Return of Cracalt
6th December 2015
There is one walk that we haven't previously documented
because, one way or another, we have done it so often. Today
was different and merits recording. It had rained
solidly for about 36 hours. Not just drizzle but
torrentially and driven by gale force winds. The
news was full of how Cumbria had been affected.
river in Kendal was the highest it has been for at least
50 years and that is despite all the flood relief
schemes. Many homes are affected and many roads
and bridges closed. In Natland we have got off relatively
Road is underwater with the overflow from the flood
pond overwhelming the storm drain and so rushing down
where we are, we knew we would be immune from the worst
of the problems but have been taken by surprise by
water rising up through the stone flags in the cellar. Fortunately
the drain down there still works. It must have
been put in back in 1867 for exactly this purpose. However
in the 20 years we have lived here, it has never been
in use. It amazes me that it is not blocked or
that the water has not filled the pipes. Lord
knows where it is going. Presumably one way or
another down into the fields below but how does it get
Water, our name for the impromptu lake that appears
in the field behind us, is back- bigger than ever we
have seen it, despite the drainage system that has been
our relatively comfortable situation, it was impossible
to forego the temptation to explore the surroundings.
Driving was out of the question. We would
simply be adding to the congestion and we had heard
that all the bridges were closed.
I did want to photograph Cracalt Water from different
angles. Also I was curious to see the River Kent,
set off down the bridle path to Larkrigg then turned
right along the canal to view the rear of our house. We
were surprised to see the old canal, drained in the
early 1950s, looking fit for purpose, if rather lower
than its original depth. I
was able to negotiate a way across to photograph both
the house and the canal.
then continued to Hawes Lane and down towards the bridge.
Several new streams and one new river joined us
on the way.
bridge was closed to traffic. Not surprising because
the downstream wall on the far side had collapsed. I
don't think this was because of the river itself but
due to the torrent of water running down the road on
the other side, anxious to find the swiftest way down.
was clear from the debris that the level had been a lot
higher. That surprised me as it had been forecast
to peak in late morning and it was only now early afternoon.
decided to follow the easterly side path downstream
as far as we could. The open part was not a problem
but then in the wooded area the path becomes narrow with a steep drop to the
river. We didn't fancy chancing that but did
manage to find a way through, higher up near the stone
at the far end, we found the bridle path also transformed
into a river. Further along, at a gate, the next
rivulet was even wider and deeper with water rushing
through the "dry" stone wall..
foot bridge across the Kent had been taped off by the
police but the tape was broken, whether by man or wind
was impossible to say. However there was no way
we were going to risk it.
we reached the road from Sedgwick to Hincaster, we saw
the car which I already knew to have been abandoned as it had
featured on the news.
found Richard Gill's photo on the internet and he has
kindly allowed me to use it to show how high the water
had been just a few hours earlier. By the time we were
there in the early afternoon It must have subsided by some 4 ft or more
as the car was clear of the water. It still
looked in a sorry state. Perhaps the occupant(s)
were going to or returning from a party as clothing could
be seen inside the car, hanging from the grab rail above
a rear window.
walked up into Sedgwick, which seemed untouched
except that the cricket pitch was now underwater. Walking
along the canal bank, the lightly wooded section was
not badly affected but the fields before and after contained
large wet areas which were no doubt feeding the streams
we had crossed earlier. As we approached the bridge,
once again the canal gave hints as to how it might have
looked in its heyday.
we returned home, Cracalt Water looked even fuller and
the cellar still had one significant and several minor
fountains. As I type this, many hours later, it
still runs and I suspect it will for some while yet.
Sunday 6th December 2015
The event has had the pleasant by-product of friends
from distant parts getting in touch concerned to see
how we were faring. Pretty well, thanks for asking.
However, the photos on the internet of roads and bridges
washed away and homes under several feet of water makes
us realise that we are the lucky ones.
Height climbed: 301 feet
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