Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.

" Storm Desmond Hits Cumbria "

Date & start time: Saturday 5th December 2015.    8.30am start.

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

Places visited : Whinlatter, George Fishers, Whinlatter, Lorton and home.

Highest point : Being home and dry . . . apart from the feet !

Travelled with:   Myself . . . plus colleagues and  a celebrity in work.

Weather : Inclement . . . gale force winds, heavy rain, flood warnings.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


There are storm warnings out today and, as bad luck has it, they coincide with a working day for me in Keswick.

It is also a big day for the shop as we have a visiting celebrity leading a daytime walk

and also giving a talk in the shop this evening to fifty or so members of the public.

Best to try and get there if I can.

A couple of weeks ago I took this photo as I drove to work in the rain.  Then I highlighted the fact that the Newlands Beck

had just topped its embankments and was flooding the fields between Braithwaite and Keswick.

Today it was quite a different picture as I parked on the roadside on the Newlands Beck Bridge.

The road I took the other photo from was now under water.

The river had totally overflowed its channel and the two lakes of Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite

were effectively joined into one by the flood waters.

In town I stopped briefly to check out the new flood defences.     

The River Greta travelling down through town has reached the top of the stone walls

but the glass window built on the top of it, to increase its flood height by three feet, is holding well.

Life through the window . . . this is the bend of the river near the Pencil Factory and the Greta Bridge.

This is the first time anyone has seen the water reach up to the glass.

Previously the water at this height would be overflowing into the High Hill part of town.

- - - o o o - - -

I made it into work relatively easily . . . and on the ground floor the eight lucky winners of a competition are getting kitted up

for a short walk up Catbells with Kenton Cool, eleven times Everest summiteer

and mountain guide to Ranulph Fiennes on his climb of the North Face of the Eiger.

May we say, tongue in cheek, that Everest could not beat him but Catbells and the Lakeland weather has done so today.

The walk plans have been rightly changed to a shorter walk from the shop heading in the direction of Walla Crag.

Kenton is second from the right here.  He is accompanying today's walkers and also planning a talk in the shop tonight.

Chatting . . . prior to setting off into the rain.

A dry picture of the walk party before we opened the front door and let them out.

- - - o o o - - -

The morning was fairly busy with visitors and locals catching up on a bit of shopping.

By midday the group were back in the shop, safely out of the storm and full of stories about the weather.

- - - o o o - - -

By 12.30pm the word was out that the Police had shut the road at High Hill as the water level had risen to the top of the glass protection.

Time to be heading home while I could do so.

With my normal road closed I took the next shortest route out of Keswick over the bridge at Fitz Park.

The Greta was racing past the Youth Hostel and the houses that flank the river.

Upstream the footbridge was fine but there was a river of water coming off the park itself.

All the grass, the bowling greens and riverside walk were totally under water.

The A66 across to Braithwaite was like a raised roadway across the floods,

higher now than when I travelled into work four hours ago.

In Braithwaite the Coledale Beck was in full spate

reaching the top of the archway on the road bridge up to the Coledale Inn.

Below the bridge the residents of the cottage on the bend were out in force.

There were buckets of water being thrown back into the beck before they did any damage to the house.

Whinlatter was wet and windy, and every beck that crossed under the road was also crossing over it.

Here the old Swinside forestry houses were looking down on a very disturbed scene.

The Hobcarton Gill was joined by the Littlethwaite Gill

. . . and the river ploughed on . . . now taking on the name of Blaze Beck.

Flood water from the fields covered the Whinlatter Road as I drove down to Scawgill Bridge.

A tree had come down . . . but fortunately a small one and I was able drive under it.

Down the cut-off and the road passes alongside Blaze Beck (now Boon Beck).

An uprooted tree had fallen into the river and caused a blockage and so the road became a second avenue for the flood water.

Brown and Angry !!
The water rushes past the backs of the houses at Boonbeck.

Fortunately the water on the road decided to re-enter the river and not continue on into Lorton Village.

But the story didn't end there . . .

Boon Beck has obviously flooded lower down and the water must have crossed the fields and drained onto the Lorton Valley road.

It did this in the last floods and the road became impassable.

Unfortunately this car has tried to drive through the short flooded area next to the Winder Hall turn but had come to grief.

Driving against the flood water is always more problematic than driving with it as I had just done.

There was no-one in the car so I had to think what to do next about getting home.

The only option was to return half way up Whinlatter, under the fallen tree again,

and turn down the Swinside gated road.  Thankfully the bridge spanning that lot was standing clear of water.

Ahh . . . a stop to look at the view.

Difficult to tell from the picture but the whole of the valley seemed to be flooded with water.

It doesn't bode well for the villages and Cockermouth down stream.

The problem with the gated road is that it has two gates

and so I had to stop to open and close each of them . . . four trips out into the foul weather.

Coldgill Beck and its neighbour, both coming off the side of Whiteside, were in full flood too.

They passed the "Dry Wellie Test" and so I walked back and drove through successfully.

This is the River Liza running alongside and then under the road at Low Liza Bridge.

The river has drained out of Gasgale Gill, the valley between Whiteside and Grasmoor.

It has a deep 'milk chocolate brown' colour, indicative of major landslips and erosion upstream.

Fortunately the last hurdle was clear

. . . the river was backing up at the Scale Hill river bridge but the water level had not yet risen to road level.

It was mid afternoon and they were predicting another twelve hours of rainfall yet to come.

A short drive and I'm home and dry.  One minor problem to work out with a leaking back door seal but the kettle will be on for me soon.

Let's hope there's not too much problem downstream . . . but there's an awful lot of water in the river again.

- - - o o o - - -

Fishers shut the shop at 2pm and both the Kenton Cool talk and our tickets to the Keswick Theatre this evening fell victim to the weather.

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press 10pm :   Local news is that the flood defences both in Keswick and Cockermouth have both been breached tonight

and that at least one bridge is down here in this part of Cumbria.

In the village there's a large tree down on a side road so no doubt there's plenty of work to do in the morning.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.

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

This site best viewed with . . . somewhere warm and dry to stay tonight.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 25th November 2015 - Holme Woods with Mary ( not yet published )

A previous time up here - 19th Nov 2009 The November Gales - 2009

Next walk - 6th December 2015 - The Calm after the Storm - Day 2 -