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" The calm after the Storm ... Desmond "

Date & start time: Sunday 6th December 2015.

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

Places visited : Local, Embleton, Dubwath, Loweswater and home.

The Lowest point :  The devastation due to the flooding

Walked with : Jo, Ann and our dogs, Amber, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : A calm day with little wind and no rain,  a real "calm after the storm".

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Day two and three and the weather is almost apologetic in its temerity. 

An early drizzle gives way to sunshine as we try and find a route out of Cumbria for our Scottish and Yorkshire visitors.

The extent of yesterday's devastating floods becomes all to apparent, both on the ground and via the internet.

- - - o o o - - -

The weather patterns we saw on the television at the end of last week suggested a heavy and continuous downpours over this weekend.

In 2009, when Cockermouth reached notoriety through severe flooding, they had predicted 24 hours and 8-10 inches of rain on the high fells. 

This storm was going to be similar to then but hopefully the new flood defences would hold.

As it turned out we had virtually thirty six hours of rain over the whole of Cumbria,

of which Honister recorded 13 inches (some say 14 inches) in 24 hours, creating an new UK record for rainfall in a day.

This rainfall has fallen over all the Cumbrian fells, not just the north western ones and has caused major flooding

in all four major towns of Cumbria, plus hundreds of villages and roads around the county . . . all the worst of the 2000' floods rolled into one.

- - - o o o - - -

Following on from my report yesterday

it seems that I got out of Keswick at just the right time.

The following pictures are copied from the internet today.


The lake level in Derwent water reached roof level

at the boathouse next to the Keswick Boat Landings.

( Rick Cooper )

The glass wall held for a while but the water overflowed in Keswick overnight.
The Coledale Beck went on to burst its banks in Braithwaite.
( Rick Cooper )
( Stuart Miller )
Whinlatter became impassable by the little Coledale Inn bridge.
The Braithwaite Shop suffered badly due to the flood.
( Peter Dransfield )
( Peter Dransfield )

The county's roads have suffered severly.

We heard about damage on the Dunmail Rise road

between Keswick and Grasmere.


The river had undercut and washed out the road

just up from the hamlet of Wythburn at the top end of the lake.

That will take some fixing.

( Susan Dixon )

It looks like Whelpside Gill has also covered the road with debris.
Major landslides cover the road past the lake has trapped several cars.
( Susan Dixon )
( Susan Dixon )

The crew has been out and have published these amazing aerial photos of keswick and Cockermouth.

and have a look at the BBC News 6th Dec video (no sound) if you would like.

[ Right click and open either link in another window or tab]

- - - o o o - - -

We discovered one of the old railway bridges

on the Threlkeld to Keswick footpath

has been washed away.


Jo sent us this picture

as she stopped for a walk on her way home on Monday.


That's Latrigg in the background

and the square building is the old Railwaymen's hut

at Brundleholme below Wesco and Blencathra.

(Jo Hall)

- - - o o o - - -

What follows from me may appear a quieter sort of day . . . but it was not without drama of its own.

We had Jo staying for the weekend and she'd quite like to head home . . . now to find an escape route out of the county.

- - - o o o - - -

Morning walk . . . down to the river to see the extent of the floods.

A pool in the fields opposite turned into three today . . . most unusual.

Grasmoor House has a large pool in the field but the house is built safely on a slight rise.

The river is still up, but chatting to a neighbour we discover it had been high enough

to splash over the top of the side parapets at this end of the bridge.

That would have made the water level at least four or five foot higher.

The water is flowing out through the stone arches . . . as it should.

Looking back across the bridge to the outline of Mellbreak across the 'new lake'.

Down into the car park alongside the river.

The forecast is to clear but not before a little more drizzle.

The course of the river is between the car park and that outer group of three trees.

The Water Depth Gauge hut has a 'tide-line' equal to the a height of the 2009 floods.

. . . confirmed by the tide-line of the debris in the car park

- - - o o o - - -

Jo had planned to go home to York today so we'd better start looking for a route out.

With Whinlatter and Braithwaite badly hit we decided to avoid them and headed out to Embleton on the A66.

The Silver Meadow wetlands site was now full to overflowing, causing a blockage on that road.

It was clear that the water had been across the whole road.

The road beyond Braithwaite was feet deep and consequentially impassible.

A lovely autumnal scene as the horses graze the meadow in front of the lake,

. . . except they were alpacas grazing the high ground away from the over-flooded valley of the River Derwent.

Around the corner and we were met with an impressive and dramatic sight of the river flowing under Ouse Bridge.

This is the lowland outflow of Bassenthwaite Lake, travelling through the arches with the force of a mountain torrent.

The  Herdwick Croft farm house is taking the full force of the water as it escapes around the side of the bridge at Dubwath.

It has demolished the field walls and is a raging torrent as it crosses the road . . . no way out there then Jo.

Behind the house in the caravan site, 'Trotters Farm' and a little further on, Armathwaite Hall.

Just visible in the last shot, but hardly in this one, is a blue 4x4 vehicle which has been caught in the floods.

You may be able to see a radio aerial or the hint of a flat roof just in front of the wheelie bin.

- - - o o o - - -

I think by this time we had decided that the route to Keswick was shut and we retraced our steps toward home.

- - - o o o - - -

The Lakes Distillery offered welcoming Christmas decorations but was shut today for obvious reasons.

- - - o o o - - -

A short diversion to Southwaite Bridge in the Lorton Valley.

There are several cars parked on this side, so we do likewise.

There has been major flooding, again mainly by the side of the bridge.

The river has demolished part of the walls and scoured out an area where they have been extending a house . . . hence the bricks.

The road is now passable via the large puddle, avoiding the piles of debris as you go.

Everyone is okay but there's considerable damage to the area.

Walking back over, there are cars parked out on the high ground.
The river is slowly retreating to its original course.

- - - o o o - - -

In Low Lorton we park at the junction.

The force of the water has lifted the tarmac close to where the white car was abandoned yesterday.

The road to the bridge is still covered in water as the drains are blocked.

The new bridge has coped well with the water but the area has been flooded once again.

Looking up from Low Lorton Bridge at the Lorton Valley and distant Mellbreak.

The new house at the river side has stayed clear of the water.

But the ones at this side have suffered again.

- - - o o o - - -

A quick drive down to Loweswater Lake while the sun is shining.

It is the highest we've seen, with the water level just a few feet off the road.

At Crabtreebeck the stream has blocked the culvert and overflowed the road again.

The house is unaffected, but then they have not been able to repair it since it got flooded two years ago.

It needs some boulders removing from the culvert entrance a.s.a.p.

Loweswater from Thrushbank . . . the water is flooding across the fields on the other side.

A quick dog walk with Jo to end the day . . . down past Church Bridge, passable again now the river level has gone down.

The local farmer has cleared the tree from the lane . . . and all is well in our small part of the valley once more.

We only wish it were the same for others.

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press:  

Irene and Steve left Loweswater and took 13 hours to drive back to the Isle of Sky yesterday,

dodging the floods at Cockermouth, Wigton and Carlisle along the way.

Jo got home to York before dark today, once the water went down and A66 was re-opened at Keswick.

- - - o o o - - -



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

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

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