Sunday 13 October 2019. I don’t know many walkers who enjoy walking in the rain. Some, including me, often abandon a walk if it is raining at the outset. Others, again me included, don’t mind if it rains in the middle of a walk. Afterall, there aren’t many winter Sundays when it will be dry all day.
Wet weather presents something of a dilemma for our walks leaders who commit themselves, often months in advance, to leading walks for our group. A forecast of rain a few days ahead of a scheduled walk isn’t really reason enough to call it off in advance and a poor forecast on the morning of the walk is too late to communicate a cancellation to potential walkers. They are left with little option but to go to the start of their walk knowing that they could well be the only one to turn up. That is the lot of a walks leader and we should be appreciative to the few that we have for their efforts on our behalf.
Thankfully, there have been relatively few instances of really bad weather on the day of our walks, but I’ll recall a few for you. A good few years ago I was due to lead a walk from Barrowden. It was a 60-mile round trip for me, but I got there to find only 2 walkers from the Leicester area had bothered to turn out. Had there been someone from the Fenland Group then I might have adopted a different approach, but I certainly wasn’t going to get a soaking to walk with two people whom I hadn’t met before. I asked them if they really wanted to do the walk? They were keen so I gave them a map of the route, a few verbal instructions and let them get on with it. I can’t have upset them too much as they came on a subsequent walk from Bradshaw Country Park with Linda S and me.
Last year, it had been pouring with rain on the morning of a walk that I was leading from Duddington. The roads were almost flooded, and Moira & Betty turned back when the driving became too dangerous. I was stood all alone at the meeting point sheltering under my umbrella. At 10 o’clock no one else had turned up and I was thinking good, I can go home. But then who should show her face? None other than Linda S. Being a scot, she wasn’t going to be put off by a bit of rain and was determined to do the walk. As we both had good wet weather gear, there wasn’t a good enough reason not to walk so I joined her for a soggy outing.
Coming more up to date, in July this year Sue was due to lead a walk at Marsham Heath. It was a long drive, for many, and the weather forecast wasn’t very good. Needless to say, none of the group turned out. Sue and Cavin were joined by a more local ramblers member and they had an enjoyable walk in better than forecast conditions.
The Hillington walk two weeks ago, led by Josephine, was blighted by bad weather. She had driven Michael and Linda W to the start, thinking that no one else would bother. She was correct and the three of them decided against doing the walk, calling in instead for coffee at Worzals on the way home.
Today, I had a fruitless if eventful drive to Alwalton. On the way there a swan waddled out into the road in front of me and sat down. I think that it must have mistaken the wet shiny road for water. I slowed down and drove around it as it wasn’t going to move. I got to Alwalton 15 minutes in advance of the scheduled starting time for the walk. The rain was beating down on my car as I sat there watching the minutes tick by. I had already decided that there was no way that I was going to walk today and, as expected, no one else was mad enough to consider walking on a day like today. I’d had a wasted 36-mile round trip, but it was better than getting a soaking. I had considered taking my caravan up to Grassington tomorrow to do some walks in the Yorkshire Dales, but the weather forecast for the week ahead is poor so I’m staying at home and will be exercising in the gym.