Sunday, November 11, 2012

Talking of Willies

Stop it in the cheap seats - this is serious article; no more sniggering at the word "willy" or I'll clear the court immediately. Constable!

Today was meant to be a busy day on several fronts. The task list started with leaping from the snuggly warmth of bed and trying to sound enthusiastic about heading shopwards because we'd run out of onions.....the reason for the urgency will become apparent as I witter on, stay with me here.

Next on the list - prep up today's main meal of cassoulet . . .

 . . . before heading northward to Bodmin Moor to climb to Cornwall's highest point as part of our early training exercises for Scafell Pike in June. All this (including eating said cassoulet) to be fitted in before a Hamoaze Band rehearsal at 4 o'clock and meeting a potential customer for the ceilidh band at 7. Then Film Club with all the usual suspects descending upon Millbrooker Towers for 7:30...phew.

So to return to the narrative which, I'm sure has you spellbound by now......

La Sumpetta was also trogging shopward this morning and witnessed my minor discomfiture upon finding the Co-op bereft of all things oniony. Quickly grabbing a handful of leeks instead I marched homeward.

Mrs The Millbrooker then appeared as I was chopping leeks, walking into the kitchen in that odd manner suggesting injury. One very recently cricked neck, incurred after showering, puts paid to the walking expedition straight away; unsafe to drive let alone try and yomp 6 or 7 miles over moorland.

So an afternoon of trying to learn how to program a drum computer awaits, not so good for the cardio-vascular system as a goodly walk - but mildly productive nonetheless.

So, instead of writing all about trekking intrepidly up Brown Willy, I'll share a couple of interesting factettes that Mrs The Millbrooker found last night as we did a little bit of research into our soon-to-be-aborted expedition.

OK -hands up all those who know how Brown Willy got its snigger-worthy moniker?

It's a corruption of the Cornish "Bronn Wennili" which translates as Swallow Hill; assorted spellings have been recorded dating back to the beginning of the thirteenth century from "Brunwenely" to the almost Breton / Iberian sounding "Menar Brownuello" of 1754.

And there another interesting little gem - ever heard of the Brown Willy Effect? I said stop chortling into your sleeves, dammit!

I'll try that again. Ever heard of the Brown Willy Effect? That's better.

No - me neither. Until last night, that is.

It's a meteorological term, apparently; I'll paraphrase from a couple of different sites: 

As moist winds that blow in from the Atlantic hit land in Cornwall, they are slowed by the effect of friction. Winds from the North and South coasts of Cornwall's peninsula are driven inland, converging over the highest ground along the central spine.

This leads to uplift of air and condensation of the moisture carried on the winds. This effect is intensified by the altitude of Bodmin Moor.

This causes frequent heavy showers and downpours. These showers, once formed, tend to travel north easterly (sorry Tavistock) - creating a thin corridor of wet weather often miles in length. All originating from Brown Willy and its immediate environs.

In March 2006 a Brown Willy Effect procession of heavy showers was recorded stretching from Brown Willy to Burford in Oxfordshire - 145 miles worth of Cornish rain all over England....hehehehe!

Right onward to farting about with a drum computer. And "Get Well Soon" to Mrs The Millbrooker.

photos shamelessly nicked from
Brown Willy:
Brown Willy summit and cairn:
Brown Willy Effect information gleaned from and old faithful 

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