Posted by: christinelaennec | June 4, 2013

Late summer evenings in Aberdeen

One of the most beautiful things about living in Scotland is the long summer nights.  They’re particularly lovely when the sky is reasonably clear.  Some years June has been very overcast and wet, and we’ve felt very cheated of the long summer nights, especially considering what we put up with in the wintertime.  But the past few days have provided us with lovely summer days and correspondingly light evenings.  Here’s the view of the front garden at 10 pm on the 1st of June:

The front garden at 10 pm, Aberdeen, 1st June 2013.

The front garden at 10 pm, Aberdeen, 1st June 2013.

And here’s the sunset on the other side of the house, the same evening:

Summer sunset, Aberdeen, 10 pm, 1st June 2013.

Summer sunset, Aberdeen, 10 pm, 1st June 2013.

What’s interesting to me is how long the sunsets go on for.   Timeanddate.com tells me that the official sunset time for the 2nd of June in Aberdeen was 9:53 pm.  But it was still light in the sky an hour later:

Summer sunset, Aberdeen, 10:45 pm 2 June 2013.

Summer sunset, Aberdeen, 10:45 pm 2 June 2013.

The same thing happens with the sunrise, which on the 2nd of June in Aberdeen occurred at 4:21 a.m.  I can tell you that if I’d been awake an hour earlier, it would have been getting light.  I’ve read in bed with only the light from the window at 3:30 in the morning (though not lately, thankfully).

I was wondering whether we’ll lose some of these late nights when we move 100 miles or so south.  According to timeanddate.com, we will have nearly identical sunset times.  On the longest day, June 21st, the sun will set in Glasgow at 10:06 pm and in Aberdeen at 10:08 pm.  However, if I’m insomniac (or who knows, coming home from a ceilidh in the wee hours) I will have to wait a bit longer for natural light in Glasgow.  Sunrise on June 21st in Glasgow will be 4:31 a.m. whilst in Aberdeen the sun will rise at 4:12 a.m.

I can live with that!

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Responses

  1. I remember it was really hard in summer in Aberdeen to explain to small children that it might be bright at four in the morning, but there were hours to go before it was time to get up. They just didn’t believe me.

  2. That’s amazing. I mean, I would easily believe such a story in relation to some part of northern Finland or the Arctic, but for a civilized part of the world such as Aberdeen it seems so unreal. Reality for me is apparently rather a limited experience.

  3. That is one thing I truly loved about European summers – those long, long days and everlasting sunsets. Enjoy them from wherever you make your home in Scotland, Christine! ❤

  4. Ah, I do so love our long summer nights. It’s funny that we take off to other countries further south in search of sun, but end up in places where it disappears dramatically around 7pm!

    Love your sunset pictures 🙂

  5. I’ve often wondered if we ought to sleep less in the summer with so much daylight, but my preference is for blackout curtains so that I can still get my usual shut-eye. It is lovely to have so much sunlight thought, I think it cheers the spirit.

  6. What a lovely way to spend an evening! I do adore sunsets and the magical time between day and night!

  7. I remember evening light just like that on Skye when Himself and I honeymooned in Scotland in July, almost 16 years ago. We were simply amazed!

  8. Beautiful photos of your lovely sunsets and how nice to have such long days! That is a nice little bonus for those long,dark winter nights! xo

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Flora – oh yes, I have had many of those conversations in the past!

    oldblack – I know what you mean. I was surprised to find that Aberdeen is about the same latitude as Sitka, Alaska. That makes it more believable.

    Stacy – I will indeed continue to enjoy them!

    Laura – you’re so right. I’ve never been one to go off in search of sun (unless to someplace like Aboyne).

    Lorna – Arctic Mum has posted about the endless summer nights above the Arctic circle – apparently they don’t use blackout blinds, and kind of stay up a lot at this time of year!

    Vivian – yes, there is definitely a magic about that transition time.

    Ellen – The sunsets on the West Coast are, to my mind, even more amazing because there isn’t a mountain range to the West.

    Karen – yes, I think I’m not alone in feeling it’s a kind of natural recompense!

  10. I hate the light nights because I can’t see any stars in the summer night sky and I can’t get to sleep. Scotland is a no-go destination for astronomers wanting to study the stars in June. I always have a sleeping bag on my window so I can get a good night’s sleep. I’m not exaggerating, there are sunset colors throughout the night because Aberdeen is so far north!

    • It’s true that it’s much harder to see the stars in the summertime here. Having said that, I have seen amazing stars in the Outer Hebrides in the summer. But you have to stay up til about 1 am!

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