It’s been a long time since late June last year, when we received an early morning phone call from our neighbours in Seldom Seen. “There’s been heavy flooding during the night and the road is full of water and mud. You need to come – and quickly.”
We soon found what they had meant. Over the 24 hour period 100 millimetres had fallen on Skiddaw and the water from Whinlatter Forest above The Larches had to go somewhere.
Fissures in the forest road (above) and blocked culverts from inadequate maintenance had resulted in a large flow of water down the road; and once this water reached the low point of the road above us, it lapped over the side and raced down to the nearest point, The Larches. The photo above taken two days after the flood, shows a young girl and young boy marking with sticks where the flood water overflowed the road. A ‘breadcrumb’ trail of small stones was evident over a 25 metres stretch.
The stream of muddy waters, as it now became, poured down the wooded slope and past the Belvedere and our woodshed, filling the area behind the house with debris, mud and stones. The gas supply pipe was snapped and fire engines were called in case of an explosion before the mains supply could be located and capped.
Debris and water flow had prevented access to the houses up the Ravine Road above The Larches; and the back bedroom of the house, with a sash window smashed, had been filled with mud.
Now that’s all past and things are pretty well back to normal. Work has been carried out by the Forestry Commission to repair the road above us and build more culverts. More regular maintenance has been promised.
For the property there’s new flooring throughout the ground floor and new furniture and beds to replace all that was damaged. Outside all the wooden steps have been rebuilt with a new concrete platform at the 1st floor back door. Banks have been cleared, broken garden walls have been repaired and the steps and gangway to the Belvedere have been replaced
We’ve also taken advantage of all the downstairs wooden floors being taken up, to carry out some additional improvements. Old radiators have all been replaced and the old bathroom has been dismantled. In its place we have a small cosy bathroom and a new shower room, which are separated from each other by a short corridor. This leads directly through to the utility room, as shown in the photo opposite.
Suddenly it’s made the house feel bigger as we have direct access to the washing and drying facilities and garage without having to go up and down the outside steps. Never fun in the rain!
We have to give a special thanks to our architect friend, John Cook for his vision of how these changes would improve facilities here and for his plans of how to achieve this (See his photo opposite in the new bathroom). The contractors, Walker Brothers of Workington have done a fine job with the building work and we have received excellent advice and assistance from our Halifax Insurers.
Two nights ago we had a rousing party of 30 neighbours, local councillors and friends to inspect the house and drink a toast to a New Spring for The Larches. They confirmed the comments of our first April guests from Aberdeen, “Thoroughly enjoyed our stay in your wonderful house”!