Tuesday, 31 August 2010

I blame the jet stream!

At this time of year the jet stream normally sits well up north between the UK and Iceland, bringing warm, sunny dry weather to our shores. This year however, it has been stuck firmly over the southern part of the country, bringing lots and lots of rain throughout August - and may possibly be responsible for both the extreme heatwave in Russia and the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Naturally enough, we were on holiday in August - and it was wet. VERY wet!
It rained during part or all of every single one of the 12 days that we were down in Devon. We're not talking gentle showers here either, we're talking torrential downpours worthy of November or February ........ the only positive thing about the rain was that it was warm!

However, being the roughty-toughty Northerners that we are, we were prepared and didn't let the rain stop us doing anything - but I'm very glad we weren't camping this year!(we were staying with my lovely sister-in-law, Sal, and her family). The weather caused my Yorkshireness to sneak out one day when the rain began and I yelled "Oye, Andy, chuck us me cag!" Sal's partner, Josh - a southerner, had NO idea what I'd just said!!!
Lavish praise will be heaped upon any non-Yorkshire dweller who can work out what I meant! :D

We went up onto Dartmoor - land of endless skies............!

We did a walk up to the Avon reservoir about 5 miles from where we were staying. The day started off well, although that 3 inch deep stream wasn't supposed to be there according to the map! :)

The thick moss on the dry stone walls should have been a bit of a clue to the general dampness really!

The gentle summer stream trickling down the rocks!

The dam we were heading for - with its overflow in full use.

Our original plan was to walk round the reservoir and back down over the moor via the remains of a pre-historic settlement - but the clouds gathered, the clag came down and the heavens opened so, rather than risk being on Dartmoor without a compass or much visibility, we went back by the route we'd come up, still managing a nice respectable 10 miles.

The rain eventually let up just before we got back to the village, having done about 4 miles in the downpour! Himself's trousers aren't two-tone, it's just that we were walking into horizontal rain! Our walking boots were drenched and although our jumpers were in the backpack they still had to be dried out when we got back.

The rain has done wonders for the colours on the gorse though :)

Having failed to see my pre-historic settlement, we decided to visit the pre-historic stone rows, a menhir (standing stone), cairns and stone circle at Merrivale instead a couple of days later. Couldn't find the stone circle, but the stone rows were quite impressive and I've always had a bit of a fondness for menhirs!

Yep ....another walk, more clag! That stream was a bit of a puzzle as it was higher than the surrounding ground and appeared to follow the contours of the hilltop rather than a more obvious route. It also appeared to be lined with rocks - did pre-historic man divert a stream away from a ceremonial site?

Whilst me and Himself debated why pre-historic man should want to build things in such isolated, bleak places and wondered what they were used for, Last-Born chipped in grumpily with her theory that they were probably bored! It has to be said that she really wasn't impressed by either the ruins or the weather!

Many of the numerous ruins, stone circles, remains of settlements etc that scatter Dartmoor are in a fairly straight line running south west to north east and are on ley lines apparently - but it still doesn't help us understand what pre-historic man was up to.

One of the stone rows and its guardian stone.

The menhir.

Even Dartmoor shouldn't be this wet in August!

This is normally a nice view point!

The sun did come out sometimes, so we did a little bit of this.....

and a bit of this........ Himself on look-out duty from Totnes Castle!

and even a brief bit of sunbathing inside the castle!

and one day we even managed a very nice 6 mile circular walk along the coast and back to the pub in time for a late lunch!

We also visited a few stately homes and gardens ......... but more of that next time :D


Liz said...

Hi Liz,

You'll be thrilled to know it hasn't rained much here the past two weeks, I think I've used my umberella once, maybe twice.
It has, however been cold, far too cold for August. Ridiculous.

And I've no idea what a cag is. I assume a coat or waterproof. Oooh, a Cagoule perhaps???

Pondside said...

I hate to be cold and wet, so I'd only be able to take those walks with the vision of a hot bath and hot meal always in front of me! You're made of good stuff!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Well, rain or not, you certainly gave it your all. Good for you.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

You did have some sunshine! Good thing is you didn't get lost in the rain as some people from my last post got lost in a snowstorm! And the pictures are good - everything is certainly green!

