By: Blonde One
I’ve been on Dartmoor in all types of weather and very often it has started out doing one thing, only to change quite quickly to something else. A sunny start at the car park can fill you with optimism for a glorious day ahead, but don’t be fooled into leaving your waterproof coat and trousers in the boot. More often that not, you will return to the car at the end of the day in either mist or rain!
I always use the Met Office website to check the Dartmoor weather. You can select different location types but for a good picture of what Dartmoor’s hills will be like select ‘Mountain Summits’.
If I’m leading a group of students I will begin checking the weather several days before the trip, and keep checking every day to monitor the patterns. It’s incredible how the forecast can change over a period of a few days. If I’m going up on my own or with Blonde Two I will check the day before. The Met Office allows you to check the weather in each of the UK’s National Parks.
It’s important to remember to check what precipitation there will be, what the visibility will be like, what the ‘feel like’ temperature is and what the wind speed is. Even though you might feel an ok temperature at the bottom of a hill, remember that for every 100 meters that you climb the temperature will drop by 1˚. Factor that in, along with the increased wind speed at the top of a hill and you could soon be having an uncomfortable time.
If you prefer more of an overview of the weather for specific mountain regions (despite our lack of actual mountains this site works for Dartmoor) then we Blondes recommend Mountain Forecast. This is a great site that will find useful weather information for places near to your location and uses real-time information from users to great effect. We particularly like Mountain Forecast’s United Kingdom Mountain Weather map which allows the weather geek in you some fun as you scroll across several days and watch the isobars move. Another great feature of this site is that it gives you the freezing level so you know how high you have to climb if you want to find some of the white stuff.
My favourite Dartmoor weather is wind and rain. I love the power that Dartmoor has during this weather and how it makes me feel small and yet a bit powerful too. Don’t get me wrong I love Dartmoor in the sun, hail, snow too, but the wind and rain is my favourite weather.
Dartmoor is an amazing place in all weathers and is there to be enjoyed by everyone. Please make sure you do it safely. Check the weather and make sure you have the right kit.