From my own very British experience I have discovered 8 ways to not cope with rain on holiday.
- Get very cross
- Fail to bring the right coats and shoes
- Have no backup plans of things to do
- Fail to make the most of the gaps between the rain
- Have nowhere to dry out
- Have nothing else to enjoy about the holiday other than the outdoors
- Plan nothing else to look forward to after the holiday
- Spend too much time being cold
We’ve just had a camping weekend in the Lake District with some extended family. It was a great weekend, mainly for the company. I would like to say that the world-famous Lakeland scenery was a joy, but in all honesty for most of the time we couldn’t see it thanks to the weather. It rained hard but not constantly. The hills were shrouded in clouds. I’ve never really seen these eye-popping views that appear on other people’s photographs.
I say “camping weekend” but we were actually in a wooden camping pod on a Caravan site. This was a spacious wooden room with electric power, light and heat. I hesitate to call it “glamping” because the beds were the absolute worst I have ever had the misfortune of paying to sleep on. They were camp beds from a reputable brand, and I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone thinks they are more comfortable than an airbed. They were rock hard, short and narrow. While I lay awake on the first night I listened to the heavens open and my mood darkened.
As dawn broke I wrote this rant for Facebook, but deleted it as no-one likes grumpy friends:
“Rant alert! (Slept badly). I am honestly considering giving up permanently on coming to the Lake District. Every single time we book to camp here it rains. Heavily. Apparently there’s a beautiful landscape which is now a World Heritage site. Well I can’t remember ever seeing a decent view thanks to the weather in the way. It’s cold, it’s damp, it’s crowded, it’s foggy, it’s expensive and it’s underwhelming. For me this place is pointless.
“I have never had the opportunity to actually enjoy it. Everyone has beautiful photographs and tales of amazing walks but no matter how often I come here I never get that experience. I never get to see the views and the sunlight on dramatic vistas. It’s a complete fairy tale. I don’t mind a bit of rain and disappointing weather normally, I am a very upbeat person about wet weather usually and I hate hot sun in fact. But this is getting silly now. Always the lakes. Always the rain. This place is being a w***er to me.”
Rain and Bad Luck in the Lakes Again
I got past my fury after some breakfast and began to enjoy myself. My point is that I know it would be great if only we could just be able to see it. But we have constant bad luck with the Lake District. We tried the same camping weekend last year and stayed in a tent but it rained hard for precisely half the time. A few years before we booked into a site near Keswick and they actually rang us to cancel as the site flooded. Thirdly, when the children were younger we had three days self-catering near Millom but spent most of one day hiding indoors with the curtains shut. That was thanks to a man with a gun who was rampaging around the area committing mass murder (Derek Bird).*
What Other People Tell Us
It seems to me that we visit the Lake District with the purpose of staying indoors rather a lot. That just is not what I had in mind. I’ve had mainly two sorts of responses from friends. One is “oh yeah, it always rains when I go as well”. The other is more baffling and is “you need to keep going back lots of times until eventually you see it in good weather”. Just the maths of that makes no sense. So much time committed to one small hope.
One last comment I got was “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing” but in the case of a beautiful vista I have to disagree. We had waterproofs, fleeces, somewhere to dry out, cafes for respite, and – after I got over my rant – a positive outlook. But the natural beauty was often obscured by cloud.
The Very Positive Thing
It was absolutely not all bad, wet and cloudy and the best weather was saved for our boat trip on the lake. From there we could see the beauty of some distant hills and little sailing boats dancing in the breeze. I let my youngest daughter have the camera, and I was so pleased she wanted to take photos as normally she is not in to photography.
The girls stayed on two days with Grandparents after we came home and they had a full dry day which they enjoyed thoroughly. The truth is, that despite regular misfortunes with weather, my daughters have absolutely fallen in love with Lake District camping. It’s just us parents who have to organise around the weather who have the stress!
What do you think of my list of 8 ways not to cope with rain, do any look familiar? Please tell me about them in the comments.
*You can read a report about Derek Bird here. We have never forgotten the trauma and loss which the people of West Cumbria suffered in June 2010. They will always have our deepest sympathy.