Tuesday, 16 January 2007


The rain hasn’t stopped today. Well, if truth be told I am pretty sure it hasn’t stopped. I live in a thatched cottage. If you have never noticed (and I hadn’t until I lived in one) thatched cottages don’t have roof gutters. So all the rain comes pouring down and runs down the thatch and then drips off the roof at the bottom (well mostly it does, apart from the bit above our bedroom where it still, despite my best builder’s efforts, runs down the inside of the listed gable wall)

A thatch roof works like this: The rain drives its way into the top layer of the thatch, but the reeds are angled so that the water is shot back out to the surface slightly lower down the roof. This process can take a while so even after it has stopped raining the rain is still dripping out at the bottom edge of the thatch some while later. This means that you can have a day of showers but it may appear that there has been continual rain from looking out of your window.

So it’s similar in a way to living in a tent. When you wake in the morning to rain drumming on the flysheet you have to be a bit of hard nut for your heart not to sink slightly. It sounds so awful: You will be packing up inside the tent, getting ready for the leap outside to drop the tent, getting as much rain off the thing as possible before bundling it into the rucksack where it won’t soak the rest of your gear.

However when you finally leap outside into the lashing rain, it’s never more than a light drizzle. The flysheet and your skull cinema have amplified the problem out of all proportion.

I was thinking about the tent, so rang Stephenson’s in New Hampshire to find out how the Gin Palace is coming along: it’s being posted tomorrow and so I shall soon be the proud father of a new Warmlite 2C. (As I put the phone down I had a nice email from them saying exactly that. Spooky!) As soon as it arrives I will erect the baby and let you know all about it.

The planning has come along a little further; I have now planned past Slioch and An Teallach to Inverlael. It looks glorious countryside from the map.


  1. It certainly feels deserted. In good weather it's ok, on a day full of rain and wind it's a long slog. Any Munros on your list in this area ?


  2. Hi Theo

    Ooh - I have zillons of FWA's (Fine weather alternatives) in Scotland! Later on in the walk (June) they are to get me on top of the hills to get away from the dreaded midge. I have my eye on a particulalry fine walk along Beinn Uidhe and Glas Bheine enroute to Kylesku as I type this! Should get some splendid views along there.

    I am quite happy walking until 10pm if its fine weather and that means some gorgeous ridge walks are possible, finishing camping high on a ridge. Just perfect.


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