Scotland In the Little Ice Age


By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

Talking of glaciers, this BBC report from eight years ago was a bit more balanced:

A glacier was still in place in Scotland within the past 400 years – 11,000 years later than previously thought – it has been suggested.

Dundee University geographer Dr Martin Kirkbride said a glacier may have survived in the Cairngorms as recently as the 18th Century.

Britain’s last masses of slow-moving ice and snow were understood to have melted 11,500 years ago.

Dr Kirkbride studied the formation of corries in the Cairngorms.

A corrie is a basin-shaped feature created by glaciations in the mountains.

Using a technique called cosmogenic 10Be dating, Dr Kirkbride showed that a small glacier in a Cairngorms corrie piled up granite boulders to form moraine ridges within the past few centuries, during the period of cool climate known as the Little Ice Age.

Dr Kirkbride said: “Our laboratory dating indicates that the moraines were formed within the last couple of thousand years, which shows that a Scottish glacier existed more recently than we had previously thought.

“The climate of the last few millennia was at its most severe between 1650 and 1790.

“There are some anecdotal reports from that time of snow covering some of the mountain tops year-round. What we have now is the scientific evidence that there was indeed a glacier.”

Dundee University said scientists had speculated that glaciers may have re-formed in the Highlands around the time of this Little Ice Age but hard evidence has proved to be elusive.

Dr Kirkbride teamed up with Dr Jez Everest at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, and the Cosmogenic Isotope Analysis Facility at the Scottish Universities Environmental Reactor Centre in East Kilbride, to carry out the research.

Dr Everest said: “This is exciting news, as for the first time we have shown that climatic conditions in Scotland allowed glaciation within the last half millennium, at a time when other glaciated areas, such as Scandinavia, Iceland and the Alps saw their glaciers grow to some of their largest sizes since the end of the last Ice Age.

“This has great importance when we start to reconstruct climate change in Scotland and the wider region over the last few centuries.”

 It has actually been known for some years that glaciers reformed in Scotland during the Little Ice Age. In 1982 HH Lamb wrote about this and the famines which resulted from the much colder climate:


Climate, History and The Modern World

This is the world that UNESCO would like us to return to!

4.9 24 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 4, 2022 2:05 am

“This is the world that UNESCO would like us to return to!”

In total, including peasants and serfs working for their masters on their land and property and eating potatoes as the primary food source and liking it!

Rico Suave
Reply to  rah
November 4, 2022 8:22 am

potatoes and bugs. Don’t forget the tasty bugs peasants.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  rah
November 4, 2022 9:27 pm

Potatoes? Bloody luxury!

When I were a lad…

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
November 5, 2022 9:05 am

Tom Halla
November 4, 2022 2:34 am

But Saint Michael Mann did away with the Little Ice Age! All True Believers must reject those fantasies!

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 4, 2022 4:03 pm

Using the word “Saint” as a descriptive to “Michael Mann” is a sin in all religions, I believe.

You may have to whip yourself with thorny branches as penance before seeking absolution.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 4, 2022 10:03 pm

How about Pennsylvania State University Distinguished University Professor?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
November 5, 2022 2:03 pm

Pennsylvania StatE University Distinguished university professor?
Shirley Not!!
I bet he’s kind to some animals ….


Philip Mulholland
November 4, 2022 2:34 am

Dundee University geographer Dr Martin Kirkbride said a glacier may have survived in the Cairngorms as recently as the 18th Century.

Source paper: Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

Location of Coire an Lochain, a north facing coire on the margin of the Ben Macdui plateau.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
November 4, 2022 11:29 am

My friend and USGS colleague Paul Carrara studied glacial landforms and age-dating in Glacier National Park back in the 1970s and 1980s. His conclusions were that almost all the modern glaciers formed and advanced (making fresh moraines) during the Little Ice Age.

Pretty much ice free during the MWP

But that was old-school glaciologist – as practiced before computer models

Reply to  GeologyJim
November 4, 2022 10:04 pm

And by men. No feminine glaciology then.

ron long
November 4, 2022 2:56 am

Good posting, Paul. A moraine is “hard evidence” of a glacier, whether the moraine is lateral or terminal, as there is no other way known to geologists to form a mixed clay, silt, sand, pebbles, boulders formation. Transport and deposition by water always produces size sorting in the formation, called Bouma Cycles (or Pseudo Bouma Cycles if the energy is higher, like on a pediment). If the moraine was age-dated to Little Ice Age time it clearly shows an active glacier more recently than thought. Wait a minute, many people died during the Little Ice Age and, as Paul notes, CAGW Loonies want to go back to that environment?

Reply to  ron long
November 4, 2022 4:09 pm

as Paul notes, CAGW Loonies want to go back to that environment?”

And to fight over picked graveyard nettles.

November 4, 2022 2:59 am

Scotland has become a post-glacial pain in the derriere.

I’m all in favour of Scottish independence, trouble is it will never happen; they’ll always be whinging about something.

