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Date & start time: Thursday 19th November 2009. 8.40 am start.

Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : A drive to Keswick and back.

Walk details : [ not really applicalble today ]

Highest point : The water level as I crossed Scale Hill Bridge.

With : Myself, plus a colleage Rob and his bike on the return journey to Lorton.

Weather : Wild and windy with torrential rain.

November Gales - Day 1

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Today was a working day . . .

The forecast was poor, in fact there was a weather warning of flooding and Radio Cumbria had reported that the high fells were not the place to be !

The storm started last night and weather men were anticipating 4-8 inches of rain and high winds of 60-70 mph to hit the area.

Setting off from home I packed the camera and took a few photos.

This is Grasmoor House, next to a big pool in the field, but the house looked ok.

Ahh . . . I see the River Cocker is up . . .

It's up as high as I've seen it in the seven years that we've lived here . . . about as high as that Mountain Marathon weekend last year.

It was about here that I noticed a rather bedraggled bird sheltering behind the wall, being buffeted by the storm.

I stopped and found one very sad looking Barn Owl which I scooped up and returned to Ann at the house.

I don't know who was more surprised, the Owl or Ann !

That's not blue sky by the way . . . that's the winscreen sun visor colour as the photo was taken from inside the car.

Still, I ought to get off to work so it was back to Scale Hill Bridge.

The wind has got up and the spray is breaking over the parapet. It looks like Morecambe seafront on a rough day.

All the streams are flooding and the valley is rapidly filling with water.

This is the main road to Lorton and the water is flooding off the fields

flowing down the road 8 inches deep like a river.

However by driving at the speed of the water I created very little bow wave and got through without a problem.

This is Aiken Beck, known as Boon Beck at this point, as it roars down through High Lorton.

The Whinlatter Pass is higher ground and the drive over was without further incident.

Crossing from Braithwaite across to Keswick this was the Newlands Beck starting to flood onto the fields.

The river was enclosed within flood walls, but they were not high enough to hold back the water.

High Hill in Keswick as I cross the River Greta bridge.

The Fire Brigade are out trying to pump away some flood water from local properties

- - - o o o - - -

I made it to work ok, but it was decided an hour or so later that those living furthest away should start making their way home.

The staff out-numbered the customers and flood reports talked of increasing water levels.

By the time I returned, the High Hill road had been shut as the Greta was in danger of breaking it's banks at the bridge I had crossed earlier.

We had to divert via Fitz Park to get across the Greta higher upstream.

This is the footbridge across to the park taken from the road bridge.

Looking downstream the water is roaring past the Keswick Youth Hostel.

Leaving Keswick, I returned across the valley.

The water was getting higher.

In Braithwaite, the locals were out on flood watch. The guy in the dayglo jacket was part of a team that had built a barricade across their side road

and the one in the blue hat was attempting to clear the drain cover to encourage the water away.

The lady who makes Marmalade and sells it on a nice day for the Meningitis Charity

is just about to have a problem with the Coledale Beck . . . I hope she's ok.

Driving back over Whinlatter, this was Blaze Beck as it sweeps down towards Aiken Beck at Scawgill Bridge.

The combined water of the two becks has reaches Lorton . . .
. . . flooding under Boon Beck bridge.

The back of the Yew Tree Hall as the water rushes on down past the ancient Lorton Yew on the left.

Mmmm . . .I see the tide's in . . . perhaps I'll go a different way.

Driving downstream this morning was one thing, going back up against the current would be a whole different proposition.

I end up taking the third option . . . the gated road up and over High Swinside.

Looking down on Lorton Village as the rain sweeps across the valley.

It's been like this since yesterday evening and not forecasted to stop for another eighteen hours.

You can just make out the flooded fields in the lower part of the valley.

Even this route is not without incident, as I stop to check the depth of the water.

This is Cold Gill Beck as it floods off Whiteside's Dodd Fell.

What a nice reliable car, getting me steadily closer to home ( says he crossing his fingers).

Scale Hill Bridge and an United Utilities van had broken down after passing through the flood.

[ Hold your cursor over the photos to see the conditions]

Rather than risk flooding my engine, I cadged a tow off a passing Land Rover, and was graciously pulled through the water.

Dropping the tow, I was then able to re-start without problem and drive on. [I may have got through, but this proved the least risky option.]

Many thanks to the United Utilities gentleman who thought he had only come out to rescue his colleague in the white van !

Scale Hill Bridge looking back.

Safely home, we checked out the owl, the neighbours

and learnt that the Village Play tonight had been cancelled . . . not really a surprise !

He was looking much better. All day in the warm box has done him a world of good.

Phoning Muncaster Owl Sanctuary we checked out what he eats . . .

Haven't exactly got a fridge full of live mice, insects or grubs.

The best option at the moment is to dig a few worms from the compost heap and ask next door for some raw chicken from the freezer.

Returning an hour or so later the river has risen further and it would be difficult to cross even in a Land Rover.

The problem is that all that water is heading for Cockermouth

and I understand from the 10 pm news tonight that the Main Street is now 5 feet under water.

I think we are getting away lightly in comparison.

Our near neighbour was having real problems as the River Cocker was progressing across the fields and was within feet of his house.

Still there's little more either of us can do so I swapped a hot thermos for some cold chicken and returned home.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a bowl of instant Owl food in the cupboard.

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Previous walk - 7th to 17th Nov 2009 A November Miscellany

A previous time up here - 23rd October 2008 A stormy Loweswater 2008

Next walk - 20th Nov 2009 The November Gales Day 2