Terrifying photo shows how close couple came to being struck by lightning on country walk

17 August 2021, 11:21 | Updated: 17 August 2021, 11:27

The couple have issued a warning after spotting their static hair in a photo
The couple have issued a warning after spotting their static hair in a photo. Picture: Edinburgh Live/Media Scotland

A couple have issued a warning after they spotted something odd in their selfie while on a walk in Scotland.

A woman has shared a shocking photo that shows how close she and her partner were to being struck by lightning while on a country walk.

Sophie Pass, 33, was on a wild swimming trip in north Scotland when wild storms broke out.

She and her boyfriend took a couple of photos of themselves on their trip - but noticed something unusual that could indicate they were in danger.

Sophie told EdinburghLive: "Whilst on holiday, we had an amazing day up in north Scotland wild swimming.

"The water was calm, a breeze to keep the midges away, a good combination of sun and light cloud, stunning wildlife and scenery - just perfect conditions!

The couple were out wild swimming in the north of Scotland
The couple were out wild swimming in the north of Scotland. Picture: Edinburgh Live/Media Scotland

"After finishing our swim, we decided to go for a stroll around the Loch to finish off the day, which is a perfect spot for a selfie with such amazing views."

She continued: "About a minute or so after this photo, Richard noticed that my hair was completely standing on end.

"I couldn’t feel a thing, and it was only then that I noticed his hair was also on end.

"At this stage the weather was fairly calm, there was a bit of drizzle, but nothing looking too ominous.

"Our gut instinct and our high school-level physics however made us suspect this probably really wasn’t a good thing and we were in a bit of a dangerous situation, so quickly headed back to our car - letting the other six or so walkers on the beach know what we were experiencing as we went.

"All other walkers had their hoods up so weren’t experiencing the same hair rising, but followed our lead and headed back to their cars.

Sophie noticed that her hair was standing on end
Sophie noticed that her hair was standing on end. Picture: Edinburgh Live/Media Scotland

"Whilst a heavy shower hit while everybody was in their cars, there was not thunder and lightning."

The couple were experiencing static electricity in the air, which causes hair to stand on end and occurs when lightning is going to strike near you.

Sophie added: "It was only when in the car that we looked at the selfie and noticed it was already happening at that stage.

"After some Googling, we have a very good idea of how unbelievably lucky we both are to still be here and safe - along with everybody else on the beach."

As explained by the Mirror, static hair in this context is caused by negative ions, which are known as stepped leaders, reaching down towards earth milliseconds before a lighning strike, which casues a positive charge - positive streamers - to rise up from points on the ground, which - in this case - was Sophie and Richard.

The lightning strike occurs when these two charges meet and create a channel.

Luckily, as Sophie, Richard and the other people they met swiftly exited, the stepped leaders couldn’t find any streamers that were rising up from them - so there were no strikes in that location.

Sophie added: "Nature is beautiful and we all need to look after her - but my god, she can be scary as hell too!"