By: Blonde Two

We’ve all been out walking in the rain but it can be easy to forget exactly what driving wet wind can do to waterproof gear, energy levels and moral. Worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a day outside.

Of course there’s rain, and there’s rain. Like the Scandinavians and their snow, we should perhaps consider having a few more words for our wet stuff. After all we have plenty of it.

Grey days in Devon

Down here in Devon we get a lot of all-day-grey rain. It doesn’t do anything exciting, just hangs around making the day look miserable. Until you go out in it that is. A bimble in all-day-grey rain is a bit like wandering around inside a cloud. There’s more light in there than you might expect, and although the experience leaves you damp, well you don’t notice it if you walk fast enough. Here are our five ways to enjoy being outside in the rain.

This Wales is wet

Just once in a while however most walkers experience what I like to call epic rain. More often than not, this happens in Wales (sorry Wales). Of course, most walks in Wales are worth any amount of drenching, which is why we all head back as often as we can. There are reasons the wild Welsh scenery is so green and rugged, and most of those are related in some way to water.

But which rain were you out in?

It’s a puzzle; how do you know exactly which level of rain you’ve experienced? You could count weather forecast raindrops but they usually only go up to two. Does a bit of mud, and a wet hat constitute epic rain? Or do you need to come home with dripping hair to have achieved that meteorological height?

Earlier this month my sister Ali and I visited the Cambrian Mountains. We were walking a section of the Glyndwr’s Way National Trail. We’ve visited together before for a camper van adventure, and thought we’d had epic rain then. It was pretty bad. So bad in fact that three of us ended up squashing into a camper van that is quite cosy with two.

We had been wrong to call that rain epic though! This year’s walk (you’d think we’d learn not to visit in January) was the wet walk to end all wet walks. The only way we could have arrived at our bunkhouse more soaked would have been to take a swim, fully clad, in the beautiful (but quite scarily wild) Glaslyn. Actually to be honest, after ten minutes, a dip in the lake wouldn’t have made a jot of difference to our wetness levels.

A great day out in the Welsh rain

If that doesn’t sound like a great day out to you, please allow me to correct your opinion. As it turns out epic rain can give you epic experiences. In fact my suggestion is that there may in fact be a correlation between rain levels and sense of achievement.

But perhaps only if you have a warm welcome at a cosy bunkhouse to walk towards. 

Which we did of course. In fact the welcome from Sarah and Darren at Hafren Forest Bunkhouse was so warm that within minutes of us dripping onto their doorstep, our gear was hung up to dry, our boots were stuffed with newspaper, and we were sipping hot tea, munching on Welsh cakes, and saying ‘hello’ to Maisy the dog. It was a lot like coming home to mum and dad after a childhood day playing outside.

How do you know when you’ve experienced epic rain?

You’ll probably notice next time you go out on a rainy walk but just in case you want to rate your rain levels against the epic scale, we have a few pointers for you. Even in great outdoor gear, you know when you’re out in epic rain when…

  1. Your knickers are soaked within ten minutes
  2. You’ve crossed a cattle grid that’s at least a foot underwater
  3. All last year’s gentle paths have turned to raging rivers
  4. Your face has lost a layer of skin to the sideways rain blast
  5. Your steep downhill path looks exactly the same as the waterfall below it
  6. You’re tempted to swim along your track
  7. You cheer at faint sky shadows just in case they are the sun
  8. Your bladder is aching because you can’t face exposing your buttocks
  9. You have mud smeared up beyond your knees
  10. The cold water sloshing around your boots tells you whether you’re walking up or downhill

Here’s a little rainy day secret

You would think that the epic rain experience described above would have sunk our sense of humour. But it didn’t. Ali and I were so thrilled to be out, battling the hills and the elements on our own, that we both want to go back again as soon as possible. In fact we continued walking the next day. Not so much rain then, but there were those hailstorms to deal with!

Diolch yn fawr Cymru. Once again you’ve been epic!!


Does it rain in Wales more than it does in England?

Tuesday’s Ten – Things to take camping and walking in Wales