Scottish Borders: Downpours Like No Other!

On our return walk from Dryhope Tower, this time taking the route we should have taken rather than meandering through the wildflowers, the clouds stopped looking ominous in the distance but loomed over us threateningly. We were too much in holiday mode to hurry so we sauntered back nonchalantly as though it was still a glorious day – we were foolish.

It started with one or two ridiculously large drops landing on us, followed by a few more and then a few more after that. The over-sized heavy droplets fell slowly, hitting the ground and splashing back up. As the minutes passed the drops became more frequent, but no less heavy, at this point we picked up our pace, it was, however, too late to escape our fate.

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Within no time at all the rain was thundering down upon us and all we could do was accept our soggy ruin or run… so we ran! The rain was refreshingly cool after a couple of days of hot muggy air, the smell of petrichor was almost overpowering. If it wasn’t for the long drive home I would have continued to saunter, enjoying it, but the thought of sitting in the van soaking wet for the next few hours was not a pleasant one. The lane felt eternally long, and the rain relentless, but the van was getting closer with every stride and before too long we were pulling the doors shut behind us, safe and dry (not really, but close enough!)

Feeling proud of ourselves for getting out of the bad weather, and whilst catching our breath, we took stock of our situation and headed off, trying to ignore the fact that the rain was already easing off and the sky was looking infinitely brighter – bloody Scotland!

The forecast was supposed to be showery all afternoon with intermittent thunderstorms, so we reluctantly decided it was time to head home, indirectly, meandering, making the journey last as long as possible. We drove through a dramatic valley; the mountains climbing steeply either side of the single track road, the river twisting and turning alongside. The grey clouds overhead only added to the scene.

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We continued our journey, singing along with the music chatting about how much we had enjoyed the area and found ourselves heading back over that same steep road we enjoyed on our arrival just a few days before. We were chatting and driving, neither of us paying too much attention, when the heavens opened again. Even heavier than before, the rain pummeled the ground, hitting and then bouncing up as if made of rubber; pools started appearing on the ground almost instantly and the sound of the water hitting the roof of the van was deafening. You could barely see a few metres ahead of you it was coming down so thick; it was like nothing we had experienced before.

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And then about 5 minutes later, it stopped as suddenly as it had started, the ground was drenched but the clouds were lightening, everything was getting brighter again, we were amazed about what we had just witnessed. We opened the windows to enjoy that petrichor smell again – I honestly believe that is one of the best smells in the world! And all the while we had been driving, making our way down the steep descent (luckily the steepest section came after the downpour had ended). Upon reaching the bottom, and the end of Talla reservoir, the clouds appeared to be breaking up. By the time we had driven half its length the sun was shining and there were considerable blue patches – it had been an insane day, weather wise.

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The residual moisture in the air gave everything a dreamlike feel, colours seemed softened but still vibrant, the water was perfectly still reflecting the land around it. It was honestly one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever seen – I couldn’t help but get out and gawp. Blocking the road entirely (although there was not a single other car so nothing to worry about) we abandoned the van and clambered out to soak it all in.

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After that last hurrah it felt disheartening to be finally heading home – we were at the end of our wanderings for this weekend, and what an end! The last section before the motorway was spent further retracing our steps from the first night – winding roads through forests and farms, following brooks now glinting in the sunshine, onto big roads with big open views and an easy run back to reality.

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