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Tar barrels

Tar-barrels.JPG
Tar barrels

Sat 5 Nov 2016

Tar barrels is a tradition that takes place around Bonfire night in Ottery St. Mary.

In the 12 months leading up to the event, barrels are lined and soaked with coal tar. On the night of tar barrels, the barrels are lit and carried through the streets of Ottery St. Mary while thousands cheer on the barrel-rollers.

The origins of the tar barrels are unknown however stories lead us to believe it began post the gunpowder plot of 1605 as a way of either fumigating cottages or as a warning of the Spanish armada.

Lighting barrels is a tradition that takes place in various locations in the South West however Ottery St. Mary is recognised worldwide for carrying the tar barrels on their backs.

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    Light shower day
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Friday (24 February 2017)
07 00 08 00 09 00 10 00 11 00 12 00 13 00 14 00 15 00 16 00 17 00 18 00 19 00 20 00 21 00 22 00 23 00
Clear night Sunny day Sunny day Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
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1  ° 2  ° 4  ° 6  ° 8  ° 8  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 8  ° 8  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  °
Warnings
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0  ° 1  ° 3  ° 4  ° 5  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  °
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<5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10% 10%
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WNW 2 16 WNW 4 17 NW 3 12 WNW 6 12 NW 10 18 NW 10 20 NW 10 19 NW 9 19 NW 9 17 WNW 7 13 W 4 9 SW 4 7 SSW 4 10 SSW 6 13 SSW 7 15 SSW 8 17 SSW 8 18
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
G VG VG VG E E E E E E E VG VG VG VG VG VG
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89% 88% 80% 74% 63% 58% 58% 57% 58% 64% 71% 80% 82% 81% 82% 83% 84%
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0 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sunrise: 07:09 Sunset: 17:45 Moon phase: Waning crescent Air pollution: 3
Saturday (25 February 2017)
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Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Cloudy Overcast Overcast Light rain Light rain Overcast Light rain Light rain Light rain Light rain Light rain Cloudy
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8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 8  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 10  ° 10  ° 10  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 9  ° 10  ° 10  ° 10  ° 9  °
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5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 7  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 7  ° 7  ° 7  ° 6  °
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10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 20% 50% 50% 20% 50% 50% 60% 50% 50% 10%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
SSW 9 20 SSW 10 22 SSW 11 23 SSW 11 23 SW 11 24 SW 13 26 SW 13 26 SW 14 28 SW 12 26 SW 13 27 SW 14 30 SW 17 35 SW 18 36 SW 17 34 SW 18 36 SSW 17 34 SW 16 32 SW 16 33 SW 15 31 SW 15 30 SW 14 28 SW 13 27 WSW 11 24 W 12 23
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
VG E E E E VG E E VG VG VG VG VG VG VG VG VG VG G G G VG G VG
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84% 84% 83% 82% 81% 80% 80% 80% 81% 80% 80% 79% 78% 82% 83% 85% 89% 92% 93% 95% 95% 93% 93% 91%
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0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sunrise: 07:07 Sunset: 17:47 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 3
Sunday (26 February 2017)
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Cloudy Partly cloudy night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light rain Heavy rain
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9  ° 7  ° 7  ° 9  ° 10  ° 10  ° 10  ° 9  °
Warnings
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6  ° 5  ° 5  ° 6  ° 7  ° 7  ° 6  ° 6  °
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10% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10% 50% 90%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
W 10 21 WSW 8 16 SW 9 18 SW 11 23 SW 17 35 SW 19 39 SSW 19 38 WSW 14 28
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
VG VG VG VG VG VG G M
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90% 88% 89% 86% 81% 82% 85% 90%
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0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
