or

Aye, misery.

Scotland’s been in the news a fair bit prior to, during and subsequent to the recent General Election. For many people Scotland conjures up images of mountains, rain, and more rain. I read a comment made by one ‘southern’ voter, obviously terrified of any Frankensteinian conjoining of SNP and Labour,  who remarked that “the SNP should stay in Scotland and sort out their own wet and miserable country”.  And they’re right. We get a lot of rain. My home town of Fort William is one of the wettest places in the UK, and gets on average 2000mm per annum and some spots to the north-west of the town can see at least 4500mm in an average year.

That’s wet. Very very very wet.

And miserable? Oh yes, misery too, lots and lots of misery. A great deal of misery in fact.

 

Aye, might need a jacket today. © John MacPherson
Aye, might need a jacket today. © John MacPherson

 

Wind and hail, Scotland © John MacPherson
Light wind and sleet, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

One year I recall it started raining at the end of July and there wasn’t a single period of 24 hours that it didn’t rain for 104 days. I was able to tell when the summer ended and winter began though, because the rain got a lot colder. You learn these tricks whilst still a small child, going to primary school in shorts, welly-boots and duffle coat. These ‘climate-control’ garments kept some of the worst of the weather from soaking you, but created a red ring around the wearer’s thigh from the dripping wet lower edge of the duffle coat, and lower down at shin height, a matching red ring created by the chafing from the top edge of the welly boot. In really bad weather, endless days of wet, these rings became scar-tissue, flaky and scabby.

So yes, rain, lots of it, and seasonally varying from warm, to cold. After that it gets into sleet, hail and snow. All of which are, in varying degrees, miserable. And cold. Painful even, especially with the hail. Hail is my favourite. It’s like being sandblasted, but with cold, hard sand. It can hurt your eyeballs. That’s if you actually open your eyes, which many people try to avoid at all costs, which has its downsides of course. But I like hail because it bounces off. Rain doesn’t do that. Little tricks you learn when small, that stand you in good stead later in life.

So I thought I’d try to show you just how awful it can be in Scotland when it’s wet. And cold. And sleety.  And miserable. To get the full effect of these images you might want to pour cold water into your underpants and leave the window open whilst you peruse them, so you really feel the wind-chill. (Just make sure an adult is present though).

So here we go: a selection of gloomy, claggy, misty and utterly miserably murky weather.  Or as we say up here with great fondness,  ‘dreich’ (definition)

I hope this gives you a sense of the utter misery we must endure. And I suppose you’ll have to ask yourself “who the hell would want to live in this desperate place?”.

 

 

Heavy(ish) rain, Scotland © John MacPherson
Heavy(ish) rain, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Aye, we even have a Flood Forum so we can talk about all the rain we get. Bridge? aye, that too, its how we cross puddles, Scotland © John MacPherson
Aye, we even have a Flood Forum so we can talk about all the rain we get in our free time in the evening. Bridge, in the evenings? Aye, that too, we discuss how we can build them to cross puddles, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain, Scotland © John MacPherson
Result of a wee shower of rain, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Red deer stag, in rain, Scotland © John MacPherson
Red deer stag, in rain, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Wind and rain sweep across Loch na Keal, and Isle of Inchkenneth, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson
Wind and rain sweep across Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain storm over Ballachulish bridge and the Pap of Glencoe, Lochaber, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain storm sweeps in over Glencoe, Lochaber, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rainstorm at sunset over Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rainstorm at sunset over Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Winter rain storm over Loch Ness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Winter rain storm over Loch Ness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

The Caledonian Canal lock keeper battles his way through miserable cold horrible sleety stinging rain on a dismal day, Fort William, Scotland, © John MacPherson
The Caledonian Canal lock keeper battles his way through miserable cold horrible sleety stinging rain on a dismal day, Fort William, Scotland, © John MacPherson

 

