SCOTLAND has enjoyed one of its warmest days of the year so far, as the nation bathed in temperatures close to what was being experienced on the Mediterranean.

Weather forecasters say there is more to come over the rest of the Easter weekend with Scotland the place to be for warm spring temperatures in the UK.

The Met Office said at 6pm yesterday that Aboyne in Aberdeenshire was Britain's hotspot with temperatures reaching 17C just 1C cooller than Barcelona in Spain. Meanwhile at Aviemore temperatures reached 16C and in Paisley it was 15C.

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But it was a different story in the north west of Scotland where there was more cloud, even some rain and temperatures of just 9C or 10C.

The highest temperature south of the border was 15C at Exeter.

The sunshine came as experts warned that the dry spring ground conditions have created "tinderbox" conditions in Scotland - with the Easter weekend the peak time for wildfires.

The warning came as the Met Office measure for wildfires exceeded the threshold at which wildfires tend to occur. The Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC), which monitors the moisture content of litter and other ground fuels, reached 82 in Deeside on Friday - wildfires are considered to be a greater risk from a FFMC reading of 80.

The European Forest Fire Information Service (EFFIS) also has high FFMC readings for Scotland, which are due to increase over the next five days throughout the country.

Forestry experts at Marsh, the insurance broking and risk management firm, said landowners should already have fire mitigation measures in place, but added: "It's worth taking extra care this weekend."

Yesterday a large forest fire in the Highland forced local residents indoors. Police advised residents in Milton of Leys, on the outskirts of Inverness, to stay inside to avoid smoke from the blaze in Bogbain Wood, which was reported at around 2.50pm and put out last night.

A Met Office spokesman said Scotland would remain the warmest spot in the UK over the weekend. He said: "For Saturday, Scotland will have a pretty decent day again, and even the north west of Scotland will see less cloud.

"It is possible to get 17C or even 18C tomorrow, with probably the central Highlands, Perthshire and around western Aberdeenshire experiencing the highest temperatures.

"There will be light winds as well, and some sea breezes in coastal areas will mean temperatures there will be somewhat more tempered."

But south of the border the highest temperatures are expected to reach around 14C or 15C as a north easterly wind is expected to bring more cloudy conditions and showers in the London area.

Warmest temperatures are expected in south west Cornwall and southern Wales.

On Sunday, temperatures are expected to keep high in Scotland with 16C expected in the west and 14C in the east.

Meanwhile in England showery rain and fresh winds will see temperatures struggle to around 10C to 11C.