FROM the beaches of North Berwick to the shimmering waters of Loch Lomond and the glorious expanses of the Trossachs, Scotland baked in the hottest weather of the year so far.
Records fell on Saturday as Aberdeenshire basked in 26C and cloudless skies.
But today, and tomorrow in particular, are expected to be hotter still.
Scotland is joining in a Europe-wide heatwave that will last until Friday at least, and may continue through to the start of next week.
Scotland sizzled to the sound of burgers on barbecues. City parks and beaches were full of people trying to soak up all too rare rays of sunshine.
The only exception was the far north and north west, with Shetland and Orkney suffering drizzle and mist.
“Sunday was not quite as warm as Saturday, it was round about 22C in many places, from Aviemore in the Highlands, to Perthshire and the central belt,” said Fraser Rolston, a Met Office forecaster based in Aberdeen.
“The forecast is for that fine, warm sunny weather to persist this working week, and there’s a reasonable chance it could hold until next week, but temperatures and cloud cover becomes more uncertain the further ahead you look.”
He added: “Tuesday could be a very hot day – 26 or 27 degrees.
“It’s pretty good. It’s not unusual to get this for one or two days, but it’s been a while since we’ve had such a solid week.”
Saturday was the hottest day of the year in Scotland and that record is expected to be broken again today or tomorrow.
For the Scottish tourism industry, the good weather will be a welcome boost. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park reported extremely high visitor numbers over the weekend.
At the Duncan Mills Memorial slipway in Balloch, 60 boats launched on Saturday, and at least 60 more yesterday, compared with just 31 the previous weekend.
At the park’s Balmaha Visitor Centre, almost 500 people came through the doors on Saturday and at least 433 more visited yesterday.
Claire Travis, recreation manager for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying themselves in the sunshine and taking advantage of having a national park on their doorstep.
“It’s been a busy weekend with our rangers out and about making sure visitors receive a warm welcome and all the information they need to enjoy their time in the national park.”
The UK has been so hot that William Hill has cut the odds on a hosepipe ban from 7-1 to 5-1. Punters can put a bet on a temperature of 100F (38C) at 6-1, down from 8-1.
And there are also odds of 12-1, down from 16-1, offered on the UK’s record temperature of 101.3F (38.5C) being broken this year.
However, the hot weather has claimed its first life, when a boy died while swimming in a disused quarry near Malvern in Worcestershire.
The last time the country enjoyed such a long spell of warm July weather was in 2006 when temperatures were above 28C (82.4F) in many areas for a fortnight.