Weather Report

Megan Amato
LBST 391-04
Cheryl Schreader
May 30th, 2019

Weather Synopsis of the North East of Scotland

If I am to study a text of traditional myths in attempt pull out climate and weather patterns from the stories, I first need to understand the climate records of the region. Hugh Miller’s book titled “Scenes and Legends of the North of the Scotland” is a collection of folk tales and myths based in Cromarty. The small town is on the coast in the northeast of Scotland and sits between the Cromarty Firth and the Moray Firth (See fig. 4). Due to the towns small size—both in geography and in population—detailed climate reports are few and far between. Therefor, I will divide this synopsis into three parts:  general climate history of Scotland; recent weather and climate patterns of Cromarty; and climate and weather history of the regions surrounding the Cromarty and Moray firths. The first part will give a general ideal of the weather patterns in Scotland and the second and third parts will provide a more detailed idea of the regional climate around Cromarty.

Fig 1. Glasgow Climate Graph from: “Running in Glasgow.” By Great Runs,

Figure 2. Aberdeen Climate Graph from: “Solar PV, Aberdeen and Me.” By Nordintown,

Fig 3. Average days of rain from: “Tain Range Climate” by MetOffice,


 Scotland is the northernmost country on the island of Great Britain.  It is generally located in a low-pressure system and has a temperate climate with wet, winters and mild summers partly in thanks to the North Atlantic Drift ( which flows from Jamaica and keeps it warmer despite it being located at a higher latitude. However, due to the varied nature of its topography (lowlands, highlands, mountains, valleys, lochs, western/eastern coasts, islands etc.) the typical climate can also differ from region to region.  The west coast of Scotland tends to experience more precipitation than the east (see Fig. 1 and Fig. 2) due to orographic rainfall as warm condensed air rises over the mountains in the Highlands and condenses (Dawson 29-30) much of the eastern Highlands lies in its rain shadow (see fig. 3).  A climate report for Scotland reports that the western Highlands averages at 3000 mm of rain per year compared to 800 mm in the east. The highlands tend to be colder in the winter with higher altitudes but have longer hours of daylight. Temperature averages range from 5°C in the winter to 19°C in the summer. The wind tends to blow towards the southwest and average at 11kmh ( Scotland provides 25% of wind power to the EU (


Fig 3.  Map of Cromarty and Firths from: “Cromarty Image Library” by the Cromarty Archive,

The town of Cromarty sits on headland that lies at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth which is a finger of the Moray Firth which leads to the North Sea. Average temperatures range from 2°C in January and February to 18°C in July and August. On average, it rains 18 days out of the month with slightly more rainy days in the winter and an average of 3.8 days of snow in the winter. The average amount of total precipitation is estimated at 700 mm per year ( Due to its coastal location it is in danger of wave and wind erosion with Arctic winds averaging 14 kmh ( A recorded history of storms ranging from the 17th to 19th the century accounts to an altering of the landscape due to rising sea levels, high winds, and wave erosion (Dawson, 133). The sky is often overcast with an average of five hours of sunshine per day with as little as three days during the late fall and winter, and as high as seven days in the June and July. On average, Cromarty see’s two days of fog during the high summer and early fall, and one day of fog during the other months (

Cromarty Firth

The Cromarty Firth average temperatures range from 5°C in the winter to 12°C in the summer ( and an estimate of 634 mm of annual rainfall ( with an average of 10 days of precipitation per month. With the protection of the headlands from the Moray and the North Sea, wind speed average 4kmh ( 

Moray Firth

The average temperatures in the Moray Firth range from 3°C in the winter months to 15°C in the summer, and an average of 700 mm of rain with 10 days of precipitation per month. Average wind speed is 20 kmh. The coast sees more average sunshine than other Scottish regions (

Works Cited

“Climate Report.” Environment, Accessed May 24th, 2019.

“Cromarty Climate History.” MyWeather2, Accessed May 24th, 2019

“Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands.” JNCC. Accessed May 28th, 2019.

“Northern Scotland: Climate.” MetOffice, Accessed May 24th, 2019.