Sturgeon to attend Cop27 talks ‘determined’ Scotland will play its part

Which means ignoring local yards and buying turbines from China.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  strativarius
November 4, 2022 3:57 am

Wait until “they” start whinging about getting North Sea Oil revenues back that Thatcher used to beat the Unions by paying for several million (4+) unemployed rather than putting it into a soveriegn wealth fund. Worse still wanting Berwick-On-Tweed, Cumbria and even Doncaster back. Then there’ll be the compensation for deliberately leaving the 51st Highland Division in France in 1941 to prove Britain was making a sacrifice.

Campsie Fellow
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 4:21 am


A little over the top, methinks. And it was 1940, not 1941.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Campsie Fellow
November 4, 2022 6:13 am

Yes correct 1940, my mistake.

I find it’s those whinging whoever today’s target is comments across the Web very irritating. As far as the UK is concerned each of the four nations has contributed and received over the decades.
As far as I’m concerned if any of the four decide they want to leave then fair enough. Without taking Ireland into the equation Britain was once enough for 11 Kings, a couple of Princes and a few Lords

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 7:34 am

Northumberland (Berenicia – an Anglo-Saxon country) did extend up to Edinburgh – can we have it back please?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  bil
November 4, 2022 11:50 am

You’ve got the futility of all this it was ours once. How about we go back to Hadrians wall? That way you get rid of half the Geordies and a chunk of Cumbria!

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 4:36 am

They can use the oil money to pay off their deficit, then.

Then there’s the uplift via the Barnett formula…

UK per capita spending 2021
England: £13,166 (2% below the UK average)

Scotland: £14,842 (11% above the UK average)
Wales: £14,222 (6% above the UK average)
Northern Ireland £15,357 (14% above the UK average).

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  strativarius
November 4, 2022 6:15 am

Just who is whinging, remind me again

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 7:53 am

The unions beat themselves, by pricing their labor out of the market.

ron long
Reply to  strativarius
November 4, 2022 10:07 am

Watch a video of bagpipes playing “Scotland the Brave” and ask yourself what happened? In US Army Officers Candidate School the candidates march around singing Scotland the Brave. Maybe the men wear panties underneath their kilt? I should be sorry for asking that………

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  ron long
November 4, 2022 8:58 pm

G’Day Ron,

“… panties underneath their kilt?”

I suggest the movie: “Carry On, Up The Khyber”. Good clean fun, and will answer your question.

John B
November 4, 2022 3:55 am

The Maunder Minimum. No, it couldn’t be the Sun.

Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 4:04 am

Curling an outdoor winter game was invented in Scotland and played a lot during the LIA, there were large events on lochs across the country most winters. The most famous being the Bonspiel on the Lake of Menteith (Scotland’s only lake). The last one was in 1979.

If we do go back to the LIA then Scotland could hold the Winter Olympics, with outdoor events like Curling and Canal Skating as a bonus. Something else to moan about, along with rejoining the EU, and having a hard border!

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 4:51 am

@Ben Vorlich

I’d rather avoid another LIA if at all possible, Ben. The SNP have been in charge quite some time, now. The Union has probably run its course?

Blair should have opted for a federation, he should have realised devolution is not an event.

alastair gray
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 9:20 am

Almost as ridiculous as Saudi holding winter games

Reply to  alastair gray
November 5, 2022 2:36 pm

Or Qatar the footy World Cup.


Reply to  Ben Vorlich
November 4, 2022 6:22 pm

I spent my young life in Tullibody, Scotland where there was an old abondoned tarmac curling rink in the woods.

Stephen Skinner
November 4, 2022 4:13 am

“There are but two ways of forming an opinion in science. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept from authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important, and the theory merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority”    
Robert A. Heinlein – Aeronautical Engineer and Sci-Fi writer.

David Strom
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
November 4, 2022 7:00 am

Great quote, can you please provide the source? Might be something of Heinlein’s that I have not read yet. TIA.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David Strom
November 4, 2022 7:31 am

According to LibQuotes:

Life-Line (p. 24) – The Past Through Tomorrow (1967)

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
November 4, 2022 11:26 pm

Apples and oranges. The scientific method is for the hands-on practical sciences and the Scholastics main focus was metaphysics and theology.

Still the monks managed to avoid famine in Europe and pave the way for the MWP’s height of civilization by developing 3-field rotation planting vs the previous 2 field used by the Romans, and had actually managed to develop a good method of steel making before it was lost for centuries in King Henry viii’s feeding frenzy on the assets of the monasteries.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 4, 2022 4:56 am

And that is the kind of hardship that is denied by clowns like Mickey Mann.

D. J. Hawkins
November 4, 2022 7:23 am

I have to ask, who’s been doing the illustrations for some of these articles such as this one? They’re brilliant and the artist should get some recognition.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
November 5, 2022 12:08 am

Very likely one of the AI “art” programs, just like many recent WUWT articles .

Menno Van Leeuwen
November 4, 2022 7:55 am

Surely it must have been deniers on their holiday piling up those rocks to resemble moraine ridges

November 4, 2022 8:08 am

Charles wrote: “It has actually been known for some years that glaciers reformed in Scotland during the Little Ice Age. In 1982 HH Lamb wrote about this and the famines which resulted from the much colder climate”. I’m pretty sure he didn’t provide any evidence that glaciers reformed during the LIA.

