‘There’s no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable clothing’*

I’ve always been a fair weather walker.  I never see the point of trudging through mud as dripping waist-high grasses lash at my already sodden trousers.  In heavy rain, my waterproof anorak proves powerless to stop rivulets of rainwater trickling down my neck.  And since windscreen wipers for glasses have not yet been invented, I have no view of the path ahead, much less the landscape.  Really, why bother?

Then last week, watching ‘Springwatch’, I saw the wonderfully evocative nature writer Melissa Harrison, encased head-to-toe in  a black, heavy-duty oilskin.  She was tramping across a rain-drenched landscape as she explained the peculiar pleasures of a wet walk, on camera.

So when Saturday arrived with murky skies, I stuffed my best all weather gear into my rucksack, and set forth with my friends on our planned walk.  And the rains came.  We strode through woodland, protected by all those newly-leafed trees canopied overhead.  We relished the fresh sweet earthy smell of the rain as it reached our leaf-mould path.  We remarked on the leaves, glistening with raindrops.  Even the birds seemed happy and continued to trill and chatter above us.

We hit meadowland.  How subtle the tones of green and grey in the misty landscape!  How muted the colours!  Let’s watch the rain as it soothingly patterns the surface of that pond, a thousand concentric circles at a time!  Yes, walking in the rain, we agreed, brought pleasures well worth seeking out.

The rain continued.  Our weather proof gear kept the rain out, but perspiration in. Our legs got soggy from walking down narrow paths marshalled by soaking nettles and grasses.  Someone’s boots began to leak.  Someone else commented we  still had six or seven miles to go. Yet another of us was hungry, but didn’t fancy a squishy sandwich.  The plastic-encased map revealed that in a mile or two, we could make our escape to the nearest bus route. Let’s do it!  Heads down, we traipsed on, only wanting to get it over with now.  Every now and then, one of us would get in touch with our inner four year old – ‘Are we nearly there yet?’

Finally, we were.  We dripped onto the bus, at which point it (briefly) stopped raining.

The cows thought we were barmy. By then, so did we.

 

*Alfred Wainwright MBE was a British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator and something of a National Treasure to keen walkers.

41 thoughts on “‘There’s no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable clothing’*”

  1. Ten out of ten for starting out and getting some lovely, soft and enchanting photos. Appropriate clothing is one thing, but waterproof camera equipment etc etc all gets rather pricey – wet people and clothes dry out, but ‘unsuitable’ techie stuff, oh dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret, I was happy to read this (sorry!!) because I’ve been thinking about my vegetables and flowers whilst I’m so far away, and thinking they could do with some rain! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How nice to meet a fellow walker. Like you, I d9nr like wet weather of any sort, and thoroughly dislike walking in the wet. It’s a bit like sailing. I refuse to go sailing if there is even a hint that I might need to wear more than a tee shirt and shorts. And I only sail in bare feet! So it’s a good job we are on the boat in Greece at the moment….

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  4. I love those photographs! You’ve captured the best bits of getting wet so perfectly!

    I saw that piece on Springwatch too and evocative is certainly the word. I love her writing and really must get around to reading Rain. Have you read it, Margaret?

    As for actually walking in the wet stuff…. Yes, I have done it and I do – honestly – enjoy it. We are known for our soft gentle rain down here so that helps. And there is an entirely different perspective as the rain falls. The difference between my experience and yours though, is firstly that I walk on country roads – no trudging through mud necessary, and secondly – a couple of miles is adequate to feed my watery soul. Hats off to you and your fellows for tackling an impressively long trail. (On second thoughts, maybe you wouldn’t have wanted to take your hats off at the time…)

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    1. I haven’t read ‘Rain’ yet, but it’s definitely on the list. I think you might like her foray into fiction ‘At Hawthorn time’. A good story, well told, with added nature writing. Yes, maybe you’re right. a couple of miles is the way forward. We DID enjoy the first part of our walk.

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      1. I think short and sweet (and damp) is the way forward!

        Yes, I’ve read ‘At Hawthorn Time’ and enjoyed it. I loved her earlier book ‘Clay’, even more. She has a new novel coming out in August called ‘All Along the Barley’ which sounds wonderful. Three very different books!

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      1. Ha ha, yes, you’re right Kerry. We do have the softest rain… sometimes. And at other times…. 😣 Those are the times that I DON’T fancy a walk in the rain!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, yes, lovely British rain. On another walk to Lamorna Cove we had that experience of being wet to the waist from walking through tall grass. It wasn’t actually raining at the time, but it might as well have been!

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  5. I’ve walked in the rain and I’m with you, 100%. It might be okay for a short time but it gets old really, really fast! I’m glad you din’t ruin your camera–the shots are very evocative!

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  6. I love your title – actually I am one of those people who love a good rain. Mind you maybe not outside but then when dressed appropriately we can indeed enjoy all that creation has to offer! :). Beautiful pictures and inspiring attitude. 😀

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  7. Only YOU would make a post of a wet soggy walk on a rainy day…. I felt great reading that in our nice dry lovely house! And a huge mug of rooibos next to me.
    May I say: You’re admirable but you’d have to go without me! I’d make the tea though 🙂

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      1. Not bitter but quite foggy in the Slowenian Alps at 2,100 m late in the afternoon – but we were lucky and found sometimes an old military path from WW I which rescued us in this precarious situation, in the end leading us down to a warm and safe place.

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  8. Gorgeous photos but I have never found suitable clothing. I don’t like the chilly sweatiness, sorry perspiration, that sets in against the skin while walking in waterproofs. I suppose I could try gaiters to prevent the soggy-trouser-legs syndrome? And what to do about the kind of mud that sticks to one’s boots so one grows at least an inch in height? I spend so much time watching the ground to avoid slipping that I seldom manage to look up. But despite all that it is beautiful and the scent of the rain and general dampness can be magical. Great that you persevered and took such lovely photos too.

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    1. Thank you. Well, I do recommend gaiters. They do a lot to keep you dry (and warm) but take care to buy ones that are easily put on – and taken off. And growing an inch in muddy conditions is a total pain. Perhaps Sandra, above, has the best advice. She walks on roads, and presumably tracks. Perhaps this is the way forward?

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      1. Perhaps I’ll try the gaiters. We are walking a lot in indigenous mistbelt forest areas and in summer the mud and wet is for the most part unavoidable even when it is not actually raining. (But as much of South Africa continues to suffer from extreme drought, mud and wet are to be treasured.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This was such fun to read, Margaret! Like Sandra I enjoy a (short) walk along lanes in the rain but like you and ‘naturebackin’ I dislike claggy boots, clammy skin and nothing to look at except raindrops. Everything of any interest disappears in the rain – views, insects, sun and shadow. It all gets boring very quickly! Beautiful photos taken in challenging circumstances.

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