Flooding in the Lake District – A View from Patterdale, Glenridding and Ullswater November 2009
Well we’ve survived so far! It’s now Tuesday 24th and although it’s raining again the river and lake levels are so far staying in check. This is just a very quick post on events from our corner of Cumbria with some photos. Plenty of other material elsewhere I’m sure. Overall we escaped very lightly compared to the poor people in Cockermouth, Workington, Keswick and elsewhere.
Anyway a big thankyou to (in no particular order) Tom & Gillian at the Patterdale Village Store for staying open throughout, likewise Sharmans in Glenridding, the White Lion pub in Patterdale, Mary from Gillside Farm, Neil and Carla at Glenridding garage, and the lads and lass from Patterdale Fire Service who have worked tirelessly throughout the storms.
Thursday 19th November
08:00 Awake to a swollen beck opposite the house and pouring rain. Venture out on the fells with the dog for our usual morning walk and soon discover all is not well. Footpaths which were sodden anyway have now become streams, streams have become raging torrents and the beck has extended itself over neighbouring fields and is looking like a good candidate for white water rafting. Plough onto into Glenamara Park and now realise why the cows retreated yesterday.Try and cross our usual stream to head into Glenamara but beat a hasty retreat when a gingerly placed foot sinks in 3 foot of water and that’s on the bank of the stream. Head back down into Patterdale via the King George V playing fields, which is now host to a new river flowing down to the tennis courts. Wade through the church yard of St Patricks church which at this stage has a couple of inches of water. Battle back along the road to home. Someone will be happy – no school today!
09:30: Drive into Glenridding on the A592 to clear the gutters and drains at Helvellyn Cottages. Water levels on the roads rising but only 2-3 inches so Landrover creates splashes but nothing else. Fire brigade already on duty pumping out the basement of the Glenridding Hotel and the beck flowing down to Ullswater through Glenridding is starting to burst over the bridge.
15:00: Venture out again. River levels rising further. Water backing up and no longer flowing under Goldrill Bridge. Road to Rookings under 18 inches to 2 foot of water and flowing fast. Walk past school and water outside St Patricks Church now much deeper. Churchyard under 3 inches or so and water lapping around the walls of the rectory. Keep going into King George V Playing Fields. River in the middle still in full swing. Rain still falling and wind rising – time to beat a retreat!
17:00: Check on water levels of Goldrill beck – looks to have stabilised. Try and drive to Glenridding and turn back when realise Ullswater has flooded over the road big style. That’ll be why the beck is stabilising! Attempt with dog to walk to Rookings but give up when notice dog is swimming next to me and I’m in 3 foot of water. Phone still working so catch up on a full range of tales including stranded children, flooded cars, and round the clock activity from the local fire service.
23:00; Final check on beck levels. Dropping fast. Which of course means that the lake will be fuller still! Suspect the White Lion in Patterdale is doing a roaring trade!
Friday 20th November
07:30: Awake and no rain! Beck levels down to normal. What was all the fuss about? Walk out with the dog soon realise that the landscape has changed. The fells are looking more normal, and the stream in Glenamara is passable. However from up there we can see that Ullswater has flooded big style.The Ullswater Steamer pier is now marooned a good distance from the shore – looks like the whole car park in underwater.
Water levels on the road outside St Patricks Church have subsided and Patterdale Village School has a new water feature in the playground…
08:30: Am told that you can drive to Glenridding so give it a go. Swiftly realise that the person that told me must have been driving a tractor and head back. Not one to be put off by a bit of rain, Mary from Gillside Farm delivers the milk as usual, but has swapped her van which had a spot of bother at Hartsop for one her tractors, which does the “floating milk float” job admirably…
09:30: Set off on foot and after some wading and fence jumping arrive in Glenridding. Again it has the “calm after the storm” look – beck flowing under the bridge, water still being pumped from the Glenridding Hotel, some flooding in Catstycam and the General Store. Walk up to our Glenridding Cottages and all well with them. Apparently we had 29cm of rain in 24 hours. Nice. Glenridding cut off from the rest of the world now – Ullswater has flooded over the road. Glencoyne Bay flooded – the fire engine went through at midnight and the water was half way up the windscreen. Somehow don’t think the bin men will be coming today! Walk back to Patterdale and decide to brave the road side. Result – the dogs swims again and I get wet wellies….
16:00: Another walk out with the dog to check on the road. Still looks deep although subsiding a little. People still trying to drive over from Windermere – perhaps it’s time the Highways Agency advised people the road is closed!
Saturday 21st November
07:30: No rain. Decide to make a dash for Glenridding in the car. Water levels much lower – 6 inches at most on the road. Drive through in one piece except for steaming engine. Advise our Glenridding Cottage guests to make a dash for freedom before the rain starts again (due lunchtime).
12:00: Sadly the forecasters were right. The rain arrives but our brave guests have escaped. Walk up to Rookings and help clear one of the storm drains which has disappeared under a pile of silt and rocks.
17:00: Rain still falling but water levels not rising. Fingers crossed for the morning.
Sunday 22nd November
09:00: Rain still falling but manage to turn around the cottages.
12:00 Venture to Dockray to see friends. Lake Road has subsided but plenty of debris and looks like the edge of the road between Glencoyne and Aira Force is starting to break away.
15:00 Rain starts to descend in buckets again. Our poor cottage guests arrive for their weeks “holiday”….
Monday 23rd November 2009
07:30: Morning walk and the levels have receded. But the rain is still falling! Hopefully the worst is behind us. Make it through to Penrith for supplies but on the way home the landrover finally decides it’s had enough of swimming and needs a good dry out….