Today saw the last morning of our Malaysian visitors’ holiday with us. They had been staying for the previous eight nights and, as is the way of Lakeland weather, they had experienced all variations except snow. However, they could see the latter dusting the fell tops as they looked out over Lake Windermere to the Langdale Pikes and Fairfield range from their bedroom windows.
As I served them breakfast today, they asked me whether it was always cloudy in the Lake District – a query which I found most peculiar. I explained that cloudy mornings often give way to bright afternoons and evenings, as they themselves have experienced. However, we do have a microcosm here where the weather is concerned, thus I do not normally pay much attention to weather forecasts. I then told them that I found February to be the best time for bright days and sunshine, with an average rainfall of no more than a week’s worth out of the four weeks that make up this month. At least, this is what I seem to recall.
I was trying hard to remember the number of cloudy starts to the day as I spoke with our guests. However, I am always so tied up with the business of running our B&B in the morning that I do not have the time to observe the weather unless it is very much in my face – such as heavy rain of the cats and dogs kind; noisy hailstones clattering on roof tiles; high winds that whistle and batter window panes; or a thick blanket of snow. But is the Lake District generally cloudy? Frankly, I do not know. This was the first time someone had asked me such a question.
So I thought back hard to the ten years that we have lived in the Lake District. And, yes, I think we have seen our fair share of cloudy skies. Certainly, clouds often precede rain and the general impression of the Lakes is that there is a tremendous amount of precipitation. As for clouds that cover the skies and then dissipate? Well, I do not think we have any more or less than anywhere else in the UK. What we do have though is the phenomenon called an inversion, when a layer of mist floats above the ground or water whilst clear skies predominate above.
Like most children, I used to enjoy make believe and clouds are a great source of fun for this creative activity. I was one of those kids who wanted to see dragons in the clouds, preferably blowing huge puffs of fire. I have to admit that Lakeland clouds do not amuse in the same way. I have yet to see a formation that fully resembles my fire-breathing mythological beast!
Still, cloudy skies can be pretty to look at, particularly in the context of the scenery they overlook. Moreover, the dull days that seem to dog us for periods at a time are part of the Lakeland landscape and add to its atmosphere. And if it rains? Well, let it rain. After all, there will be no lakes nor lush Lakeland greenery without rain!
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