This time of year is perfect for a few weekend getaways, with the long daylight hours enabling people to get outdoors for extended periods of time and make the most of the weekends.
If you can do this, it’s a brilliant part of the year to be day-tripping or having weekend breaks. After all, while families may get weeks on end in the school holidays to go on their jollies, the sunsets will be earlier, early mornings on campsites will be chilly, and the fact this year will be mainly one of staycations means loads of the best places will have been booked up.
However, whenever you go away this summer, sometimes there’s a bit of a watery problem - and we don’t mean rain.
Quite simply, spending time in a different place can mean you are using tap water that tastes markedly different from that which you are used to. Even if you are mainly using it to brush your teeth rather than drinking, it can still be a taste you just can’t get used to.
The solution, of course, is to stock up on cheap bottled water. This can ensures you are able to avoid a flavour you really cannot abide.
Some may wonder how on a fairly small island the water can taste so different in so many places. But there are good reasons for this, based on Britain’s very varied geology and topography.
For the majority of the UK, water is classed as ‘hard’. This isn’t because it’s useful in a fight, but because it contains a lot of salts like calcium and magnesium, the sort of thing that fills up kettles with limescale and chalk over time. London has quite hard water and much of the south-east has very hard water. By contrast, the north has ‘soft’ water.
The sources of water vary too. Northern and western parts of the UK mainly rely on upland reservoirs for their supplies. A typical example of this is Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District, which was once two small lakes but extended into a large one by a dam built in the 1890s.
It supplies drinking water to Manchester via a 90-mile aqueduct using gravity alone, a great feat of engineering. But the reservoir also supplies one in every nine glasses of water drunk in the UK.
However, in the south and east of the country, which lack mountains and moorland, groundwater is the main source. This is drawn from water bearing rock beds known as aquifers, with chalk being very useful for this. That, however, is why it contains lots of calcium and is harder.
Most of the bottled water comes from underground springs, which, ironically, are often in hilly areas surrounded by reservoirs. Places like Buxton in the Pennines and the Scottish Highlands are a case in point.
However, these are often mineral-rich and have a very pure taste, filtered for thousands of years and sure to have never gone through a water treatment plant.
With a pleasant bottle of water like this, you can ensure you are never left with a sour taste in the mouth when you visit a part if the country where the stuff that comes out of the taps is very different.