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Guest blog: Don’t let a little rain put you off your stride

Written by Fiona March 21 2011

Today’s guest blogger is Jess Spate, who lives, climbs and walks in Wales. She has been following my blog and, like me, she’s keen to inspire more people to get out and about in the UK. And like me she’s decided that a bit of rain isn’t going to put her off her outdoor activities. Here’s how she plans to cope with the usual spring showers (and downpours!). I like her style!

Jess writes: The UK is home to craggy mountains, spectacular waterfalls, rolling fells and a beautiful coastline. We’ve got gorgeous places to walk in almost every county and some truly world-class scenery in a few lucky places. But we’ve also got a lot of rain, with a generous side order of mist, haze, sleet, hail and every other kind of inclement weather you can think of.

Even the luckiest hill walker or climber will eventually get rained on. It’s the price we pay for babbling brooks and lush green landscapes but that doesn’t make us any happier when grey skies open up in the middle of an outdoor holiday.

Climbing in the rain is usually out but you can still go walking in almost all weather. Barring gale-force winds and blizzards the hills are still perfectly accessible on a wet day. However, there usually isn’t much to see and few people see the point of slogging up to a summit through rain and mud if they’re not going to a get a good view as a reward.

But there are still ways to enjoy hill walking in the rain. The trick is to pick your route thoughtfully. Avoid ridges and peaks where the view is the main attraction. This will also keep you out of exposed positions and away from serious navigational hazards where low visibility could be dangerous. Instead, pick low-level walks. Find a goal that’s worth seeing in any weather and make for that.

Waterfalls are a good choice. Rainfall increases flow and makes them more spectacular, not less, and as long as you’re careful not to fall into fast flowing water (wet rocks are slippery rocks) and avoid fording streams in flood, riverside walks are relatively safe.

Rainy days are a good time to investigate historic buildings and landmarks, such as castles and industrial remains. These are often not too far from built-up areas so you can reward your wet day tenacity with a pub lunch or a cream tea. As every rambler knows, food tastes better if you walk up an appetite and that goes double in wet weather. There’s nothing like casting off your wet waterproof jacket and overtrousers and settling down in front of an open fire with a pint and a big plate of sausages and mash.

Having the right gear will go a long way towards letting enjoy walking in the rain. Modern high-end waterproofs are breathable, so you won’t feel sweaty inside, and much lighter than their older cousins. Keep your boots waxed and they’ll take care of your feet.

After a couple of days of wet weather walking even the most determined of walkers might start to feel a bit down. One way to beat the blues is to throw in a few different activities. White water rafting and kayaking only get better when it rains and even if you’re a complete beginner, professional instructors and guides are easy to find. If you’re near the coast give surfing a go. It’s great fun for all adventurous people of ages and fitness levels and it doesn’t matter if it rains or not.

As well as walking, climbing and guest blogging Jess Spate also edits Outdoor Equipment Online, a price comparison website for outdoor clothing and climbing equipment. She also works for Appalachian Outdoors

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