“Scottish Weather and Climate.” Scotland, Accessed May 26th, 2019.

 “Weather Statistics for Moray Firth, Scotland.” YR.NO, Accessed May 24th, 2019

“Wind and Weather for Tain/Moray Firth.” WindFinder, Accessed May 26th, 2019.

Dawson, Alastair. So Foul and Fair a Day. Edinburgh, Birlinn Limited, 2009.


A Transformation in the Study of Robert Burns and Myth

This was my first tutorial for Liberal Studies and I came into it with grand ideas but a unclear understanding of the direction I intended to go in. I knew that I wanted to focus on Scottish folklore and through analytical readings of select myths combined with secondary academic sources, I would thought to try to understand how they are transmitted through time. I’d had the thought to look at the same version of a single folk-tale to compare how they were told in different books, during different periods of time to see if events or moods in history was represented in them. However, as stories of mythology and folklore are usually born out of oral traditions, finding dates for them is a precarious job. Even in the various poetry, ballad and anthology books I had, the dates were often omitted and any history I would have pulled out of them would have been purely conjecture and based of very little evidence. When discussing this with my advisor, I instead proposed that I try studying a single myth and chose to focus on Robert Burns’ famous narrative poem “Tam o’ Shanter.” From there, my advisor suggested was helpful in giving the tutorial a bit more of a structured direction and offered several academic sources that were studies on Burns’ work, romanticism and antiquarianism in Scotland and the British Isles. It would be from there that my focus narrowed and took off into a direction different from where I had intended but remained relevant to the nature of myth and the author himself.

Robert Burns is a poet that many scholars like to postulate on from his creative style and form; his supposed leanings on politics, religion and gender; to the historical relevance of his work Scottish Romanticism; and even Burns’ role on the present day. Due to his popularity, there is a wealth of academic work ready to be sifted through, narrowed down and refined to fit any academic’s subject. After my advisor’s advice to explore academia on Burns and romanticism, I found it much easier to narrow down my own research parameters and my first response was on an article that discussed the role that Burns’ work had on antiquarianism in Scotland, especially Galloway, where his poem “Tam o ’Shanter” is set. The article encouraged me to delve deeper into that theme and from there I was keen to look at the poem from a historical viewpoint so that I could begin to understand what role politics, place and language had on the creation, publication and reception of Robert Burns’ retelling of a local Scottish myth. My second response paper focused largely on expanding these themes with support from secondary sources to that reinforced the idea from the first paper while adding more context in the influences at Burns’ time. Though I’d done a great deal of research and reading, eliminating and selecting secondary text, my adviser suggested that I use the knowledge and themes from my previous work to do a close reading of the poem “Tam o’ Shanter” itself. This final project was the most interesting as it gave me the occasion to look at the poem from new eyes, and with a fresh understanding of just how well written the poem is from a historical context with his careful choice of language and dialect, and its integral ties to place.

Overall, I enjoyed the investigation element of this first tutorial, and the connections I made from the reading the secondary source materials when examining the poem. I am looking forwards to connecting it with my next tutorial which will be looking at what influences weather and climate had in the past on Scottish folklore.

Workplace Recycling

I’m sad to say that due to me being out of the country, this was the goal that had the least amount of traction. At my workplace we have a rubbish bin, we have a cardboard bin and we have a compost. Sadly, like many retail businesses we use plenty of paper (signage, paperwork, notes etc) and yet there is no bin available to recycle.  This seemed like a small and easy fix that could make a large impact in the long run. However, our shop is a part of large a building that houses other shops and offices, so any changes to recycling systems would have to be directed to our building manager.

The results of these efforts are very anti-climatic. When I got back from Edinburgh, I researched the options businesses had for recycling on property and even on city property, and forwarded them to my own manager. Considering there are offices in the building, I reckon there may be some sort of system in place but we are still waiting to hear back from the building manager. I will update when I have a conclusion.

Recycling systems, including composting, are one of the easiest things one can do at home or at work to change how we impact the environment. In residential areas, the city will deliver the proper bins and boxes to your home to make it easier and therefor its hard to find excuses not to recycle, reuse or compost.

