(This post has been edited to include the new temperature record.)
So where in Britain has the highest temperature been recorded?
Go on, have a guess!
Ok, I’ll tell you.
Cambridge recorded a high of 38.7°C on July 25th 2019. Given that that is hotter than body temperature, it must have been pretty uncomfortable.
Was your guess somewhere in the south of England? The hottest summer temperatures are usually in the south, where the sun is higher in the sky and so heating more intensely.
Right, now guess the location of Britain’s coldest recorded temperature.
There are actually two places that have recorded the same figure of -27.2°C; colder than your freezer.
Does that surprise you?
With the hottest place down in the south, you perhaps picked somewhere right at the north of Britain for the coldest place. However, all places on the Shetland Islands are close to the sea, and the sea around them doesn’t freeze. So the northern extremities of the British Isles are warmer in winter than the mountains in the heart of Scotland.
When the weather hits the headlines, we are usually told that it is the hottest / coldest / wettest / driest “since records began”. But there’s plenty of evidence that gives clues about temperatures prior to when records began.