If it’s not raining, it’s not training! (part 2)

As someone who was born and raised in the Scotland, and lived most of my life in the UK, I’m no stranger to inclement weather.  In my 29 years years in the military, the weather was no excuse to do nothing, whether it was training or the real thing. They gave us wet weather clothing after all!  There is a saying in the UK army and it goes like this “If it’s not raining, it’s not training”.  In classic British pragmatism, it decodes to “raining is normal so get on with it”.  In fact, one of my oldest army friends cannot wait for the torrential rain, he much prefers it to the sun!  Read his blog here.  We’ve been caught out over the years, for example back in 2016, a weekend in Dartmoor in the south-west of England was a bit wet. Well what did we expect in February…. what did we expect in Dartmoor! It did prompt me to write a post “Sometimes you gotta climb that hill” which was intended as a motivational metaphor for doing something you didn’t really want to do.

However, as I get older, the thought of going out in inclement weather seems to have subsided. I suspect there’s an element of susceptibility to cold as you age but there could be other factors.  2020, the year of COVID has been interesting because I’ve done more exercise this year than many other previous years and been helped with some remarkable periods of weather, which was fortunate.  However, it’s now November, “winter is coming” and the temperature has dropped as we we’re entered the anticipated second wave and local lockdowns.  I was hoping to repeat many of the nice walks carried out over the period April to August but it’s not going too well so far!  Consequently I’m currently struggling with motivation and willpower.

I was prompted to write this post after cleaning out an old blog from May 2014 and the 21st post I ever wrote.  The blog was entitled “If it’s not raining, it’s not training” and talked about some of the weather Chris and I encountered when training to walk Hadrian’s Wall later that month.  You can never trust the British Weather (even the forecast!).

In the end, we did have 3 wet days out of 6 – but we were prepared. Actually, one of the funniest incidents on our 6 day walk happened on day 3 as it poured with rain. I was to be interviewed by telephone that day and was expecting a call on my mobile from a local radio station.  Having a phone signal was always a gamble but height helps here! As we were approaching the highest point on the route, my phone rang but it wasn’t the radio station, it was the CT scan department in my local hospital asking if I could bring my scan forward and come at short notice later that day as a slot had become available due to a cancellation.  I told them if they could send a helicopter I might be able to make it. After a short explanation, which included the fact my car was 3 days walk from my current wet hilly location, the caller told me she had heard some strange stories for not being able to attend a scan but this was the best excuse ever!  I always like to overachieve! 

But a newspaper article I read today also inspired me to write this post.  “Dreading winter lockdown? Learn to love walking in the rain”.  The author suggested that with the right clothes and attitude, hiking in a downpour can reveal an exhilarating natural world! Check it out, it’s a great read. 

I found a few pictures of not so nice weather we encountered since I started my blog and they’re below.

We didn't want to climb this hill but we did - it was wet and windy but worth it in the end
Didn't really want to go to the top, just wanted to get back to a nice warm hotel
the highest point on Hadrian's Wall - we were pretty wet
Not happy!
We are about to get wet! Training for Hadrian's Wall, it was OK when we first set out

And in February 2021, it was pouring down on one of our local walks, but this sight cheered us up.   See below. 

Thanks for reading.


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