What was the weather like?
Britons are obsessed with the weather and I suppose I’m no different. After the miserable winter of 2013-14, which had resulted in my practice walks frequently more accurately resembling scuba dives, I didn’t have high expectations. So I kept an eye on short term and long term weather forecasts all along my hike – and beforehand I packed as much wet weather gear as I could reasonably carry (see packing list).
When I set off from Lizard, it started to rain hard within 30 minutes of departure. And it rained pretty much all of the next 2 weeks, with occasional slightly drier interludes lasting a few hours. I developed coping strategies – mostly by wearing all my goretex waterproofs and just a thin layer underneath to minimise sweat – and tried to get used to it. But by the time I reached Minehead, the weather really bucked up and I had a much drier interlude, with plenty of sun, which lasted all the way to Cumbria. Once in the Lakes, I had a week of unremitting rain which, it has to be said, isn’t entirely unusual, and the hills still looked lovely. And of the four weeks I spent hiking through Scotland, I only really had a couple of torrentially wet days. Quite amazing.
So although I did get long spells of decent weather, it was never really warm. I only recall actually feeling warm once on my hike – and that was on the short stretch from Glasgow to Milngavie. generally the temperature was between 5 and 15 C and although I never actually encountered any falling snow, it did feel pretty sleety on a couple of occasions.
So I think on balance, the weather was cooler and wetter than I’d expected, but not as bad as my worst fears conjured up during the preceding wet winter. And I felt that the waterproofs and warm weather gear I’d taken worked just about as I’d hoped they would during the hike. Only on one occasion – on the upper stages of the ascent of Scafell Pike, did I fill that i could have done with another warm layer to put on.