tornadoes scotland

Dave Barrett spotted the rare phenomenon in the hills north of Kirriemuir
The spectacular sight of a twin twister in the Angus glens has been captured by a keen Courier country hillwalker.

Dundee's Dave Barrett was out in the hills north of Kirriemuir this week when the unusual natural phenomenon unfolded in front of him.

He quickly grabbed a picture of the two funnels in the low cloud conditions.

Meteorological experts say a single waterspout is not an out of the ordinary occurrence in the UK, but the sight of two so close together is a rarity.

Dave said it was an unexpected bonus for a rainy weekday walk.

"I was walking up Cat Law around three miles north east of Balintore Castle near Lintrathen on Monday morning," he said.

"There were thundery showers around at the time, I looked up and saw the two tornado funnels and couldn't believe it.

"If they touched the ground, it was probably in Glen Quharity, perhaps a couple of miles from where I took the photograph."

A Met Office spokesman said the conditions in the glens were probably close to ideal for the twin funnel phenomenon.

"Many conditions need to be present for a tornado to form but, when these conditions are met, a violently whirling mass of air, known as a vortex, forms beneath the storm cloud," he said.

"A funnel cloud usually develops as the vortex forms due to the reduced pressure in the vortex. Strong inflowing winds intensify, and the spin rate increases as the vortex stretches vertically.

"If it continues stretching and intensifying for long enough the vortex touches the ground, at which point it becomes classified as a tornado.

"It is not clear whether they touch the ground. Two together is quite unusual," he added.

"Sometimes the vortex can appear as a slender rope-like form, particularly when the tornado is weakening; sometimes a tornado can be almost invisible, observable by the debris thrown up from the surface.

"Tornadoes typically spin anticlockwise in the Northern hemisphere."

Around 30 tornadoes a year are reported in the UK. They are typically small and short-lived, but have the potential to cause structural damage if they pass over built-up areas.