Update: Our building manager has gotten back to us. She ha assumed the cardboard box was appropriate for paper and had been using it for the buildings recycling. She is now in contact with the city to see what her options are.


Water: we need it, we use it, we take it for granted, and we waste a lot of it. One of the ways I have often noticed myself being wasteful, even before taking this course, was how often I leave the tap running while brushing my teeth. I would catch myself after thinking about the tasks I had for that day or next, and quickly shut them off but only after a full minute or two of wasting water. As with snacking, it would be creating sustainable habits that would eventually become subconscious acts and make a real difference for longer than a month.

For the first week, it was a matter of taking the time to be aware of what I was doing and forming patterns. I would unscrew the cap, squeeze a small pearl sized amount of toothpaste on my brush, turn on the tap for a few seconds and then turn off the tap. One of the things I was unnecessarily was wet my brush before putting the toothpaste on, and then I would leave the tap running while I squeezed the toothpaste on my brush and wet it again. It was a small and yet significant step to cut out of my routine. I would also turn on the tap to rinse the sink out every time I cleared my mouth and had to train myself to leave it until I was done brushing my teeth as a whole. I wont fib and say that I automatically improved and kept up the habit; it took work and it still takes work, but I did improve. I find myself being much more conscious when brushing my teeth.

Thinking critically about how I use water also challenged me to reconsider how I use water in other areas of my life such as washing the dishes, taking showers and doing the laundry. If I was going to change how I used water when I brushed my teeth, it wouldn’t sense to continue to waste water otherwise. I would have to change my water usage completely. Often when I shower I will take a good 15-20 minutes while I leisurely think about my day and witty come-backs I should have used ten years ago. I cut back my time to 6 minutes (1 minute to shampoo and lather, 30 seconds to rinse, 30 seconds for conditioner, 1 minute to thoroughly wash my body and face, and 3 minutes to leisurely wash out the conditioner while I daydream) and set an alarm on my phone so I would know when I had to get out. I could have used a lower temperature of water, but you have to leave a girl some pleasures. When it came to doing the dishes, my habits were different dependent on where I was based. In Edinburgh, I had a dishwasher so it would just involve waiting until it was absolutely full before putting it on and hand washing any dishes I needed immediately. Sadly (for me, not for the environment), I do not have a dishwasher in Vancouver, so it was how I did my hand-washing that had to change. I live with a roommate so I was hesitant to leave unwashed dishes in the sink, and I definitely didn’t want to leave them overnight. However, I communicated with them and starting leaving dishes starting at breakfast through to dinner (in a neat pile) and washed them using a small basin of soapy water at the end of the day. This way I used nearly the same amount of water to clean all my dishes opposed to one bowl at a time. My roommate seems to be on board with this and will often do the same thing.  The last item to change was my washing. Instead of doing a small wash every few days, I changed to doing one large wash at the end of the week. To be honest with you, I don’t often separate my colours or dedicates so it wasn’t to hard to change this habit. I used cold water instead of warm or hot. These three changes were relatively simple and effective, and will be easy habits to continue after the month of February.

Thinking about how we use water and how we can make changes in our daily lives is just as simple as it sounds. In the West, we often take for granted the clean and accessible water that comes from our taps. Being more mindful as a society can help ensure that that our habits are sustainable. Despite how it may seem, fresh water is not a renewable resource and water scarcity is a problem in different areas around the globe.

A Change in Snacking Habits

Out of the three goals I set myself for the month of February, I knew that changing how and when I snack would be the most challenging. Sugar, and more specifically chocolate, have been my greatest vice and I often indulge myself whenever I am craving. However, buying sweets for home, or when I’m out, creates a lot of unnecessary waste through its wrappings. My plan for the month of February (and beyond) was to create a weekly schedule of snacks that would be prepared ahead of time to prevent the outside purchase of snacks. As I would be outside of the country for three weeks, I needed to choose snacks that I could easily make with common ingredients in most cupboards. For that reason I choose these four recipes: chocolate-chip cookies; Banana bread (both classic and chocolate chip); and ginger snap cookies.