Sunrise: 07:05 Sunset: 17:49 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 4
Monday (27 February 2017)
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Heavy rain Cloudy Partly cloudy night Cloudy Light shower day Light shower day Light rain Cloudy
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7  ° 6  ° 6  ° 6  ° 7  ° 6  ° 4  ° 4  °
Warnings
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4  ° 3  ° 2  ° 2  ° 3  ° 2  ° 0  ° 0  °
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80% 10% 10% 10% 50% 40% 50% 10%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
WSW 10 21 SSW 11 21 SW 11 22 SW 13 28 SSW 14 29 WSW 16 31 WSW 13 25 SW 13 24
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
G VG VG VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity arrow down
89% 90% 85% 84% 76% 71% 82% 82%
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0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0
Sunrise: 07:03 Sunset: 17:50 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 4
Tuesday (28 February 2017)
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Cloudy Light shower night Partly cloudy night Sunny intervals Light shower day Light shower day Partly cloudy night Clear night
Temperature (°C) arrow down
4  ° 4  ° 3  ° 5  ° 7  ° 8  ° 7  ° 6  °
Warnings
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0  ° 0  ° -1  ° 1  ° 4  ° 4  ° 2  ° 1  °
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10% 30% 10% <5% 40% 30% 10% 10%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
W 10 20 WSW 11 21 WSW 11 18 W 12 23 W 16 32 WNW 20 42 W 17 35 WNW 16 32
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
VG G VG VG VG VG VG VG
Humidity arrow down
85% 86% 87% 82% 72% 65% 74% 77%
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0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0
Sunrise: 07:00 Sunset: 17:52 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 4
Wednesday (1 March 2017)
00 00 03 00 06 00 09 00 12 00 15 00 18 00 21 00
Clear night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light shower day Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
Temperature (°C) arrow down
5  ° 5  ° 5  ° 6  ° 8  ° 8  ° 7  ° 6  °
Warnings
Weather warnings may have been issued
Feels like temperature (°C) arrow down
1  ° 1  ° 1  ° 3  ° 5  ° 5  ° 3  ° 2  °
Precipitation probability arrow down
10% 10% 10% 10% 40% 30% 20% 20%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
WNW 14 25 W 14 23 WSW 12 19 WSW 12 20 WSW 15 27 WSW 17 30 WSW 16 27 WSW 17 28
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
VG VG G G G G G G
Humidity arrow down
79% 82% 87% 85% 77% 76% 80% 83%
UV index arrow down
0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
Sunrise: 06:58 Sunset: 17:54 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
Thursday (2 March 2017)
00 00 03 00 06 00 09 00 12 00 15 00 18 00 21 00
Clear night Clear night Clear night Sunny day Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
Temperature (°C) arrow down
6  ° 5  ° 5  ° 7  ° 9  ° 9  ° 7  ° 7  °
Warnings
Weather warnings may have been issued
Feels like temperature (°C) arrow down
1  ° 1  ° 1  ° 3  ° 5  ° 6  ° 4  ° 3  °
Precipitation probability arrow down
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) arrow down
W 17 29 W 17 28 W 15 24 WSW 14 24 WSW 18 33 W 17 29 WSW 14 23 WSW 13 21
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) arrow down
VG VG G VG G VG VG VG
Humidity arrow down
81% 80% 82% 79% 66% 70% 77% 82%
UV index arrow down
0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0
Sunrise: 06:56 Sunset: 17:56 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
More Detail chevron down

Issued at:

5 November - Check the Ottery St. Mary weather forecast if you are heading to tar barrels this bonfire night.

Tar barrels and the weather

Tar barrels takes place regardless of the weather, however weather conditions make a considerable difference to the number of visitors that come to the town. Tens of thousands of visitors arrive in Ottery St. Mary for the barrels each year and the numbers are steadily increasing.

Becoming a barrel-Roller

Becoming a barrel-roller is a highly sought after position in the town of Ottery. St. Mary. The tradition of becoming a barrel-roller has been passed through many generations of families from the area.

The evening consists of 17 barrels being lit across the town. The barrels in the late afternoon are the boy's barrels which are the smallest. The women's and youth barrels then take place in the early evening, followed by the men's barrels in the evening.

The barrels are lit from pubs and hotels across the town until the midnight barrel, which is the largest barrel and takes place in the town square.