Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
Us Brits have a national obsession with the weather, it forms the basis of the majority of our casual conversation. Out walking last weekend and passed a couple with their dogs – “good morning” “lovely day for a walk” “rain is forecast though” – this exchange lasted the 10 seconds it took for us to pass each other.
But when we are out walking, the weather is a vital part of the information that we need. It can dictate where we go, how long we are out for and more importantly, whether we need to change our plans or cut short the walk.
Alfred Wainwright once quoted in his ‘A Coast to Coast Walk’ guidebook:
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
and whilst this may ring true, it should not be taken to mean that we will remain out regardless of what the weather throws at us.
In the context of this blog, when I talk about the weather, I am not talking about the weather that would make you decide whether you needed a coat or an umbrella. No, I am referring to the weather that is likely to impact when we are out in the hill and other remote locations. It is in this situation that we need to have access to specialist weather forecasting during the planning and execution stages of the walk.
Fortunately, there are several excellent sources of weather forecasting specifically for this purpose. I have used some of them and have found them to be very accurate. The reason for this is that they are very locationally specific and the people that create them are specialists in their field.
The Met Office – is the national meteorological service for the UK. Providing critical weather services and world-leading climate science, helping you make better decisions to stay safe and thrive. They have a specialist Mountain weather service covering all the major high ground areas of the UK.
Mountain Weather Information Service – Are a dedicated team of weather forecasters with experience in mountaineering and professional meteorology. They produce the 9 forecasts covering the high grounds of Scotland, England and Wales, 365 days a year.
Mountain Forecast – Provide dedicated mountain weather forecasts for more than 11300 (and growing) major summits for walkers, climbers and mountaineers, provided for up to 5 different elevations. This site covers the whole of the country, not just the highest regions.
Scottish Avalanche Information Service – publish daily reports of observed and forecast, avalanche, snow, and mountain conditions at the 6 most popular areas of Scotland during the season. This site is a must if you are venturing out onto the Scottish Mountains in the winter.
Lake District Weather Line – Each winter, usually from December to March, our Fell top assessors walk up Helvellyn to check conditions, take photos and supply a report to add to the Met Office weather forecast that appears 365 days a year.
Most of these sites are available to access via Twitter and Facebook and are well worth downloading so that you have the information on your smart phones at all times. Always check the weather before and during any trip and finally – in the words of Crowded House
Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you