higher than they have been – today it could be looking at peaking at 19C-20C and even higher tomorrow.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued a wildfire warning that is in place across the country until Monday.

SFRS area manager Bruce Farquharson is the chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum.

He said: “Grass and wildfires are a common risk at this time of year when warmer weather dries out vegetation – especially dead winter foliage – which offers an ample fuel source.

“Just one heat source can cause it to ignite and if the wind changes direction even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides.”

He added: “A great many people will be enjoying the outdoors in the good weather this weekend. We urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire – be aware of the risks and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”

Forestry Commission spokesman Stuart Burgess added: “Every year, fire destroys thousands of hectares of countryside. They are a threat to people, wildlife, forests, woodlands and trees. Although some fires are started deliberately, most of them are due to carelessness.

“Thankfully major forest fires are rare and we remind everyone to take care all the time, not only during dry spells.”

Fire crews earlier this week battled a blaze in woodland near Fauldhouse, West Lothian, with the terrain proving “difficult and challenging”.

And wildfires swept across Arthur’s Seat last month in an incident that left one person injured. Grass was alight near the summit which, at its peak, saw around 30 firefighters at the scene.

newsen@edinburghnews.com