IT MIGHT only be March but this week the Capital has been enjoying an unseasonal spell of hot weather.

The soaring mercury – with temperatures tipping the 20-degree mark – made it the ideal time to get out of work early and enjoy the sunshine, leading to a packed beach at Portobello and huge crowds flocking to the city’s parks for impromptu barbecues.

While it may have been a rare sunny spell – and seemed all the more unusual given the recent memories of long harsh winters and streets covered with snow and ice – a bit of spring sunshine is not unheard of in the Capital.

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In 1960, the Capital enjoyed a glorious spell of sunshine in late March and early April, giving everyone the chance to unwind.

At Edinburgh Zoo the animals were delighted with a bit of sun, none more so than the attraction’s sea lions who were regularly seen basking on the rocks in their enclosure.

Out in the city, residents were also taking the chance to get some sun, with staff at the Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital even moving the beds of sick children out into the hospital grounds so they wouldn’t miss out on the rays.

It was a similar story in 1966, when the start of March brought a short spell of sunshine that had workers flocking to Princes Street Gardens on their lunch break to enjoy the weather after forecasters predicted it would only last a few short days.

More recently, in 1990, the city again enjoyed an April heatwave that had residents rushing to the beach, with the ice-cream trade given a rare boost.

Once again, it is expected that the sunshine will not last much beyond the weekend, so the message is clear – enjoy it while you can.