Don't Get Me Started On... The Weather in Durham

It’s a truth universally acknowledged…that the weather in Durham is a bit of a nightmare.

When I was accepted to Durham University I was warned that the climate was a little different to down South. Naively, I felt my distant Yorkshire roots might come in handy when it came to adjusting to a few degrees drop in temperature. All I had to do was buy a nice thick coat, a few practical but stylish hat, gloves and scarf combinations and toughen up. How bad could it be?

After three years here, winters down South seem like child’s play compared to the aggressive mood-swings that characterise winter in Durham. It might be a beautiful city but the weather definitely leaves something to be desired.

I remember speaking to a second year before I arrived who spoke abstractly of the piles of snow and sheets of ice that graced Durham during winter. Luckily snow has been a rare occurrence, often looking more like someone sprinkled icing sugar over the road - icing sugar that promptly freezes, making walking down the street either an excellent ice-skating opportunity, or a plethora of opportunities to break a limb, or at least get a very sore bottom.

I wonder, did it ever occur to the council to put grit down on the pavement and not just the road?

Even wearing snow boots, walking down a snow-covered Claypath is like taking your life into your hands. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that snow and a city where steep inclines are around every corner, aren’t a good mix.

Luckily snow is rare, unfortunately, the gale force winds are not. Walking anywhere in Durham becomes a nightmare as you’re frequently blown off course, making getting to lectures on time a rare occurrence and every trip out of the house a workout in itself. Then if you’re one of those unfortunate people for whom the wind inexplicably makes their eyes water uncontrollably, you arrive at lectures late, decidedly windswept and with the appearance of having cried about the prospect of an hour in Elvet.

I learnt the hard way that it is essential to batten down the hatches, in every way possible. No piece of fabric can be left to fly about in the wind because it will either hit you in the face, or in the case of my scarf last week, fly into the path of an unsuspecting victim coming the other way outside Elvet, blasting him in the face and leading to a rushed awkward apology. Seriously, tuck your scarf into your coat - it could save a life, or at least a lot of embarrassment.

You can forget about styling your hair as well. An hour in the evening spent painstakingly curling and styling my hair is completely wasted as the 10 minute walk into town means I arrive looking less stylish and more like something closely resembling Bellatrix Lestrange.

Like I say, Durham is a wonderful place but I can safely say that, when I do leave, the one thing I won’t miss will be the weather. Now when anyone complains of cold temperatures down South, I’m the one to pronounce, with a suitably terrible imitation of a northern accent and a slightly smug expression on my face, “you know nothing.”