Experts believe that Scotland’s gloomy climate has seen a deliberate genetic adaptation to help exploit rare sunny days and boost Vitamin D production.

Alastair Moffat, managing director of the ScotlandsDNA project, said the country’s dull weather was responsible for a larger number of flame-haired men and women being born.

Only about 1-2 per cent of the world’s population has red hair but in Scotland the figure is much higher, with about 13 per cent, or 650,000 people, with flaming locks.