Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Teuchat Storm

The start of Fantasy Bob's cricket season was welcomed last weekend by a stinging blast of Arctic air dropping temperatures towards zero and beyond.  Play was interrupted by freezing showers and hail. In other words, the conventional start to a Scottish season.
The Teuchat in flight

Traditional folk wisdom knows all about this.  In FB's native North East Scotland, the Teuchat Storm is the name given to the days of poor weather that invariably come in early spring.  Winter's last cruel hurrah.

The teuchat also plays under the name of the peewit or lapwing - and the storm is associated with their arrival back from their wintering grounds.
Other parts of the country refer to this weather event as the Gowk Storm - the gowk being the cuckoo.  Yet other parts refer more prosaically the Lambing Storm - the lambing not being an ornithological term of any significance.

FB is no great ornithologist and would struggle to recognise a lapwing or peewit even if it was batting at the other end with him. However he notes with sadness from the website of the RSPB that this bird has suffered significant decline recently and is now classified on the Society's Red List. Conservation measures are required, particularly the restoration of habitat.

As a red list species himself, FB has nothing but concern for this position.  If by some tragic set of circumstances the Teuchat were to disappear, would the storm to which it gives its name also disappear?  Would cricketers take to the field for the first time in the season confident in warm and balmy weather?  No chance.  So that burst of weather would have to be renamed.  

The storm is also associated with the arrival back of cricketers from their wintering grounds.  But cricketer storm is too everyday and obvious a term.  

Given that when the height of the storm bites, when the wind whips the hail hard into the face, FB invariably finds himself stationed at the point in the field furthest from the pavilion, he suggests the Stuck Down at Deep Long Leg Again Storm.

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