snow june 2009
© unknownTwins Elizabeth (left) and Jeanette McGregor play in the snow in Aviemore

Five days ago we were flocking to the beach, queueing for ice-creams and slathering on the sunscreen.

Yesterday, we were shivering in summer's first dusting of snow. Yes, snow.

After the hottest spell of the year so far, sleet and snow swept in across northern parts of Britain while the rest of the country also cooled down considerably.

The Cairngorms in Scotland were the chilliest, with temperatures falling to zero while the Pennines and Cumbrian fells managed a mere 3c (37f).

Even by British summer standards, that is a remarkable weather turnaround.

In the Cairngorms, two inches of snow meant visitors were able to build a rather surprised- looking summer snowman.

And in the Pennines, snow was clearly visible on peaks above 2,300ft.

'It was already a chilly day before heavy rain falling across the Cumbrian fells and the north Pennines helped to lower the temperature sufficiently for the rain to turn to sleet, and then to wet snow,' said meteorologist Stephen Davenport from the Meteo Group weather forecasters.
snow june 2009
© Peter JollyCold snap: A hill walker tramps through the snow on the Cairngorm mountains.

'While roads stayed largely clear, snow did settle on the hillsides, notably around Upper Teesdale and Weardale.'

The summer snow came in the same week that saw the warmest day of the year.

On Monday, temperatures soared to 80.6f (27c) and beyond, with the highest reported at Port Solent, Hampshire, which sweltered at 27.2c.

Yesterday, amateur weather watchers in Brampton, Cumbria, were astonished at the unseasonal snow.

'The cloud is beginning to clear over the Pennines and from Penrith lying snow is clearly visible on Cross Fell above about 2,300 feet,' said Adam Woodcock.

'This is very late in the season for snow even on Cross Fell. For it to fall and lie in the early afternoon in June is remarkable.

'We had two hours of heavy rain with a temperature of 4.5c- 5c ( 40- 41f) between 12noon - 2pm so snow higher up is not a surprise.

'Those early afternoon temperatures in Penrith are very unusual. To think it was only four days ago that it reached 26c.'

Forecasters predicted showers for most of Britain this weekend - with clear skies not expected until Tuesday.

Although snow is rare in June, it is certainly not unheard of.

On June 2, 1975, sleet and snow showers were reported across many parts of the country. Snow settled on hills just south of Birmingham, and was spotted further east and south, notably in Cambridge and London.

There was also snow in Colchester at the time, where it interrupted the county cricket match between Essex and Kent.

More recently, on June 7, 1985, a sleet shower fell on Birmingham airport.

And going way, way back in the history books, there are reports of snow as far south as the Sussex Downs on June 12, 1791.