Unusual Lake District Meteorological Hazard

Part of a collection of travelogues by Trevor Hopkins.

Perhaps I should say at once that the "Meteorological Hazard" was sunburn. If you have even been to the Lakes, then you will know that this is an absolutely unheard-of effect for a May Bank Holiday weekend in the English Lake District.

Some years ago, I went camping for a few days in the Lakes. I took Sebastian (then 9 years old) and another boy (Rory). (This was a quid pro quo, since Rory's parents took Sebastian to their place in Spain for a couple of weeks during the last school holiday.) Tracey, who has perhaps more sense in these matters, declined the opportunity for a weekend on a windswept campsite, and instead took herself off to Hoar Cross Hall, a Health Spa and Hotel.

English Lake District Now, I have been to the Lake District many times before. It is usually extremely predictable that it will be wet and windy - the prevaling winds are straight off the North Atlantic, only slightly moderated by Ireland - so I packed plenty of warm and waterproof clothes. Mistake - big mistake - huge! I should have brought more shorts for sunbathing. It is quite definitely true that, when the weather is warm and dry, the views and scenery in the Lakes are utterly fantastic.

The boys had a great time - the fun of sleeping in a tent, plus loads of other kids to play with on the campsite. Then there were the added attractions - the beach (and ice cream), the swimming pool, the steam train ride (and more ice cream), the aquarium, the climbing frame (yet more ice cream!). I also bought a cheap kite, which was fun, since it was windy enough to keep the kite flying for hours with the string just held down by a tent peg!

So, on this occasion, I came back suntanned - at least in parts - and with certain muscles aching slightly. I am not exactly sure what unusual activity caused the aches - maybe it was sitting cross-legged more than I usually do, or perhaps I can blame the football, ball games, cricket, etc. A good time was had by all.