A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

What a strange and capricious place the Lizard can be. At this time of year, I usually go and camp at Tenerife Campsite outside Mullion. It is a National Trust campsite characterised by its tranquility, calm and beautiful starry skies visible at night because the light pollution is at a minimum.This year, I chose a week that was bookended by two big low pressure systems sweeping in from the Atlantic, with a more modest yet sufficiently wet and windy mini-storm in the middle. Cyclone weather mapBetween these unseasonable weather events the sun shone, a gentle breeze ruffled grass, hair and dog fur, and all was well with the world. I arrived on the Monday, when the worst of the first storm had already slipped away east, its magnitude only evidenced by the soggy ground and my brother's diminishing stock pile of tent tape, to mend the rips forced open by 60mph gusts.On Tuesday we mooched over to Kennack Sands (the easterly, dog-friendly beach) and sat with our backs against the wall, marvelling at the rich colbalt sea and pretty fluffy clouds while Treacle snoozed with her nose in the sand. Treacle: dog sleepingBut higher up, beyond the benign cotton wool clouds, I could see higher, fast moving clouds, and I knew the balmy weather wouldn't last. Sure enough, Wednesday night treated us to a dowsing, with a soggy start to the morning.

But by Thursday we were once again slapping on sun cream, walking the coast path and picking blackberries before tightening the guy ropes for the incoming armageddon. I suggested to my daughter that we might leg it Thursday night, but we decided to stick it out with my brother.

Soggy LandscpeSitting in his event shelter (a gazebo of magnificent proportions with sides) was like being on a galleon in full sail, ripshock slapping and cracking against the gusts as the rain forced through the slightest gap. Blame the jet stream - it's all over the place. No amount of staring at the jet stream forecast on netweather.tv or the pressure charts on magicseaweed.com is going to help. We have more access than ever before not only to weather forecasts but to live weather data including wind direction and speed (windyasforecasted is my preferred app). We can tell at any given moment what the weather is doing, or what it is going to do in the next ten minutes to ten days. But for all that, in the end, you have to sit out the storm with your kindle in one hand and a coffee in another. And even this brings a certain resigned contentment during what we laughingly call British Summer Time.

Published: August 2019
Author: Professor Catherine Leyshon (nee Brace)
Centre for Geography and Environmental Science
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus