Scottish weather has me freaked out!

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Jimstar79
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Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Jimstar79 » 4 Aug 2015, 1:44pm

Since February I have been plotting a route throughout Scotland. Ever since I have been checking out the weather forecasts for the west and north west coast and it looks like it is getting battered by some very strong and persistent weather systems. I have always expected that a cycle tour around Scotland would result in a few wet days here and there but this summer looks like a really wet one coupled with very high winds.

I keep putting back the day of departure and am itching to leave - I was hoping to set off from the south Lakes tomorrow but if I do I will be heading into a whole world of trouble by the look of things. Now it looks like I may have to wait until the weekend or even further ahead. My panniers are all packed, my bike has been tweaked and I am ready!

I am just wondering what other people make of this dilemma. This will be my first tour and it is very important to me for many personal and spiritual reasons. I know that the ride and the solitude will be mentally challenging and in many ways I want it to be hard, I just don't think I want to be wet every day, all day! I used to be a cycling courier so I know what riding in wet weather is about - it is grim but doable and I always had my home and a hot shower to go home to! On this tour I will be wild camping nearly every night.

The question is: shall I turn my attention towards a continental tour and head for Germany, France or Spain? Or all three? Or wait and see if the weather changes?

Looking forward to some words of wisdom :)
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
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al_yrpal
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby al_yrpal » 4 Aug 2015, 2:19pm

I spent 14 days touring Brittany in June a few years ago. It hosed it down almost every day and there were 40 to70 kph headwinds most days. Meanwhile Scotland enjoyed sunshine...

Just do it..

Al
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iviehoff
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby iviehoff » 4 Aug 2015, 2:47pm

Jimstar79 wrote:Ever since I have been checking out the weather forecasts for the west and north west coast and it looks like it is getting battered by some very strong and persistent weather systems. I have always expected that a cycle tour around Scotland would result in a few wet days here and there but this summer looks like a really wet one coupled with very high winds.

Probably the summer jet stream has settled itself this year so that Scotland is the bullseye rather than SW Norway, which is the average position. But I notice that the forecast for W Scotland for the next week ahead isn't very windy, although frequent intermittent rain as ever. They had some amazingly nice weather in Norway in July...

It will probably get some respite when the jet stream starts to move south for autumn. That seems to be a pretty reliable effect, but it is hard to say in advance just when it will happen. Or the jet stream may get a kink in it at some point and weather patterns completely change, who can say.

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b1ke
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby b1ke » 4 Aug 2015, 3:07pm

I was in the north east, up by Lindisfarne last week, cycling south along the coast and then inland for a while. The forecast was dreadful, but yet we had next to no rain. The forecasts are clearly not always accurate.

That said, the forecast for Berlin looks pretty good, if you're still considering Germany...

berlin weather.JPG
Last edited by b1ke on 4 Aug 2015, 7:17pm, edited 1 time in total.
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robing
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby robing » 4 Aug 2015, 3:23pm

Look on the bright side. The winds will probably keep the midges down. I'm going to the Hebrides in September, so hoping there's a change in the weather by then. I did Dover to Cape Wrath in July 2013 and had heatwave conditions all the way.

Therealsouthstander
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Therealsouthstander » 4 Aug 2015, 3:51pm

I'm in the NE of Scotland and I can confirm the weather has probably been the worst this year than any other I can remember. Not only have we had double the rain fall, it's been really cold and windy..
Last week on my commute it was 5 Deg C going to work and on the way home was 9 Deg C... Hardly touring weather.. T

This morning I was cycling into a really strong wind that was gusting over 40 mph, really tough going with 1 pannier bag never mind 4,and dangerous. I spotted 2 cycle tourist that just came off the Shetland ferry and they looked shocked at the weather, felt really sorry for them..

If I were you I'd be keeping Scotland for another year and heading South to France...

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Jimstar79
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Jimstar79 » 4 Aug 2015, 5:54pm

b1ke wrote:I was in the north west, up by Lindisfarne last week, cycling south along the coast and then inland for a while. The forecast was dreadful, but yet we had next to no rain. The forecasts are clearly not always accurate.

That said, the forecast for Berlin looks pretty good, if you're still considering Germany...

berlin weather.JPG


You're spot on about that - the weather forecast had it bucketing it down over here today yet it didn't rain at all. It was windy and cloudy but still nice to go walking in.

