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Tar barrels

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.

  • Light rain 10 °C

    3 °C

  • Sunny intervals 8 °C

    1 °C

  • Overcast 9 °C

    7 °C

  • Overcast 12 °C

    7 °C

  • Cloudy 10 °C

    5 °C

  • Cloudy 11 °C

    8 °C

  • Overcast 11 °C

    8 °C

Sunday (Sunday 17 December 2017)
Now 05:00 06:00 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
Warnings
Cloudy Partly cloudy night Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Light rain Light rain Overcast Light rain Light rain Light rain Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Cloudy
10% <5% <5% 10% 10% 10% 10% 50% 50% 20% 50% 50% 50% 20% 10% 20% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
3 ° 3 ° 3 ° 4 ° 5 ° 6 ° 7 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 10 ° 10 ° 10 ° 10 ° 10 ° 10 ° 9 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
2 ° 1 ° 1 ° 3 ° 3 ° 4 ° 5 ° 6 ° 6 ° 6 ° 7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
WSW 2 9 ESE 1 7 SSE 2 7 S 3 8 S 4 10 S 5 12 SSW 5 14 SW 6 17 SSW 6 15 SW 7 18 SW 8 20 SW 8 18 WSW 8 20 W 8 20 W 10 22 W 10 22 WNW 10 20 WNW 9 19 NW 9 19 NW 8 18
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G M G G G G VG G G G G VG G G G G VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
96% 95% 97% 95% 95% 94% 93% 89% 92% 91% 91% 92% 94% 95% 98% 97% 97% 96% 95% 93%
UV index Expand
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:10 Sunset: 16:08 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Monday (Monday 18 December 2017)
00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 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
Warnings
Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Mist Cloudy Cloudy Mist Mist Cloudy Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny intervals Sunny day Sunny day Sunny day Clear night Clear night Partly cloudy night Mist Mist Clear night Mist
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 20% 20% 10% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% <5% 20% 20% <5% 10%
Temperature (°C)
8 ° 7 ° 6 ° 5 ° 4 ° 3 ° 3 ° 3 ° 3 ° 3 ° 4 ° 6 ° 7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 5 ° 3 ° 3 ° 2 ° 2 ° 2 ° 2 ° 2 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
6 ° 5 ° 4 ° 3 ° 2 ° 2 ° 2 ° 1 ° 1 ° 2 ° 3 ° 5 ° 6 ° 6 ° 7 ° 6 ° 4 ° 2 ° 1 ° 1 ° 1 ° 1 ° 1 ° 1 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
NW 7 16 NW 6 14 NW 6 13 NNW 6 12 N 5 12 N 4 11 N 4 11 NW 3 8 NW 4 7 NNW 3 6 N 3 6 NNW 3 5 NW 3 5 NNW 2 4 N 2 3 N 2 3 NE 2 4 ENE 2 4 NE 2 4 NE 3 5 NNE 2 6 E 3 7 E 3 7 NNE 2 6
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
VG VG VG VG G P G G P P M G G G G G G M M M P P M P
Humidity Expand
93% 94% 94% 94% 96% 97% 96% 97% 97% 97% 95% 92% 89% 88% 87% 90% 91% 95% 97% 97% 97% 97% 97% 96%
UV index Expand
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:11 Sunset: 16:09 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Tuesday (Tuesday 19 December 2017)
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Warnings
Mist Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
3 ° 3 ° 4 ° 4 ° 9 ° 9 ° 8 ° 8 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
2 ° 1 ° 2 ° 3 ° 7 ° 8 ° 7 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
S 2 8 SSW 3 7 SW 4 8 WSW 4 6 SW 5 9 SW 5 9 SW 5 9 SW 5 8
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
P G G G VG VG G M
Humidity Expand
95% 97% 96% 96% 90% 93% 96% 97%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:11 Sunset: 16:09 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Wednesday (Wednesday 20 December 2017)
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Warnings
Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
8 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 11 ° 11 ° 9 ° 9 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 8 ° 9 ° 9 ° 8 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
SW 5 7 WSW 6 9 WSW 6 9 WSW 6 10 WSW 8 14 W 8 13 WNW 7 11 WNW 7 10
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
M G G G G VG G G
Humidity Expand
97% 97% 97% 96% 92% 92% 94% 95%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:12 Sunset: 16:09 Moon phase: New Air pollution: 2
Thursday (Thursday 21 December 2017)
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Warnings
Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 8 ° 10 ° 10 ° 8 ° 7 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
7 ° 6 ° 6 ° 6 ° 8 ° 8 ° 6 ° 5 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
NW 7 11 NW 7 11 NW 7 11 NW 7 11 NNW 8 13 W 7 12 W 7 11 NNE 7 11
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G G VG VG G G
Humidity Expand
95% 95% 94% 94% 89% 90% 95% 95%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:12 Sunset: 16:10 Moon phase: Waxing crescent Air pollution: 2
Friday (Friday 22 December 2017)
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Warnings
Cloudy Overcast Cloudy Cloudy Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy
10% 10% 10% 10% <5% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 10 ° 10 ° 9 ° 9 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
5 ° 4 ° 5 ° 5 ° 8 ° 8 ° 7 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
WSW 7 11 WNW 7 11 NW 7 11 WNW 7 11 W 8 13 W 8 13 W 8 13 W 8 13
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G G G G G G
Humidity Expand
95% 95% 95% 95% 90% 91% 94% 95%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:13 Sunset: 16:10 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
Saturday (Saturday 23 December 2017)
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Warnings
Overcast Overcast Cloudy Overcast Overcast Overcast Overcast Cloudy
10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Temperature (°C)
9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 9 ° 11 ° 10 ° 10 ° 9 °
Show detail Show detail
Feels like temperature (°C) Expand
6 ° 7 ° 7 ° 7 ° 9 ° 8 ° 8 ° 7 °
Wind direction, speed & gust (mph) Expand
W 8 13 W 8 13 WNW 9 13 W 9 14 W 10 16 W 10 16 WSW 9 15 WSW 11 17
Visibility (E = Excellent, VG = Very Good, G = Good, M = Moderate, P = Poor, VP = Very Poor) Expand
G G G G VG VG VG VG
Humidity Expand
95% 95% 95% 94% 91% 90% 92% 90%
UV index Expand
1 1 1
Sunrise: 08:13 Sunset: 16:11 Moon phase: Waxing crescent
< Ottery St. Mary last 24 hours 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.

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