Date: Location: Snack
February 1st – February 9th Edinburgh Chocolate chip cookies
February 10th – February 16th Edinburgh Chocolate chip cookies and Banana bread
February 17th – February 21rd Edinburgh   Coconut milk chocolate Chip Cookies
February 22nd – March 2nd Vancouver Ginger cookies and chocolate chip banana bread

The first week did not get off too a good start. I found myself 30,000 feet above land on a large passenger airplane headed for the U.K. I was already contributing big to my ecological footprint. I did think ahead to bring my own snacks (leftovers from my cupboard) but the flight was nine hours long and I needed the on-board meal. As I unwrapped my tray, and looked at each separately wrapped portion of the meal, I couldn’t help but feel a large dose of guilt. The only highlight (waste-wise) of the meal was that it came with a reusable cup for tea or coffee. When mealtime was finished, I looked around the plane and eyed the amount of rubbish that each person was throwing away, and wondered why no one had come up with a more sustainable system.  Had I not had this challenge set for February, I am not sure if I would have thought critically about the amount of waste airplanes create. When I got off the airplane, I decided to do a little research on just how much waste airplanes create. Many news articles had similar numbers but an article written in the Guardian quoted 5.2 million tonnes of waste in 2016 ( The most frustrating part is that even if you come prepared and bring your own meal thinking that you aren’t personally contributing to airplane waste, the meal that you have denied will still end up in the trash with all of its wrappings. Therefor, you are contributing to food waste and plastic waste. More needs to be done to hold airlines accountable for the waste they produce.

After the distressing experience on the airplane, I was doubly determined to make the rest of my month as waste-free as possible. This was hard. I am not sure if you are aware, but British Dairy-milk is so much better than the Canadian equivalent. However, I ignored the rows of purple wrapped confection in the supermarkets and focused on ingredients for my homemade snacks. I had made a list of ingredients already in my husband’s cupboard so I wouldn’t buy unnecessary products. I also paid attention to the actual packaging of the product I was buying. I shopped for products that had recyclable or reusable packaging, or went to the dry ingredient section to get items that I could buy in bulk. The one problem with bulk—at least in regular supermarkets—is that you have to use the plastic bags provided because the scales are not calibrated for your own containers. However, the chocolate chips didn’t come in any recyclable option so I went with the bulk. Luckily, most larger supermarkets in the U.K. will have a plastic bag recycle on the way out so you can dispose of the plastic and transfer you ingredients to a reusable container. I decided to stick mostly to chocolate chip cookies while I was the U.K. as they were fast and easy to make, and could easily be transported in a small container in my purse. I found that my snack and sugar cravings increased when I was inactive or just after an activity, and so I prepared myself for those moments. Overall, baking my own sweet snacks in the U.K. was effective in reducing the amount of waste I created. However, the one thing I didn’t plan for was sugar overload: after eating so much sweets, I would need something savory to balance it. I bought three bags of crisps due to this. The only other setback in the waste department was due to my husband: the man goes through bottles of sparkling water like its air. Hopefully, that’s a problem a SodaStream for his birthday will solve.

After another very wasteful return trip home, I was prepared to work even hard to be waste-free. Luckily, I only had to shop for the perishables such as banana’s and eggs (on a side note: one thing the U.K. supermarkets do better is offering a half-carton of eggs. I often struggle to use up a full one) for my banana bread, the rest of the ingredients would be using up what I already had. Due to being home more regularly, I could bake more often and with more variety so that I wouldn’t get tired of the items I was eating regularly. I could also pack several different kinds of snacks on the go that involved less or no waste like a medley of fruit and vegetables. I found carrots to be an easy and satisfying snack to have and bought full carrots I could cut into sticks therefor forgoing the plastic packaging. It’s probably no surprise to anyone how much easier it was to be waste-free at home versus on holiday, but taking a packed lunch to work or school is much easier than taking one on city-walks or visiting friends Edinburgh.

