Our Islands in the Sun; as the Rest of Scotland Stays under a Cloud, Orkney Sizzles in Its Best Summer Ever

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Byline: KATH GOURLAY

IT has stunning scenery, a wealth of ancient history and some of the best local produce around - but not even the most flattering tourist brochures boast about Orkney's weather.

Yet while the rest of us have been digging out umbrellas and lamenting the wettest summer in living memory, Orcadians have been soaking up the best summer they've ever known.

The past two months have seen the 70 islands and skerries that make up the archipelago positively sizzle while washed-out Glasgow and Edinburgh have had their rainiest June on record.

Temperatures have soared into the 70s as the 20,000 islanders and a host of lucky tourists enjoyed 195.5 hours of sunshine - nearly 100 hours more than in Glasgow.

Even the normally constant wind has vanished, leaving the islands' capital of Kirkwall revelling in its warmest June since records began in 1947.

The unexpected spell of brilliant weather has brought with it a welcome tourism boom as visitors, including many from cruise liners, celebrate finally having found summer.

Sheila Faichney, Orkney Tourist Board's head of marketing, said: 'It's been brilliant. Visitors have been extending their stay and our information centres have been run off their feet. …