Our wet and windswept islands should be celebrated for their shifting scenery and changeable seasons.
We live in the best country in the world for the outdoors. And we have the best weather for it. No, really: think about it. In the UK nothing is more than a long day’s drive from anywhere else. In America you can spend days driving across a landscape that never changes. In Australia, many, many days. Here you can drive from the Cornish coast to the Highlands, or the moors to the beach, the fens to the Western Isles – and nothing is too far from anything else.
Which brings me on to the second reason the UK is so good: variety. We’ve got it all here. No other country packs so much into so little. Find me another nation with the history and variety the UK has, where you can walk pristine sand dunes in the morning and fell-tops in the afternoon, before being in a pub for sundown, then see the northern lights before bedtime.
And so there’s another thing. We’re a four-season country. And each season has its own stunning sensory quality that comes with it. You can shuffle through leaves, snow, the fragrant wild garlic of spring and the fresh-cut grass of summer – the UK’s got it covered. All you need to worry about is what is covering you.
British weather is the conversation you have when you’re abroad when you’ve nothing to talk about. “The weather though...” someone will say. Someone who clearly doesn’t know the joy of striding out and knowing that whatever falls from the sky today, you’re sorted. Britain’s climate is one of the most challenging in the world – it’s why the explorers we’ve exported are so tough. And it’s why clothing born here copes when other clothing fails.
So you can keep your Alps, lovely as they are. Your red deserts, your balmy islands. We’ll come and visit, and we’ll love it. But for us it’s the kiss of Lakeland rain, the pink blush of mist on a Snowdonia dawn, the austerity of a Cairngorm winter and the sultry, sharp smell of a pinewood forest after a storm. We say, weather is part of the joy. We say, bring it on. We’re ready. Let it rain.
Simon Ingram, Trail editor