Coast to coast weather forecast ain’t particularly good
The coast to coast weather is always pretty hit and miss. This is the UK after all and we are talking about the Lake District as a starting point. The average number of days with rain in the Lake District in May is 16. The rest of the walk isn’t much better. It’s 14 days in both the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors.
Now that we are within two weeks of the off it isn’t unreasonable to start looking at the Coast to Coast weather and the Met Office is the obvious place to go:
UK Outlook for Friday 22 Apr 2016 to Sunday 1 May 2016:
Friday sees rain in the south pushing north for a time, maybe reaching central parts before slowly clearing, though temperatures should be around normal. Further north a cold airflow is expected to become established, bringing showers or longer spells of rain, with snow over higher ground. Wintriness is also possible down to low levels in the far north, along with some gales. The cold conditions are expected to spread to all areas through next weekend and into the start of the following week, bringing periods of sunshine, showers and longer spells of rain, these turning wintry at times. The cold, unsettled conditions are then expected to persist through to the start of May, with rain or showers turning wintry over most parts and widespread overnight frosts.
I can attest to the snow over high ground as it very definitely snowed on me whilst camping in Derbyshire over the weekend. We were lucky with the daytime weather whist walking and had all the right kit anyway.
The next period is the important one:
UK Outlook for Monday 2 May 2016 to Monday 16 May 2016:
May is expected to start cold, with a northerly flow bringing sunshine and showers, with some of these turning occasionally wintry, especially in the north, along with widespread overnight frosts. As we move into the second week of the month, there is a slight signal for more settled conditions, with temperatures possibly moving towards average for the time of year.
Updated at: 1139 on Sun 17 Apr 2016
The first point is that it that our walk is indeed up north – so the “especially in the north” bit for wintry showers is relevant. There is a reason for mild optimism as we enter the second week of our walk with the “slight signal for more settled conditions” as long as it doesn’t mean snow is going to settle on the ground.
The old adage says there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation. This is only true up to a point. Even if you have all the right gear, walking into driving rain isn’t pleasant and is very definitely going to slow you down.
Now I’m not whinging here. OK if there is bad weather yes it might take us a little longer to do the day’s walk but the main issue will be whether we have to make diversions. Walking in the mountains when it is stormy is to be avoided.
Wainwright himself recommends lower alternative routes in such circumstances which would really just mean not getting to see some of the views. Might also mean avoiding some of the climbs which nobody is going to complain about.
This might be a problem on some of the days. For example the Rosthwaite to Patterdale leg is a killer involving 17.5 miles and two big climbs. People often break this into two days walk stopping overnight at Grasmere. This was not Wainwright’s choice but there again as a hardened walker he could probably easily cope!
The problem is that there isn’t a quick way round by road to avoid the mountain weather. Grasmere to Patterdale is 40 minutes in a car.
We will just have to play it by ear.
The only saving grace is that the British weather is notoriously changeable and who knows what it is really going to be like:)
Don’t forget I’m raising cash for Cancer Research UK whilst on this Coast to Coast walk. The JustGiving page is here. The start date of the walk coincides with the anniversary of my mother’s death on May 1st last year. Mam was Chairman of the Marown & District branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association.