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Basil Rambo

They have invented a new form of self sustaining cloud in Scotland. I know, because I spent three days in one around Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland at 425 metres above sea level. There’s a radar station perched nearby on the tallest hill for miles. Apparently, it is an easily seen landmark, as it looks like a giant golf ball sitting on an enormous tee. People navigate by it from 10 miles away. Apparently. I didn’t see the station until I walked within 100 metres of it. And that was pure luck, as the visibility rose briefly from the regular ten metres for half an hour.

In the newly developed perpetual cloud, gravity appears no longer relevant to the lifecycle of a rain drop. Not just your normal laser-guided high velocity horizontal rain is present. This is still in place, with the regular downwards drizzle. But raindrops actually gain height so that they can pelt you from absolutely every direction. The upward firing rain is driven by freak winds that manage to push against you in whichever direction you are walking. The rain can then regroup in the all encompassing cloud that smothers you, and either drop back as drizzle, or fire horizontally back at you.

I felt a bit like John Rambo at one point in Wanlockhead. (Have you ever noticed how close an anagram John Rambo is of Ron J. Malibho?) The only place that I could find sanctuary from the omni-directional projectile rain was in the abandoned lead mines. It was from this shelter that I could really appreciate the force and motion of the rain, as I stuffed a few ginger biscuits down my neck. It was also a good place to gesticulate and swear at the weather, bringing back memories of Basil Fawlty railing against God and his car. I felt sure that if there is a Geneva Convention about weapons and the way you should behave in a war, and the ways in which you are allowed to murder folk, there should be some ruling about clouds like this.

I eventually fled the mines and ran uphill to the youth hostel, where I spent much time in the drying room, waiting for a break in the clouds. The weather forecast was denounced as useless by the locals. They said helpful things like,

“It doesn’t normally start raining until midday.”

It obviously didn’t count if it never stopped raining. I gave up waiting after three nights, and ventured out into the cloud once more, escaping it after six hours of walking.

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