SCOTLAND continued to bask in sunshine over the weekend with temperatures on a par with the Brazilian capital Rio de Janiero.
The dose of summer is set to break this week, with the mercury expected to drop back towards more seasonal levels across much of the country.
But forecasters were yesterday predicting the sunshine would make a return in time for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations next weekend with an area of high pressure pushing temperatures back into the 20s.
Record heat throughout last week stretched into the weekend as thousands of Scots headed to parks, beaches and lochs.
Aboyne in Aberdeenshire took the crown for the hottest official temperature in Scotland yesterday, at 26.8C – hotter than Madrid, Rome, and Nairobi and on par with Rio de Janeiro. Heathrow recorded the UK high of 27.6C.
Met Office forecaster Dave Rigby said Glasgow and the south-west would have another day of sunshine today, while the weather across the rest of the country started to change.
Temperatures are expected to fall to about 15-18C later in the week, still above the average of 13-15C.
Met office forecaster Stuart Brooks said: “We’re looking at temperatures a good 8-10C below where they have been, but that is still above expectations for May. It will be in the 20s in the south-west of Scotland, 16 for the north. And it is looking like it may last into the holiday Monday and Tuesday as well.”
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said it had to attend a large number of incidents in Glasgow where water hydrants had been opened by children.
The hot weather also led to two deaths at the weekend. A man who died after getting into difficulty near a waterfall in a Glasgow park was named yesterday as Nicholas Smith, 23. Police were called to Linn Park near Simshill at about 1:45pm on Saturday after a report that a man had jumped into the water and failed to resurface.
Mr Smith, from the Gorbals area, was taken to hospital, where he later died. Strathclyde Police said his relatives had been informed and a report would be sent to the procurator-fiscal.
Yesterday morning, a 50-year-old woman was airlifted from a beach on Lewis after collapsing in the heat. Stornoway Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter took her from Carnish in Uig to hospital in Stornoway.
Elsewhere, a spokesman for Oban RNLI lifeboat warned people to take care in the sea after a five-year-old boy on a lilo was blown away from the shore on Friday. On Saturday they were called out after reports that youngsters were in trouble in an inflatable dinghy at Ganavan Sands. In both cases, the youngsters were unharmed.
One man died near Chichester, West Sussex yesterday while trying to rescue two children from the sea. The 25-year-old went to help the children at about 12:45pm before himself getting into difficulties.
In another incident, a 22-year-old man died while swimming with friends at a disused quarry at Ballykelly, near Monasterevin, Co Kildare, in Ireland. His body was recovered by Garda divers on Saturday evening.
Last Wednesday had been the hottest day of 2012, with the mercury hitting 27C in Altnaharra in the Highlands. But on Saturday, Kinlochewe, also in the Highlands climbed to 27.9C.
Shops recorded significant boosts to trade tied to the sunshine – Sainsbury’s reported sales of Irn Bru soaring by 500 per cent at the weekend, while barbecue equipment sales were up almost 200 per cent and sales of men’s shorts had doubled.
Asda reported its busiest barbecue weekend of the year so far, selling five million sausages.