By: Blonde One
Knowledge of the weather can help to make your walk much more enjoyable (and safe)
We all know that we’ve had some pretty extreme weather this year. We’ve had more storms, blizzards, floods and yellow, amber and red Met Office warnings than you can shake a stick at (those sticks have been pretty well shaken anyway!). Checking the weather forecast is crucial at any time of year when you are planning to go hill walking but perhaps more so in the winter months when things are a little bit more extreme. Unfortunately we don’t have the benefit of the fabulous services of MWIS on Dartmoor
but there are plenty of places to get some information which is local to the specific area you are visiting. The Met Office is where I usually start to do my weather planning but there are several other sites that have information too.
A recent Blonde bimble up on Dartmoor highlighted the importance of taking very careful note of the weather. We were out on a walk without others this time. We had no DofE groups, Ten Tors teams or navigation trainees with us, amazingly! It was just us, the glorious blue sky and the shockingly icy cold wind. We knew we weren’t going to be out for long as we had cheesy chips and planning to be done at our favourite Dartmoor café: Foxtor. Despite this fact though we still checked the weather, albeit in a less thorough way than if we were with students or other adults. We wrapped up warm as we knew that it was going to be cold and windy. At the top of Great Staple Tor it was blowing a hoolie! The wind made it hard to stand still while posing for photos, and as for our hair … well the less said about that the better! It was only as we got half way down the hill that we felt the warmth of the sun and we realised that the temperature up on the tops was hugely different from the bottom. This realisation reminded us that when you’re remotely supervising groups you can’t always tell from technology what’s happening on the hill. If you’re team are telling you that they’re freezing cold don’t automatically dismiss it because your weather forecast says it should be quite mild out there.