Yesterday I found an article on a Dutch website which had some very interesting statistical weather maps from the UK Met Office, also related to Islay, which I'd like to share with you. I've been told by several people on the island that Islay has its own micro climate and I've experienced it myself a couple of times too. Especially in spring the difference between mainland Scotland and the islands in the Southern Hebrides can be huge. Where mainland Scotland can have clouds or even rain (showers) the islands are often sunny. This is the case with the Isle of Tiree, which is also sometimes referred to as the sunshine island, but also applies to some other islands such as Islay and Colonsay. Now how do you find out if this general feeling of a micro climate on Islay is true? And is there any research data available? The answer to that is yes, of course! For example, in the map below you can see the "Sunshine Duration Annual Average" map for Scotland. The map shows that Tiree gets the most sunshine on the west coast and it also confirms that Islay, Jura and Kintyre annually receive almost 30% more sunshine compared to the Highlands.
Sunshine Duration Annual Average 1971-2000
A closer look on the map above also reveals how Islay's weather differs from some areas in mainland Scotland. You can also see on this map and the maps below, that the climate on Islay itself differs from west to east. I'm not sure how you experience it but I have noticed several times, mainly in spring, that the weather on the west coast of Islay (from the Rhinns to Sanaigmore) is often sunnier than that of the eastern part of the island, the map above seems to confirm this feeling.
The interesting thing about the almost double amount of sunshine annually is that it doesn't show on the map below showing average temperatures in July. In this month the temperatures are more or less the same as mainland Scotland as you can see below. What it also shows is that the Rhinns of Islay are cooler on average than other parts of Islay.
Maximum temperature July average 1971-2000
The biggest differences, temperature wise, are seen in the winter (map below) when the average temperature in January on the Rhinns is 3-7c and the average temperature in other areas on the mainland is between -5 and 0c.
Minimum temperature January average 1971-2000
These maps are not all I have found, in another post I will show you some interesting facts about annual rainfall and snow on Islay and other parts of Scotland.