High summer! The longest day may have passed, but whilst Wimbledon comes and goes, summer in the countryside is only just getting into full swing. July is statistically the warmest month of the year. With the last remaining snow patches banished to the highest mountain corries, there aren’t many better times of year to be packing the backpack and walking out into the hills.
Away from the mountain-tops, relative warmth is almost assured – at times reaching the 90s in lowland Britain. We head to the great outdoors with high hopes of drenching sun rather than soaking rain.
Little can throw the summer fete into pandemonium more effectively than a sudden cloudburst
I’d pack the waterproofs too, though. Indeed, whilst there are far more fine days in summer than in winter, it may seem a contradiction to learn that July is, on average, wetter than February. Rainfall at this time of year often comes in short, sharp bursts. Watch for a southerly wind and a sweltering haze. A kilometre above us, tufts of cloud appear – innocuous-looking, but a sign to forecasters of atmospheric instability. Within minutes the sky is transformed.
Swallows swoop against a darkening, hushed backdrop. The calm before the storm.
Little can throw the summer fete into pandemonium more effectively than a sudden cloudburst. On the village green, players and umpires scurry to the pavilion. Sodden ramblers seek refuge at the inn. A British summer wouldn’t be complete without such fun and games.
The torrent subsides and the setting sun emerges from behind the retreating cloud. Nature has let off steam, and we can resume our outdoor pleasures with a freshness in the air.
Just smell that wet grass… marvellous!