Scottish Weather Woes

20 Nov

As most of us native Hoosiers know (and anyone who has been at Purdue long enough to witness all four seasons), Mother Nature answers to no one.  This I’ve discovered  hasn’t changed with me switching continents.  Here in Scotland, she is as ever indecisive as she is in Indiana.  It is almost impossible to predict what weather gear you are going to need on any giving day.  Watching the forecast is a good place to start, but be careful the weather man lies.  Even if there is a 0% chance of rain that day and you see a grey cloud in the sky, be prepared to get wet.  My phone app, I’ve just realized, only gives me the actual temperature and not what it feels like with the wind chill. I have walked outside one too many times  thinking I’ll be fine in a warm sweater just to have to run back into my room for my coat. Thankfully, I have it on good authority that it doesn’t get as cold here as it does in Indiana (a lady in the study abroad office used to work at that crimson and creme school in Indiana), but it is still pretty cold on the days it does hit below the freezing point. Anyway I wanted to share  a short list of weather supplies you can’t survive in St Andrews without:

  • Rainboots/Waterproof shoes
    • Some people might tell you that you can get by without a good pair of rain boots,  but I’m here to say they are wrong. I tried to survive Scotland without rainboots, but its impossible. You will need a pair of rain shoes.  Male or female, if you don’t want to be constantly shoving newspaper into your shoes trying to dry them out.  You don’t necessarily need to pack them because you can find a good pair in stores pretty cheap. I think I got mine for 20 quid when I was in Glasgow a few weeks ago. They have made my life considerably happier.  Wet socks are the worst.
  • Sweaters
    • Unless you want to be chilly in lectures, bring or plan on picking up some warm sweaters.  I suggest wool if you aren’t allergic.  A lot of the classrooms and lecture halls here in St Andrews can be pretty drafty.  I have a tutorial in a professor’s office and even sitting beside his space heater I freeze without a sweater!  Even my own room can get chilly because the heating is only one during certain hours of the day to save energy. 
  • Fleece Jacket and Heavy Coat
    • This one seems the most obvious of this list, but I actually came to Scotland without either of these things.  I accidentally left my fleece at home and I didn’t want to have to deal with packing a heavy coat.   Fleece jackets don’t seem to be quite as popular here. I don’t see them in stores much,  but bring one to help fight the chill off!  A winter coat is also a no brainer.  If you are like me and don’t want to worry about dragging on all the way here there are some great stores that carry nice, warm winter coats. I bought one for about 70 pounds from a local store and I couldn’t be happier with it.  It is the warmest coat I think I’ve ever owned.
  • Accessories
    • You should always have in your bag a hat, a pair of gloves, and an umbrella.  I’ve had it start raining on me when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The temperature is in flux all day so you never know when a big wind will kick up with a cold bite to it.  And if the sun does decided to stick its head out from behind the clouds, you can always put your accessories back into your bag.  Better safe than sorry.
  • Socks
    • Socks have been the plight of my existence here in Scotland! I don’t know what it is, but every time I leave St Andrews I’ve had to buy more socks.  You can ask my traveling buddies and they will let you know that cold feet are my biggest complaint. My feet freeze here!  Make sure to bring nice thick socks, not just thin athletic ones.  I promise your toes will thank you (and your wallet).

While it does seem pretty basic and obvious to bring these things with you on a Scottish Adventure, I didn’t. I’ve had to buy at least one of everything on this list since I got here. Albeit I only picked up another hat because it was on sale for a pound in the grocery store.  Leave your shorts and tank tops at home.  Even on the off days in September when it did hit the mid 60s, it wasn’t warm enough for them.  In all  just make sure you are prepared for what ever the weather decides to throw your way, because after all you don’t want your study abroad experience to be defined by freezing feet and soggy clothing (which mine some days has unfortunately been).

My Scottish sock collection (and slippers too).

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One Response to “Scottish Weather Woes”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Purdue Students Abroad Post #4 | Mly Mllr's Travels - December 4, 2013

    […] This post is all about Scottish Weather. You can read it (and see a picture of my socks) over at Purdue Students Abroad! […]

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