Thomas said...

I feel a little guilty that we've had such a beautiful summer this year while others around the world have not. Usually, we are the ones thumping and cursing about. hahaha.

Looks like fun outing though!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz - well at least it was warm in Devon!!!
You're right about what a cag is ...but given that you live in Sheffield, that's a bit of a sneaky cheat that one :P

Hi Pondside - oh we're made of tough stuff up north! Actually though, on the walk back from the dam I was really looking forward to a long soak in a hot bath:)

Hi Jen - it takes more than a few downpours to stop us ....would have preferred more sun though, then I could have gone sea swimming and body surfing! :D

Hi Tatyana - fortunately we've done enough walking in high, remote places to know when not to continue - and Dartmoor is notorious for ill-prepared walkers getting lost because they don't realise just how dangerous it is up there!
Ha ha - England is a green and pleasant land because it rains!! :D

Hi Thomas - don't feel guilty, enjoy your sun!It may well be back to normal next year and you'll get the bad weather again!
I know that Russia, China and Pakistan have all had weather catastrophes this year, but it was New Orleans 5 years ago.
The Pakistan floods did affect me though because we spent several months there, mostly around the route of the Indus and I found it hard to reconcile the memories of a place I had loved with the devestation I saw on TV.

Woody Wilbury said...

Verily, the great Grimpen Mire!!

You really have had it wet haven't you. Good to see it didn't dampen your spirits though. But then, Yorkshire; say no more.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Isn't Dartmoor cool? I've actually been there, and Exmoor. I have a very similar photo of me standing next to a stone wearing a similar (orange, not red) coat. :) Ima guess you wanted Josh to hand you an umbrella or a raincoat or wellies or something else to protect from rain, but honestly I have no idea what a cag is!

joey said...

Sorry about the poor weather but looks like you all made the best of it ... (Rain or no rain, I would have loved to be there with you :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Ey up Woody - it was a bit bleak up there for August! Takes more than a bit(!) of rain to get us down but I might take a leaf out of your book and go to Thessalonika or somewhere hot next year!

Hi Monica - I love Dartmoor and Exmoor nearly as much as I love Derbyshire.....all those wild open spaces and pre-historic sites are wonderful. You should come back and we can wander the moors in the rain together!

Hi Joey - I reckon there is nowhere more beautiful in this country than up on our moors, so get on a plane and I'll take you up there - that would be such fun! :)

Woody Wilbury said...

I can recommend some great spots in out-of-the-way Crete! Sunshine guaranteed.

Nutty Gnome said...

Woody - that sounds wonderful! Bring on some sunshine :)

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

The thick moss is amazing so are the skies. The beach looks inviting. Nice tour even if the weather wasn't on your side.
Looks like you still had a good time.

Cameron said...

Glad you had a good time in spite of the weather. Those are fabulous shots of the waterfall, shores and forests.

It's just crazy this year -- will be 99 F here today -- 78 days of 90+ degree temps. I'd welcome your cool, rainy weather!

Kathryn said...

This is marvelous, Liz, as my paternal ancestors came from Devon and I've never been! Thanks for a peek into where they came from, arriving on our shores in about 1630!! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Patsi - That moss was so thick that I wanted to bring some home for my Japanese garden!
Devon has some fantastic beaches and when it's sunny they're wonderful for swimming and surfing...but we didn't go in once this year, not even in wet suits!:(

Hi Cameron - I love Devon, but dry and sunny would have been better!

I think we're moving into global chaos with the world weather - it doesn't seem to be doing what it should anywhere! It worries me.

Hi Kathryn - well fancy that! You'd love Devon and could maybe peek in some old Parish registers to find out more about your ancestors! More peeks of devon coming up....! :)

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

So it really did pee down non stop.

I reckon 'cag' is cagoule, oui or non?

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Rob - yep, it was one of the wettest holidays we've had for a long time! :(

Oui mon brave, cag is indeed cagoule!