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January 28, 2014

This year is shaping up to be one of the wettest on record and living just a couple of miles from the somerset levels we have a constant reminder of the fact. I can remember winters in various parts of the west country from about 1955 when I was a schoolboy and I remember many times going to school in the snow and cold but I don’t recall so many wet mild winters,. I do remember many cold wet and mild summers which were not fun, plastic macs and plastic see through umbrellas were all the rage and I remember my uncle working in the igloo ice cream shop in Paignton. Standing under the cover serving a queue of holiday makers standing in the rain and enjoying a soft, curly ice cream. If I was lucky I would get a free one as long as I kept out of his way.

I digress, the winters I recall were cold and crisp and only occasionally did we get snow. Torbay  being on the south coast rarely got the easterly winds that bring the snow.I spent several years on the edge of Dartmoor as a young man and there was a different story, just a few hundred feet higher the hills were often covered in snow. As a young soldier I spent a lot of time trudging through snow drifts, not by choice I have to add. We had no winter clothing and had to make do with our normal army boots which were not designed for walking in the snow. This was also the case when it came to TEN TORS I was one of the young men on the very first expedition 1960. Our team of ten completed the two day event in freezing conditions, with cold rain to contend with and as I said earlier just our normal clothing. The last ten miles were the killer, after 50 miles across the soft moorland we had to walk on the main road back to camp. Blisters and bloody feet were normal.

Putting these memories on paper has reminded me how I enjoy being warm so am having a break to light the fire although we have central heating our great luxury is to light a log fire on the cold and most miserable weather days and this is one. Cold heavy showers at present.



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