Friday, 2 August 2019

More from the Yorkshire floods

More from the aftermath of Tuesday's flash flooding.

Absolutely everybody here agrees that even though we get flooding in the Dales on a fairly frequent basis, this flood has been totally different to everything that has come before. Flooding in the Dales usually means several days of heavy rain that steadily gorge the rivers and streams and spill out onto the flood plains. On Tuesday, so much rain fell in such a short space of time that what usually takes days happened in less than an hour, bringing speed and destructive power to the water. This can be seen in the scouring from the hillsides of boulders that are now strewn across fields.

And in the famous Red Lion pub in Arkengarthdale where landlady Rowena Hutchinson has been for most of her 70 plus years: she saw water coming in through the front door and went to investigate it, only to then be assaulted from behind by a wall of water rushing through the entire building, sweeping her off her feet and into water up to her neck and nearly drowning her. "I could have done without it."

Seeing the mess it has left behind for this genuinely wonderful woman was very sad to see.

Doug Barningham's farm further up Arkengarthdale had been hit hard with nearly 200 sheep being swept away. A small pile of sheep already recovered lay in the farmyard as a digger was busy clearing boulders away: despite the destruction and loss it was a case of "let's just sort it out and get back to normal". Their pony survived, swimming through surging flood waters to safety.

For the many people who know and love Grinton lead mines, it has changed a bit. Not just the well publicised collapse of the bridge, but what the water did before it got to that point: I spent many summer days as a child playing in the wandering little riverlets upstream of the bridge. Those have all been destroyed, replaced by one wide and deep waterway surrounded on both sides by boulders. And at the lead mines themselves, water had swept through the smelt mill, fortunately leaving it intact. But the same can't be said of the small tunnel that the stream flowed through alongside the building: despite standing intact for nearly 200 years, the water on Tuesday blasted through it leaving a small canyon.