Thanks - Berlin always has nice summers, I lived there for 8 years!
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells quotes

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Jimstar79
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Jimstar79 » 4 Aug 2015, 5:58pm

Therealsouthstander wrote:I'm in the NE of Scotland and I can confirm the weather has probably been the worst this year than any other I can remember. Not only have we had double the rain fall, it's been really cold and windy..
Last week on my commute it was 5 Deg C going to work and on the way home was 9 Deg C... Hardly touring weather.. T

This morning I was cycling into a really strong wind that was gusting over 40 mph, really tough going with 1 pannier bag never mind 4,and dangerous. I spotted 2 cycle tourist that just came off the Shetland ferry and they looked shocked at the weather, felt really sorry for them..

If I were you I'd be keeping Scotland for another year and heading South to France...


Wowza! Now that's a spanner in the works - 5 Degs! Wasn't exactly planning on taking winter cycling clothes. It does look like the weather is set to change over the course of the next week and I was thinking that I might just set off on Thursday. The thing is, to get to the south of France I'd still have to set off from the north of England by bike! What are the French like about wild campers?
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells quotes

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Jimstar79
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Jimstar79 » 4 Aug 2015, 6:02pm

iviehoff wrote:
Jimstar79 wrote:Ever since I have been checking out the weather forecasts for the west and north west coast and it looks like it is getting battered by some very strong and persistent weather systems. I have always expected that a cycle tour around Scotland would result in a few wet days here and there but this summer looks like a really wet one coupled with very high winds.

Probably the summer jet stream has settled itself this year so that Scotland is the bullseye rather than SW Norway, which is the average position. But I notice that the forecast for W Scotland for the next week ahead isn't very windy, although frequent intermittent rain as ever. They had some amazingly nice weather in Norway in July...

It will probably get some respite when the jet stream starts to move south for autumn. That seems to be a pretty reliable effect, but it is hard to say in advance just when it will happen. Or the jet stream may get a kink in it at some point and weather patterns completely change, who can say.


Interesting post. There has been a lot of low pressure over the Atlantic bringing some dreadful weather towards the UK. This must be set to change soon and we get a good draft of warm air from Africa and the Med - I really hope so. I feel like I have invested a lot of myself into the idea of Scotland and it would be strange/difficult to have to set my sights on going to France and further afield. Hopefully one day I will get to see Norway, too!
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells quotes

rualexander
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby rualexander » 4 Aug 2015, 6:19pm

July and August are rarely very good months to cycle or camp in Scotland (especially the west), the last two summers were exceptions, much better to go in May, June, or September, although this year even they were pretty poor, April was quite good though.
If I were you, I'd wait until September if possible, less midgies then too.

Pedalling Steph
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Pedalling Steph » 4 Aug 2015, 6:52pm

Hi, we were in the Outer Hebrides last week: 30 - 40 mph sw gusts curtailed plans to travel southwards. Travelled north to Lewis when the wind changed to NNE. Cold, wet and windy. Whilst warm enough cycling, stopping at campsites was cold, I hadnt packed enough warm layers - or dry socks!!! Locals all said it was surprisingly cold and wet. However, amazing amazing tour and would not have cancelled it if I had known the forecast. But if this is your first tour I would plan either a different place or different time in Scotland - so that you have positive experiences of your first tour!! :)

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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 4 Aug 2015, 6:54pm

Northern France has a lot to offer and the temperatures there are slightly up on the south of England. Lovely quiet roads a plenty and a great exchange rate and good food. What's not to like?

Like rualexander I would save Scotland for May, June or September when the west coast and Islands tend to be almost midge free and have much more settled weather IME
Wherever you go have a great time!

uppadine
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby uppadine » 4 Aug 2015, 11:30pm

In early June it was ferocious at times, in the Outer Hebrides, but I'd go back in a flash. Stick to your plans!

ambodach
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby ambodach » 5 Aug 2015, 7:55am

Freaks out those of us living here as well. Yesterday was my day off so reckoned on getting out on the bike. Forecast rain and high winds ( 42 mph). Set off regardless and rain hovered around but I did not get wet at all. Wind was another matter and a hard push down Loch na Keal but free wheeled back. Strangely even tho' the wind nearly had me over a couple of times our ferries kept running.

Ron
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Re: Scottish weather has me freaked out!

Postby Ron » 5 Aug 2015, 9:21am

Jimstar79 wrote:The question is: shall I turn my attention towards a continental tour and head for Germany, France or Spain? Or all three? Or wait and see if the weather changes?
Looking forward to some words of wisdom :)

Sounds as if you are suffering from "pre-match nerves", just get on with it, the most difficult part of any tour is getting to the end of your local street/road. :D