It’s dry in them thar hills

Part of me wants to shout how glorious the weather has been since the first weekend when we arrived, as it has been wonderfully sunny.

However increasingly I find I am shaking my head at the forecasts. November should be the second wettest month of the year, with average daytime temperatures between 15°C and 19°C. Instead we have been in the low 20s, and the skies remain steadfastly blue. Consequently the Algarve remains under severe drought conditions, and the reservoir levels are below average, some dangerously low. The land felt very parched on our adventures last week.

The irregular nature of rainfall is one of the characteristics of the climate in the south of the country, and so many might say don’t fret. After all last winter there was a significant increase in rainfall, and for a while the reservoirs were looking full. However it is evident when you track the weather over the past couple of decades, rainfall has become more irregular and drought conditions are becoming the norm. The authorities are exploring options for alternative water supplies, namely piping water from rivers on the Spainish border but climate change is also going to require to re-think about how water and land is used. Something that doesn’t seem to be happening here quite yet. We have been shocked by the increase in the number and size of orange groves and avocado plantations in the two years we’ve been away, the fruits are delicious but they are an environmental nightmare in a region that regularly experiences droughts and fires.

Whilst I am increasingly worried about our planet’s medium to long term future, and regularly ponder what further changes I am going to make to our lives. I admit right now I have been enjoying our moment in the Algarvian sunshine. There is beauty to be found even in the greys and browns which are dominating the countryside.

It’s not just the climate that has been in our thoughts on our walks. We’ve also got a long way to go before we regain our pre-pandemic fitness levels but we are making good progress. Our 6km hike on Thursday felt relatively easy despite the heat and the hills. There again we were stopping repeatedly as the birding was quite good, and we had views and a picnic to enjoy too!

PS For those who love blogging challenges this post is linked to Jude’s Life in Colour and Debbie’s Six Word Saturday. My title is six and there’s definitely grey in them thar hills!

Author: BeckyB

It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends but unfortunately no longer the cat.

21 thoughts

  1. And yet here we’ve heading into our second spring/summer season with higher than average rainfall and a second El Nina weather pattern in a row. The forecast for summer is heavy rain with very likely widespread flooding. The last time that happened here was 2010/2011 and it was disastrous. In the years in between we had almost no rain, for 8 years.

    1. the cycles of extremes seem to be becoming the norm, so difficult to manage and plan for 🙁 really hope it is not as bad as forecast for you

        1. Your crossing has worked – rain arriving at weekend. In fact there’s a weather alert as high tides too!! Yay 😀

  2. Wonderful photos Becky. Yes birding is a great excuse for a breather. So many things raised in this post about the state of our planet and how each country is facing it’s own “problems” The COP made me embarrassed to be Australian. THAT man doesn’t speak for me or around 70% of Australians

  3. Yes, it is hot here at the moment and I’ve been sea swimming every day. It’s wonderful to have clear blue skies after the grey mist of Cornwall, but the lack of rain in Portugal is certainly a worry. I love avocados and oranges but I am seriously trying to rethink my diet. Love your emails!

    1. Oh wow you’re braver than me going into the sea, I’ve not tried it here yet! And like you we’re trying to seriously rethink our diet but some items are going to be hard to give up.

  4. It is worrying, isn’t it? Here in England, it was 10 degrees when I went on my 6 o’clock walk, which is ridiculous in November. Doubtless the winter floods will start soon – it seems to have become a regular occurrence, so the opposite problem from yours. Good luck piping water from Spain though. They’re pretty hard pressed themselves, according to Emily. Nevertheless, a lovely post and I love the scenes you’ve shown us.

    1. That’s crazy temperatures for your morning, about what our nights are here.

      Somehow we need to send British rain here, as not convinced by the Spanish plan either.

  5. It does look rather parched, but it must be nice to have the warmth on your back whilst walking. Just about the right temperature I would say. The other problem with the lack of rain is how dry it will be next year and the risk of fires. Of course the weather may change over the next few months, it is so unpredictable now. And I have only just realised how water intensive growing avocados is. I love avos too, such a versatile fruit.

    1. Exactly on the dry and fire risks, just hope December and January are wet.

      and i know it’s a huge aargh on 🥑, why oh why did they have to be so water needy. Hard to give them up, especially here.

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