Some people leave a trail of broken hearts wherever they go… I leave a trail of broken umbrellas. As a thorough bred valley girl, I embraced the Scottish weather with all of the optimism in the world believing, naively, that an umbrella would safely escort me from location to location. Instead, I found, the wind seems to seek out those of us brazen enough to think an umbrella will protect them, quickly and aggressively correcting that wrong assumption.
In Scotland, and most places within the United Kingdom, you will very infrequently be assailed solely by rain. These pesky, cold, water droplets hailing from the sky will be accompanied by wind that puts the storm in The Tempest to shame. The loveliest part about getting a natural shower in the UK’s great outdoors is that it will happen when you least expect it and it will shift directions at every possible opportunity. The old joke I heard when planning my trip to Scotland is that here there are four seasons in one day. I soon learned that this is far from a joke and more of a warm-hearted warning.
Last year I left my house on the sunniest summer day to go one block to Sainsburry’s to pick up some eggs and milk. The second my front door shut I could tell I’d made a mistake assuming I could get away with wearing a light summer dress. Despite the fact that the sky was emitting a periwinkle warmth, I was immediately aware that I would regret my decision. After quickly jotting over to the shelter of the store, I smoothed my dress and thanked the weather gods that I had made it this far despite my idiotic decision to forgo tights under this dangerously loose garment. As I neared the automatic doors out of the shop I braced myself for the wind awaiting me… The second I stepped outside, everything went topsy turvy and passer-by’s on Nicolson Street got quite the show of wind-vs-Bryn. When I reached my door my dress was practically up to my stomach blowing all over the place and all I could do was laugh as I fumbled about for my keys.
A good alternative to an umbrella is a hearty raincoat and some thick skin. The weather can be atrocious here and at times it can prove utterly frustrating but at the end of the day, it’s part of the fun. Embrace the extremes we will never have in California, this is your once in a life time opportunity to truly appreciate the fact that Scotsmen successfully manage to wear breezy kilts in this unbelievably windy country.