Raman scattering in optical fibres provides a means of measuring continuous temperature distributions over extended distances. However, in many applications it has been found that the background transmission properties of the optical fibre either change after deployment of the fibre or vary over time due to ageing effects. Changes in the fibre transmission can be distinguished from thermal effects by measuring the Rayleigh backscatter, which is relatively insensitive to temperature. The combined use of Raman and Rayleigh data is discussed here in the context of a particularly simple and cost-effective sensor design, where a single, fixed optical filter and a single light source are used for both measurement modes. The Rayleigh backscatter measurement allows the accurate correction of background transmission changes in a probe arrangement that includes several splices between different fibres with different attenuations. In this way, the temperature in a 290 °C test region is accurately recovered from the anti-Stokes Raman signal. However, preliminary measurements of the fibre attenuation as a function of temperature and exposure to an accelerated ageing environment show that these two effects will be difficult to separate in practice. Therefore it remains challenging to perform accurate, unambiguous background corrections in situations where high-temperature ageing occurs.