In conclusion, being mindful and reducing the amount of waste was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It became more about creating sustainable habits that became more natural as the days went on. The largest challenge I had was impulse control. If left unheeded, I could eat a full plate of cookies in one sitting. I had to limit the amount of sweets I was consuming–I think my health also thanked me for this. If I continue to keep up with this habit, it will be easy to keep up with it outside the month of February and make it something I do organically. I think it is something that others should consider doing as its small act and easily changeable, and can help one think critically about other areas of their life that they are being unnecessarily wasteful. No one is perfect: at the airport I bought a large fruit and nut Dairy Milk bar as a treat for the first day of March and it was great, but I have banana bread made for the first week so that my snacking habits can be satisfied.

Action Project Proposal

  1. Implement a paper recycling bin at my place of employment: I work in a small retail shop that has a bin and a compost but oddly enough, not a recycling bin. Like most businesses, we go through a lot of paper for one thing or another but we do not have any measures for recycling. Recycling seems like such an easy thing we can do to protect our environment and I have been debating taking action for a while. However, the shop is apart of a large building management that has multiple shop and business as tenants and any proposal I have would have to be approved by them.
    For this action project I plan to do the following:
    – research was options businesses have with the City of Vancouver in terms of   recycling bins and determine what if and what the cost would be
    – write a proposal to the building manager to implement it
    – if the outcome is negative, I will need to research what options we have as an independent shop.
  2. Stop snacking out: I am often proud of myself for not drinking fizzy drinks, therefore contributing less waste to the world and to my body, however, one of my biggest contributes to personal waist is store bought snacks. I often have craving for sweet things like chocolate bars and no will power to prevent myself from buying them–almost every school day I buy something from the vending machine. These snacks almost always come in some form of wrapper that gets wasted. My proposed plan for February is to make my own waste-free snacks at home and bringing them with me in containers for snacks. I will prepare a snack schedule for the month that I have to adhere to using up a lot of the ingredients I already have in my cupboard to also reduce food waste.
  3. Turn off the taps when brushing my teeth: This is a small thing that I am guilty of. Often when I brush my teeth, I get in the habit of daydreaming and forget to turn off the tap which wastes water and energy. For the month of february, I am going to train myself to turn off the water right away and therefor getting myself into a routine that will last well beyond the month.

Project Proposal for LBST 390

This purpose of this project was to compile relevant information for my upcoming tutorial next semester.  The tutorial will focus on the structural forms and patterns of Scottish myth and if it has connection to history. The project includes a literature review on the basics of mythology and language, but with an emphasis on the depth of research needed for the following semester on specific myths and regions.

Project Proposal

Fields of Interest Assignment

Fields of Interest Assignment

In this fields of interest assignment I have assessed my past and present interests, projects and skills to determine what I might focus on when it comes to my tutorials and my final project.  After examining the courses I’ve taken in the past few years as well as my own interests, it was evident that creative writing and history were both prevalent in my academic and personal research and that my research topic would involve both of these topics.


Interview Reflection

The action of interviewing seems simple when you think about it as a concept. You ask questions, presumably ones that create interesting dialogue and if done well, the interviewee spills their heart out to you. However, when it comes to actually doing, it’s a rather daunting process. Especially to an individual who doesn’t possess the gift of easy conversation. To make it slightly easier for me while still following the rules of interviewing to a stranger, I asked a friend if they would get me in touch with one of their classmates/school friends. This may have been cheating slightly, but I justified it by thinking that real interviews are often arranged by appointment, as well as saving me countless moments of anxiety by asking a stranger on their lunch break. My friend found an acquaintance happy to help me out and an interview was arranged for a day we were both at school. I asked them for consent and explained the purpose and content of my interview: Diversity within Capilano’s curriculum and faculty and then we were off.

I should start by stating that the interview didn’t start off as smoothly as that. One of my greatest weaknesses in writing the preamble or setting the scene, and that often translates to conversation: I simply just never know where to start. Therefore, the beginning of the interview didn’t go as smoothly as the million times I  had practiced it in my head, my words mixed up and the awkward silences lingered on for just too long. Luckily, my interviewee was patient and understanding and my innate determination—see: stubborn—wouldn’t allow the interview to be a complete failure. I kept in mind the Hermanowicz paper stating that “great conversation is the quality that should guide one’s approach [when] interviewing [and that] a not-so-good interview is not a conversation—it is, rather, mechanistic” (482) and while the conversation may have not started well, there was no reason I couldn’t get back in track. Moving away from the awkward openers, I got my interviewee to tell me about their program, the classes and their experiences at University so far. This proved effective and conversation and questions came much more easily compared to the stop and start dialogue in the beginning. Finding the right probing question came more readily, and my interviewee’s answers gave me chances to ask them to elaborate which set an evener mood for the rest of the interview would be.

