By: Blonde One
I’ve just finished with my latest expedition. This one dominated my life on the lead up to it a little more than usual.
As a good expedition leader I began watching the weather a few days before the trip. This time though, I really wish I hadn’t! The first time I looked the lovely Met Office said thunder during the day on Friday and Saturday: typical! I spent the next few hours checking the weather in a very OCD fashion in the hope that it may have changed. I spent some time after that discovery, brushing up on my ‘what to do in a thunder storm on the hills’ skills. You should count the seconds between the lightning flash and the rumble of thunder. As the count gets smaller so the storm is approaching, if the count gets bigger then the storm is moving away. If you do some clever maths stuff and divide the number of seconds by 5 then you will have the distance from you in miles. So if you counted 10 seconds between flash and sound then the storm is 2 miles away. It’s all to do with the speed of light compared to the speed of sound (apparently!). I decided to stick with my original plan but give an extra session to the team about coming off the hills if possible (plan B), avoiding tall things and metal things and as a last resort sit on their rucksacks well away from any tent or walking poles. I lost a bit of sleep over this one but not much. When I checked the weather the next day I was very pleased to see that the thunder had gone from both days but very disappointed to see that it moved to an overnight storm! I went through the whole procedure again and concluded that I would not allow the team to camp. I checked that there was room in the bunkhouse instead and had my plan C all set up and ready. I lost a bit more sleep over this one! The day of the expedition arrived and I had by now saved the Met Office web page as a favourite and almost worn out the ‘refresh’ button. This time I was very relieved to see that the thunder forecast had gone to be replaced with heavy rain, some gusty wind and minus degree temperatures overnight! It’s not often that I’ve been relieved at this type of forecast! I then proceeded to go to plan D due to novice campers and minus temperatures. This involved putting an extra couple of sleeping bags in the car, insisting that the team had at least one extra fleece and giving (another) lesson on the signs and treatment for hypothermia. As I got myself tucked up in my cosy sleeping bag in the bunkhouse I lost a good deal of sleep as I worried about the team who I imagined to be huddled together shivering in a very Oliver Twist kind of way! At the end of the expedition I had to admit to myself that all of this obsessive weather watching was actually a waste of time as the weather was mostly dry with odd spells of sun. There was not too much wind, no thunder and no frosty night!