Putting a guide of 20 walks together is diffilcult enough, especially when you live 100 miles from where they are all based. I reckoned that I’d be able to get it done if I spent one weekend a month in the Lake District and did two or three chapters every time I went up. Unfortunately, when you’re planning these trips out it’s impossible to forecast what the weather will be like. Let’s face it, the weather folk themselves find it hard enough to say what it will be doing tomorrow morning, so what chance have I got of predicting whether there will be clear blue skies on August 13th?
I’m not opposed to walking in the rain and thick cloud. Actually, the fog that we’ve had in recent days can be very atmospheric, as long as you don’t go getting lost on the moors and end up calling for the Mountain Rescue Teams. I don’t think they’d be all that welcoming of lots of disorientated hikers simply wanting to enjoy some atmospheric conditions. But fog, rain and snow certainly has its place. Light drizzle in the Lake District can be charming, as can snow in the Peak District. And it’s good to get out in the countryside during all weathers. Unless you’re planning a book.
You see, it’s not the sludgy fields or the waterlogged paths or the soggy socks that put me off making the trip for a planned weekend of walks when the weather is like it has been over the last couple of days. It all comes down to the photographs. Nobody wants to buy a walking book when all the pictures inside were taken visibility was down to five metres. Similarly, it’s not going to fly off the shelf if most of the pictures have rain splashes on the lens. Walkers, buyers, publishers – they all want to see the best the walk can offer. And if the weather is a bit dodgy, the writer may get asked to go back out there and take some snaps in better weather, as happened to me once on the Dog Walker’s Guide to the Peak District. Making a 200 mile round trip and climbing a 3000ft fell you’ve already been up, just to get a photograph with blue skies and a few fluffy little clouds… Well, it’s best to avoid that situation.
So let’s hope for some clear blue skies over the coming months, so that the camera as well as my clothes can stay nice and dry.