Wet, Wet, Wet   13 comments

I think I’ve mentioned before on the blog about a day I spent in the Arans in my University days (1983 I think). It was the worst day I’ve ever spent in the hills. hours of heavy, pitiless rain and winds on a high exposed ridge. We got soaked to the skin and were likely hypothermic by the end. It has lived with me longer than many other days from that era. Since then I’ve had some pretty wet days in the hills but nothing have ever come to close to that one. Until last Saturday.

TJS had an open day and interview at Exeter University and we had plans for an overnight and then a days walking on Dartmoor to make a weekend of it. A bad forecast for Sunday put pay to that but Saturday looked ok. Rain in the morning but brightening up at lunchtime, so I thought I go for a solo walk while he was doing his stuff.

I planned a route from Belstone near Okehampton as it was close to the A30 so I could maximise my walking time. It was pretty grim when I set off but I thought it was worth a go as it was due to clear. Once up on the fells it was horrid. Driving heavy rain and strong winds. I pressed on as it was due to clear.

Along the edges of Belstone and Oke Tors and the rain got heavier. I pressed on as it was due to clear.

You can see the pattern emerging here. It was frankly atrocious and any sensible person would have turned around and gone back. I found a sheltered spot and had a bite to eat. I thought about turning back and then stubborn bloody-mindedness set in. I decided that seeing as I was already wet I may as well try to finish the route as a kind of endurance test. I pressed on as it might clear.

In the sheltered spots it wasn’t too bad and it had a wild and stormy atmosphere. On Steeperton Tor the wind was amazing. I was lucky there was an army shelter I could hide behind for a few minutes. I pressed on even though it seemed unlikely to clear. As I traversed around the Hound Tors it actually stopped raining cleared a bit and there was even some blue sky. I even managed a couple of photos.



Then its started raining again. This time with a real vengeance. It did that to me on that Arans day. A flash of blue sky preceded heavy rain. I pressed on, it was definitely not going to clear. I walked past the Stone Circle on Little Hound Tor and managed another photo.


The climb up to and over Cosdon Beacon was one of the longest I can remember. I managed to extract some perverse enjoyment out of the first half of the day but this stretch really tested my resolve, not that I had much choice. There was water everywhere although my feet were the only part of me that was dry (thank heavens I put gaiters on). I got off the hill as quickly as I could and headed down into the valley of the River Taw. Once off the mountains and in the deep dark woods, yes, you guessed it, the rain stopped, the skies cleared and the sun came out! Sometimes I think the weather has a malevolent, malicious streak


At least the walk by the river was quite pleasant if muddy and I could emerge from my waterproofs



When I reached the car every part of me (other than my feet) was sopping wet, right down to my pants. Luckily we’d planned to go out for some food on the way home so I had a change of clothes. It would have been a very uncomfortable drive home if not. A good leg stretcher at 10 miles, I still have wet stuff drying out around the house


I’m now in the rare position of being fully up to date with blog. I’m off to France for some skiing next week so blog silence for a week or so while enjoy the snow in the Alps


13 responses to “Wet, Wet, Wet

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  1. I was watching the weather all day on that Saturday, like you I had seen the clearing at midday forecast. But on reaching midday it was still pouring and the forecast changed to 2pm then 3pm. I set off for Princetown about 1.45 so got wet for the first third and then it was fine. That wind though was something else


    • Wish I’d checked the forecast again now! A lazy day in the pub by a log fire would have been nice!. Seriously if I’d realised I would have done that walk of yours down by Fingle Bridge and Castle Drogo. It was really windy all day but the wind on Steeperton Tor was unbelievable. No idea why it was so much windier just on that summit. I was running on empty by the time I finished, gruelling stuff but pleased I made it all the way round. Looked like a great walk to revisit on a nice day

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wet it most certainly was! I love your perseverance!


    • Sometimes I just turn back (or just stay at home and watch TV!) but I just tipped over into “I won’t be beaten” mode. I can look back now with a sense of achievement but that last hour on the moors was pretty desperate


  3. Amazed that you kept going, that takes some doing. Glad you got off the hill ok. Enjoy your skiing.


    Brenda-Dawn Linney
    • I’m amazed I kept going! I’m normally the first one to bail out when the weather is grim so I’m m not sure why the kept going this day. Most of my hiking friends have taken the micky 😀


  4. I’ve had loads of trips like that in the bad old days and did not enjoy them at all until about 12 years ago when I decided enough was enough and it was time for a rethink. I’ve honestly not had a wet day on the hills since and no rain at all for the last 8 years walking outdoors unless I fancy a light shower but then it’s a deliberate choice. What surprised me is how easy it is to do for anyone- it’s not hard at all.
    Admittedly that was after I finished the Munros and could pick any hill, west or east, depending on where the sun was shining but it is very easy to achieve for anyone in the UK as its a narrow country so you must secretly still enjoy wet days…..:).


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • I don’t have many wet days as I normally don’t go out. Despite all the moaning I do about the weather there are always enough days of half reasonable weather to get out as often as I need. Cycling helps as a grey dreary day is ok for cycling when it may not be inspiring for a walk. Mind you it’s a bit cold for cycling in the winter, cold feet!


  5. Hi. I’m visiting from ‘Linda’s Lens’. Love your photographs. I’ll be back.



  6. Makes a change from all those amazing blue sky days you usually post! Sounds rotten. Good job you had a change of clothes! Has TJS picked his Uni’s by proximity to hills? Good lad if he has, That’s what I did. 😃


    • Would have been a very unpleasant drive home in my wet gear!
      I tried to encourage Danny to try a think a bit beyond just the course. Southampton is the only one that’s away from the mountains. I get the feeling that if everything goes as planned he’ll end up at Exeter


  7. Pingback: A Day of Two Halves | surfnslide

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