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Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • Sweaty Waterproof Jackets on Warm Wet Muggy Summer Days

    The Great Cumbrian Summer.

    Oh dear. It’s summer in the Lake District and it’s doing that raining thing again. But the Lakes are all full, the fields and trees are looking very green and lush, and there are no hosepipe bans. We never seem to manage to get the balance right do we? Over the winter and into spring we were having a drought (it still managed to rain in Cumbria though) and since summer has strolled into our lives there has been flooding in various parts of the country and we are still selling waterproof hats.

    This year I have not been stamping my feet and feeling as victimised as usual though, as the whole country has been having a wet summer. We are told “we are all in this together”, and knowing that the South East is having a lot of rainfall and they can’t play in their swimming pools does give me a certain amount of pleasure.  Normally everywhere is bathed in sunshine with blue sky days and donkey rides on the beach, while here in Cumbria we are driving with our side lights on at midday trying to see through a steamed up windscreen with children steaming away in the back playing up on the way to the Pencil Museum. I went to France for my holidays in early July and it rained nearly every day. The tent leaked on the first night and I vowed to have all future summer holidays on the equator somewhere in Africa.

    Lower your Expectations.

    Enough moaning though. The reason I have taken finger to keyboard today is to remind you to lower your expectations. I could ask you to do this in relation to all sorts of things. Lake District weather, Team GB in the Olympics, the Government, the new series of Red Dwarf being made, the chance of any bankers being brought to account in an enquiry (this could be a long list so I will stop there). The topic I would urge you to have reasonable expectations about, is the performance of your waterproof jacket in the summer.

    For a waterproof jacket to perform at its best there needs to be difference in vapour pressure between the inside of the jacket (where you are) and the outside. Ironically, waterproof jackets work best when it is dry and cool, when there is the greatest difference between warm moist air inside the jacket and the cool dry air outside. Nature is always looking to maintain equilibrium so will move vapour from the higher vapour pressure area inside the jacket to the lower pressure outside through the breathable fabric of your jacket. Unless it is as warm and damp outside your jacket than it is inside, then there will not be a lot of moisture vapour transmission, or breathing going on. If you should find yourself walking through the rain forest in a breathable waterproof jacket, with a higher water vapour pressure outside your jacket than inside, the moisture vapour will come through the fabric towards the wearer.

    I don't know how Gore Tex get away with their advertising saying "Guaranteed to keep you dry”. That is a lie. Nothing is. It just gives people an unrealistic expectation of how their clothing is going to perform. Then when their expensive new jacket falls short of their expectations they come and shout at us for selling shoddy goods. Cheers Gore Tex!

    You are going to get wet.

    This all means that trying to stay dry and comfortable on a warm and wet day can be a losing battle. Your choice is either to get wet from condensed sweat or to get wet from rain. By looking after your waterproofs with Nikwax so the water beads up on the outside rather than soaking into the fabric you will increase the breathability, but you will still be damp and sweaty inside your jacket. On a warm muggy wet summers day my advice would be not to bother with a waterproof, and just get wet. Wear quick drying trousers or shorts, shirts or T-shirts and don’t even try to do battle with the rain. A hat with a wide brim or peaked cap helps to keep the rain off your face and that is as much of an effort as it is worth making to stay dry. In the summer you get rained on by bigger rain as the pressure is generally lower in the summer which means the raindrops are less squeezed and grow bigger making the wettest rain ever. So why bother?

    Long Trousers = Sad

    Shorts = Happy

    Some people go too far.

  • Summer Activities In & Around Ullswater

    Local Activities Provider Has A Great Summer of Events

    Local activitiy providers Reach Beyond Adventure are doing another summer of great activities based on and around Ullswater. If you fancy having a go at Rock Climbing, Ghyll Scrambling (great fun), Canoeing, Archery, or the one I really want to do, Bushcraft, then get in touch with them. You can book an activity or get more information by calling 017684 83867 or email

    Reach Beyond Adventure Poster Summer 12

    Diary of Events Around Ullswater Summer 12

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