It was not only the opener that I struggled with during the interview but also the art of note taking and like most artforms, the talent seems to elude me. I knew this already from my note-taking style in class, but I was determined that this interview would be different, I would take notes and they would flow, if not effortlessly than at least in a way that made sense to me later. As you can imagine, reading my notes later was similar to deciphering an old English manuscript: I could recognize some words, and get a feeling of what was trying to be said but hopeless at actually reading it. The second problem I had with note taking was balancing it with the process of creating flow and actively listening. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to Hermanowicz when it came to taking as few notes as possible (496), thinking that I could quickly jot down my thoughts and their responses and the silences that came during the interview process were not the deliberate ones Hermanowicz suggested (585) but rather poor execution and self-awareness on my part.

The final lesson I learned from this interview and in relation to the Hermanowicz article was asking clear questions. There were a few times when my interviewee answered a question with unclear or…misdirected answers. It took far more probing questions than it would have needed to get to the direction I was headed than if I had just worded the answer more clearly to start. One moment that stands out is when I was asking about the diversity within the courses they has taken, they answered about the courses as a whole rather than individually as I had intended. It took a few extra moments but with the right sub-questions about the courses they had told me they had taken earlier, we eventually to the answers I was looking in order to transition to the next question.

This interview assignment was not one I was looking forward to for the reasons I stated in the beginning of this paper. In fact, I dreaded it and a miniscule part of me debated the pros and cons of skipping it entirely. Luckily, my realistic side won the debate like it often does and I actually came out of the process with a deeper self-awareness when it comes to interviewing and interacting with people on a more basic level than I really wanted to admit. Hermanowicz’s analogy to dating and sex in his article “The Great Interview: 25 Strategies for Studying People in Bed” translates clearly when thinking back to the interview process itself and I think it is safe to say that my date with my interview ended on a good note, but the chemistry just wasn’t there and the blame lays at my own feet. I may dread putting myself out there again, but I know that by refining my interviewing practices, the next one may prove to be better.

Framing Reflection #1

Aligning myself to a specific research paradigm is going to prove to be just as elusive as it was assigning one to a certain area of expertise It’s hard to commit myself to one method as the biggest issue that I have to overcome when writing research papers is adding my own voice. I often rely too heavily on others’ research rather than adding my own weight to the work. However, when I think about how I go about researching and responding to research, my automatic response is to say that I lean towards interpretive. It is my belief when studying anything we should put ourselves in the place of the subject in order to get a clearer and less biased picture of the evidence given. This leans towards with the epistemology of the interpretive paradigm where we must listen to the work of those to learn about how other people view the orchestra of their lives and how the world works around them. Upon reflection, this diffidence stunted my research and writing as I am too hesitant to trample over other voices—ones I view as more experience and worthy—to impart my own. I can see how I get caught in learning about individual perspectives that shape their world views rather then generating conclusions with the evidence given.

As easy as it would be to place myself in the interpretive model and leave it there, it wouldn’t be completely accurate. The majority of the research papers I’ve written in my short university career so far have been based on the experiences of marginalized groups, often written with a feminist perspective and follow more along the lines of the critical paradigm and its respective epistemology regarding the social constructs and the resulting constraints on those societies. While I agree with the critical paradigm’s epistemology aim at using research to look critically at the socially constructed systems in place with goals to dismantle oppressive forces within them I am still hesitant to label my research as critical. Even as I try to educate myself, both through university and in my own time, on the effects these systems have on society, I struggle to see how I can create change and therefore hindering myself in the process.  It will be my goal throughout my university career to continue developing my voice in order to hone in on the ontological and epistemological approach needed to strengthen my research.