And the miserable view the Caledonian Canal lock keeper must endure if it ever actually clears, Fort William, Scotland, © John MacPherson
And the miserable view the Caledonian Canal lock keeper must endure if it ever actually clears, Fort William, Scotland, © John MacPherson

 

Rain softened landscape with trees, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain softened landscape with trees, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain drops, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain drops, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

 

Sheep run from aproaching sleet and hail storm, Glen Nevis, Scotland © John MacPherson
Sheep run from approaching sleet and hail storm sweeping down off Ben Nevis, Glen Nevis, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain and mist over Loch Garry, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain and mist over Loch Garry, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

 

Approaching weather front in evening light, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson
Approaching weather front in evening light, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Approaching weather front looms up over Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge, Lochaber, Scotland © John MacPherson
Approaching weather front looms up over WW2 Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge, Lochaber, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain and sleet, Steall Gorge, Glen Nevis, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain and sleet, Steall Gorge, Glen Nevis, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

No rain, no rainbows, Strathspey, Scotland © John MacPherson
No rain, no rainbows, and two crows get a soaking, Strathspey, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain, hail, sleet and ice, Nairn Beach, Scotland © John MacPherson
Hail, snow & sleet sweep through on a bitterly cold sub-Arctic day that froze the sea, Nairn Beach, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Stormy sky over Ben Nevis , Scotland © John MacPherson
Stormy sky over Ben Nevis, in a gap between torrential freezing rain showers that fell as snow on the high tops , Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Sun setting through rain, rain, and more rain, Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Sun setting through rain, rain, and more rain, Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Sleet and snow showers sweep up Loch Ness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Sleet and snow showers sweep up Loch Ness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Gale force winds and sleet, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson
A gannet hunts in stormy seas, gale force winds and sleet, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain, Strathspey, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain, Strathspey, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain and a spider, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain and a spider, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Raindrops on feathers, Scotland © John MacPherson
Raindrops on feathers, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

 

Gap between rain showers, Ledmore & Migdale Woodland, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson
Gap between rain showers, Ledmore & Migdale Woodland, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain sweeps across the Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain sweeps across the Moray Firth, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Stormy sky over the Black Isle, from Nairn, Scotland © John MacPherson
Stormy sky over the Black Isle, from Nairn, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain & sunset, Black Isle, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain & sunset, Black Isle, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Approaching storm, Isle of Mull,, Scotland © John MacPherson
Approaching storm, Isle of Mull,, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

A wee storm building over Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson
A wee storm building over Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Rain, cold, clouds, water, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson
Rain, cold, clouds, water, Sutherland, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

View south towards Salen, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson
View south towards Salen, through the rain, Isle of Mull, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

 

Visitors get a close-up view of wild bottlenose dolphins hunting on the Moray Firth, in dreich, cold, grey, miserable weather, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson
Visitors get a close-up view of wild bottlenose dolphins hunting on the Moray Firth, in dreich, cold, grey, miserable weather, Inverness, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Canoeists plough through the misery of pelting, water-hissing, rain, Loch Lochy, Great Glen, Scotland © John MacPherson
Canoeists plough through the misery of pelting,water-hissing, rain, Loch Lochy, Great Glen, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

Canoeists get a small reward for ploughing through the misery of pelting,water-hissing, rain, Loch Lochy, Great Glen, Scotland © John MacPherson
Canoeists get a small reward for ploughing through the misery of pelting,water-hissing, rain, Loch Lochy, Great Glen, Scotland © John MacPherson

 

So there you go, a glimpse of the utter hellishness that is the Scottish Highlands in the rain. Gloomy, wet, horrible murky and pretty hard to cope with. I know I know, I can hear your thoughts….“who the hell would want to live in a place like that?”.

Well someone’s got to. So spare a thought for us as you bask in all that sunshine, think of these endless grey skies and all the cascading rain that pours forth from them, that we must endure. And the cold. And of course, the misery.

 

 

 

 

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John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

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