David Sugden speculated on this in the 1970s, as did Sheila Rapson but the only evidence comes from Martin Kirkbride’s paper, with modelling provided by Harrison et al in 2014 in The Holocene. There is also a paper in 2021 in Geografiska Annaler on LIA glaciers on Ben Nevis.

November 4, 2022 8:10 am

Mann didn’t neglect the LIA as Tom Halla suggests. He just said it was strongly regional and asynchronous globally. Which is true.

Reply to  Stephan
November 4, 2022 9:20 am

That’s not what the hockey stick says.

alastair gray
Reply to  Stephan
November 4, 2022 9:26 am

Sort of parochial like encompassing China, Scotland, Norway, Greenland, Iceland,Canada, The Alps and South America which exhibited simultaneous cooling. Some Parish Eh!

Reply to  Stephan
November 4, 2022 10:01 am

Really? Did Mann take his tree ring samples from all over the earth? If not, then how would he know?

Phil R
Reply to  Stephan
November 4, 2022 10:49 am

Mann didn’t neglect the LIA as Tom Halla suggests. He just said it was strongly regional and asynchronous globally. Which is true.

It may be true that Mann said that. It does not follow that it is true because he said that (or because you declared it to be true).

Reply to  Phil R
November 4, 2022 11:01 am

No. It is true. The LIA maximum glacier advance differs by several hundreds of years even withing similar regions. That’s why I said it’s asynchronous, and why climate scientists often refer to it as the ‘local LIA’.

November 4, 2022 9:17 am

The Earth is now in relative good weather and the glacier research shows it’s better now.

I just purchased an efficient gas furnace and due to the jockeyed increase in utility cost I have no desire to run it 24/7. My old furnace was 44 years old and an example of manufacturers dropping support because of a lack of demand.

I am grateful that age made my furnace obsolete rather than government.

To be clear, my experience in Scotland was a good one although the weather was a bit chilly.

alastair gray
Reply to  Olen
November 4, 2022 9:28 am

I grew up there too and remember the fifties in Aberdeen Log and sometimes coal fires and the odd one bar electric heater. Waking up to frost on the inside of the windows and the hoarse wheezing of the oldies.

michael hart
November 4, 2022 10:00 am

As a former climber/hill walker in the UK I thought this was already well established by historical accounts.

I guess this is the sort of evidence that climate scientists just immediately like to denigrate as being “anecdote, not evidence”. Like as if I manually read a thermometer, that number would be “anecdote” too.

Reply to  michael hart
November 4, 2022 11:02 am

It has been known for a long time that it was cold during the LIA, but not that glaciers existed. That’s only really been established since 2014.

michael hart
Reply to  Stephan
November 4, 2022 4:58 pm

That may depend on a convoluted technical definition of glacier. Permanent snow in the Cairngorms, on Ben Nevis, or even the gullies on Great End in the Lake District was still a thing in my youth (which is not as long ago as the little ice age).

Reply to  michael hart
November 5, 2022 2:38 am

It’s not a convoluted definition. Permanent snow and glaciers are two different things.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Stephan
November 5, 2022 9:33 pm

Permanent snow becomes a glacier as it packs down as more is added every year.

Johne Morton
November 4, 2022 11:39 am

The evidence for a Northern Hemisphere-wide LIA (in other words, global) is, well, everywhere. Here in Colorado, geologists have said that our existing glaciers aren’t left over from the Pleistocene, but formed a few hundred years ago during the Period Of Which We Must Not Speak…

Edward Katz
November 4, 2022 5:42 pm

That’s right except UNESCO would “us” but not “themselves” to have to face because as soon as they’d realize that wind and solar can’t provide the level of comfort and convenience they’d be the first ones advocating a return to fossil fuels.

November 4, 2022 6:36 pm

I don’t remember a glacier when I grew up in Scotland.

November 4, 2022 11:13 pm

Just wondering, if the world does warm up by 3-5°C by 2100, will that be enough to make Scotland inhabitable?


Smart Rock
November 5, 2022 8:48 am

I’ve never seen this in any of the history that I’ve read, but I think it’s fair to assume that the failed harvests and famine of the 1690s was one of the factors that drove Scotland to join the UK in 1707. Quite possibly the most important factor.

The other factors being the failure of the Darien Venture – which used up most of Scotland’s free capital – and the need to have the English army keep the unruly highlanders in their place (look up General Wade’s military roads, many of the bridges still in use after 300 years, and don’t forget Forts William, Augustus and George)

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Smart Rock
November 5, 2022 9:30 pm

This is common
It seems most upheavals in history coincide with cooling climate, actual catastrophe, but only a few books tie them together.
Most of the big shifts in human history occurred due to climate shifts. ALWAYS cooling.
A Cultural History of Climate Change is one

Chris Ainsworth
November 7, 2022 11:47 am

I remember reading Hubert H Lambs book ‘the changing climate’ as a teenager way way back shortly after it was published and climate change was a bit of a novelty subject. I was fascinated by the subject and have been ever since. I think Lamb was a very articulate scientist who gave a balanced view of climate change possibilities. Oh for the days of scientific objectivity.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights