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Walking thru Thunderstorms

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, (2019)
I admit to being a bit nervous walking when there is the prospect of thunderstorms during the day ahead. I’m well aware of the general advice to avoid standing under trees and not to have metal walking poles sticking out from your backpack, but there may be other good advice to follow. I feel at my most vulnerable when caught out walking across open ground at the height of a storm, so is it possible to be reassured about my safety at such times?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've yet to hear of any pilgrims struck by lightening while on the camino (except for Daniel in "The Way") and 200,000 walk it each year. If you've been a "good boy" you will most likely have no worries.😉

P.S. Have other forum members heard of any incidents? Odds are that odds are very low either way.☺
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
James, just ask Reb to tell you her story about being caught out in the Picos. Hair-raising.
I read the bits about the San Salvador route, and I say Amen. I very much love that camino, but it has tried to kill me a couple of times.
As for "comfort zones," I had a snow experience similar to T2Andro´s up there in March 2009, when the path was still waymarked near the ground... I had to use orienteering skills to keep on the path. Later that year, in September, I went back with an English friend who had a GPS unit (we wrote the first English guide), and walked into a thunderstorm at the top of the Sierra de Cuchillos pass above Busdongo. It was the coolest thing... you could actually see water condensing out of the clouds before your eyes! And then...KABOOOOM! My hair stood up, we hit the ground, the whole world went blindingly bright!! The rocks behind Piers were smoking... The lightning bolt missed us by about three meters.
I RAN straight down the side of that mountain, despite the underbrush and snakes and cow patties and pouring rain.
Piers thought I was really funny. He took a picture, but it´s not something you wanna look at!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Many summers back, during my training as an Outward Bound leader a grizzled veteran offered the following advice: "If you are out on high moorland or exposed mountainside and an electrical storm kicks off crouch down as low as you can and hug your knees. This will make it much easier for the Emergency Services to find all your bits..."
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've watched the movie twice and was never clear on how he had died.
That was my personal conclusion when rain pelted and loud thunder/lightening was heard and he was so high up...maybe all just my imagination!
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
I admit to being a bit nervous walking when there is the prospect of thunderstorms during the day ahead. I’m well aware of the general advice to avoid standing under trees and not to have metal walking poles sticking out from your backpack, but there may be other good advice to follow. I feel at my most vulnerable when caught out walking across open ground at the height of a storm, so is it possible to be reassured about my safety at such times?
I live in the countryside and we are in awe of thunderstorms. My advice would be to plan ahead for the day and make sure to be indoors when the thunderstorm breaks. Either in the albergue, in a bar or in a bus. Shelters in an open field are not safe, unless they have a lightning rod. Don't even dream about walking across open ground at the height of a storm. It is dangerous no matter what you do or how you hide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, (2019)
Many summers back, during my training as an Outward Bound leader a grizzled veteran offered the following advice: "If you are out on high moorland or exposed mountainside and an electrical storm kicks off crouch down as low as you can and hug your knees. This will make it much easier for the Emergency Services to find all your bits..."
Thanks Tincatinker, very droll !! I’ll have to look back at my original post to double-check I included the word “reassurance” in it!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Maybe it's not reassurance, but here is some sound advice:

And edit: I had a vague memory of this, and managed to find it.
FYI should you be caught in a storm this is very useful information from UK Mountain Safety: Walking Poles and Lightning. I was struck by lightning as a child so was fortunate - both to just be knocked off my feet with a fried schoolbag and then to then be instructed at Brownies about what I should have done
I have enjoyed the excitement of a massive thunder-and-lightening storm on the meseta, but not that close thank goodness. Not many places to take shelter. Using metal trekking sticks adds to the fun. I'd never thought about the metal underwire in my bra. Conjures up images of female pilgrims ripping off their underclothes and casting them to the winds.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, (2019)
Maybe it's not reassurance, but here is some sound advice:

And edit: I had a vague memory of this, and managed to find it.
This is exactly what I need to know, even if I don’t like al that I’m reading. No worries on the bra-front personally, but I’m sure to do myself a serious mischief if I practice sitting on my rucksack with my feet off the ground!!

I now feel suitably informed, so thanks very much!
 

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