Kate Simon: From scorchio to squelchio – why I won't get burnt in Portugal

I'm just repacking my suitcase for our family holiday to the Algarve. Out go the flip-flops, in come the waterproofs. You see, I've just checked the five-day forecast for that part of the world and it predicts heavy showers followed by thunderstorms followed by more heavy showers – up until we step on the plane to go home. The word "disappointed" barely sums up the mood in our house as I write.

We thought the Algarve – right at the bottom of the Iberian Peninsula, within spitting distance of the North African coast – would be a good bet for sunshine at this time of year. We weren't expecting scorchio – but squelchio? Was it too much to ask for blue skies?

Yet, this isn't the first time we've been caught out by bad weather abroad during the Easter school holidays. A few years ago, we spent a week at this time of year enduring freak conditions in Sardinia. Within a day of arriving at our resort on the north coast of the Mediterranean holiday island, the wind picked up, black clouds closed in and freezing rain poured down. We learnt our lesson about leaving the coats and fleeces at home – which paid off a couple of years later when our Easter holiday in Sicily was similarly dogged by storms.

Truth is, the weather is always unpredictable in Europe at this time of year, even if you head to the southern reaches of the Continent. And, obviously, the earlier the Easter holidays fall, the dodgier your chances are of having a warm, sunny break.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office explained that the fine weather we're currently enjoying in Britain is to blame for the soggy prospects of our family's Algarve break. "The high pressure here means there's low pressure further south," she said. "Everything is shifting at this time of year, as the sun moves north, taking the jet stream with it, so it's a changeable time."

Still, we won't be alone in our misfortune. It's not just our family that sees Easter as the curtain-raiser to summer. Two million of us were due to head for the sun during the school holiday, according to the travel industry body Abta, which seized the moment to back Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign.

SunSmart seeks to promote awareness of UV exposure as a major cause of skin cancer and to reverse the upward spiral of the disease, and it has just released news that the baby boomers, now in their sixties and seventies, are more than five times more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than their parents would have been 30 years ago.

The days when sunburn was seen as the first step to a good tan are now taking their toll.

The campaign's message is an important one: it recommends spending time in the shade between 11am and 3pm; making sure you never burn; covering up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses; remembering to take extra care with children's skin; and using sunscreen which has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more.

That's good advice – though I think there'll be little chance of us taking our coats off in the Algarve.

Got a travel issue? Email us at: sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power