The weather for the weekend wasn’t looking too good, I ummed and arred about going out. Looking closer at the weather there was a window, not too long but a few hours before 2pm on Sunday, where the odd passing shower was forecast but the main rain would be at 2pm. Well they got the forecast bang on, literally. The rain did arrive about 1.30pm and it stayed raining until it was dark. The showers were indeed quickly passing, driven by a stiff wind, however the first of them shook me like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I had reached the high point of my walk, nothing too high (160metres) and the lane was about to start dropping down towards Dartmouth. I noticed the clouds behind me looked menacing, I stopped to look at them and gauge which way they were going, it was definitely rain and it was heading my way. As I walked I stopped to get my jacket out from my bag, before the rain started more heavily. As I took my jacket out a few drops had started, then a bit of hail, then BANG CRASH.
The crackle of lightning was directly above me, followed immediately by an ear popping thunder clap, sheet lightning I think, but to be honest I didn’t check. My heart jumped out of my throat and started running off down the lane, my eyes looked left and I saw a water tower, with those metal poles sticking up all over it. I took off, carrying my coat and camera as the hail got heavier and then turned to rain. Another crackle, the air hissed and then another bang. I saw a house, a shell of a house, half built but with a roof, I darted in, put my coat on along with my bag cover and waited for the storm to pass which it did after a couple of minutes. And like that the sun came out. I now know my fight or flight response and it is definitely flight!! I walked further down the lane and could hear alarms going off in Dartmouth, I checked my pockets at the next junction and realised I’d dropped my GPS somewhere. Back up the lane I went, and met two ladies walking with their children, their boy had found my GPS and hung it on a gatepost. They looked as shocked at the brief storm as I was. I thanked them and climbed back up to retrieve it. Too be honest I was still a little shaken, walking through Dartmouth, alarms were going off on at least 4 or 5 houses that I passed (probably second homes so no one would be in). All around the coastal path my eyes kept looking at the clouds, another brief rain shower passed, but to be honest I didn’t want to push on. I reached the car park and sat in the car and ate my lunch, binning the idea of the loop to Stoke Fleming that I was going to do. I’ve been out with thunder in the distance before, but nothing like that. Stupid weather
Start – Little Dartmouth National Trust Car Park
Route – Swannaton – Dartmouth – South West Coastal Path – Warfleet – Dartmouth Castle – Blackstone Point – Combe Point – Little Dartmouth
Distance – 5 miles Start time – 10am Time taken – 2hrs 30mins Highest Point – By the Water Tower 160metres
Weather – Sunshine, hail, heavy cloud, wind, rain, blue skies, mud, lightning and thunder