Awards rain down on Scotland’s most dedicated weather observers

Scotland's longest serving rainfall observers have been recognised. Picture: Getty
Scotland's longest serving rainfall observers have been recognised. Picture: Getty
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MOST people in Scotland have spent a fair amount of time watching the rain fall outside, but few win awards for doing so.

Now Scotland’s longest serving rainfall observers have been honoured for their efforts at a special ceremony in Glasgow.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Met Office recognised 14 volunteers for their work collecting data on national rainfall at dozens of sites across the country.

Every day voluntary observers measure and record the accumulated rainfall and send the results to SEPA to be included in its database and the Met Office national archive.

Peter Kennedy has recorded rainfall at the Doonholm gauge in Alloway, Ayrshire, for 37 years, carrying on a family tradition which began more than a century ago, in 1898.

Fellow Ayrshire rainfall monitors, Jim and Susan MacColl, of Dunlop, started recording rainfall in memory of Mrs MacColl’s late brother, Alasdair, a trained meteorologist and dedicated observer of dreich Scottish skies.

Mrs MacColl, who has also been selected to champion a national campaign to recruit new observers, said: “My brother taught me a lot about cloud structures, which led to my interest in the weather. We wanted to continue reading the gauge as a fitting tribute to him and because it provides important information which can help people. Our granddaughter also helps us take the readings, so I hope she might be one of a new generation of volunteers.”

SEPA records rainfall at 383 sites across Scotland, of which 146 are run by volunteers. Information is used to help minimise the risk of flooding.

James Curran, SEPA chief executive, praised their “invaluable” contribution as their efforts were celebrated at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Monday.

He said: “The information they collect is crucial to a number of nationwide services and the awards are a way of showing our appreciation to the longest serving observers. Some have carried out their duties for nearly half a century.”