It’s been a week now since I watched with horror on social media as water levels rose and rivers burst their banks in towns and villages all over the Lake District and Cumbria. Storm Desmond was the main story on every news channel, with Cumbria being one of the worst affected areas in the UK.
For some, the floods were devastating. One man died in tragic circumstances in Staveley, near Kendal, and I’ve heard tales about a number of animals lost to the waters – the story shown in tonight’s Countryfile on BBC1 was a very sad example. Many people’s homes were damaged, as were much loved businesses in the area.
I’m very thankful not to have been affected personally by the floods, and I didn’t venture out while they were happening as it would have been reckless to do so with emergency services already stretched. I therefore thought the best way to illustrate some of what I saw last weekend, and have seen since, would be to share a few tweets with you.
The sheer power of water
— Mountain Running (@Mountain_Run) December 5, 2015
— Chris Shaw (@grasmerevillage) December 6, 2015
Pictures we never imagined we’d see
Reports that the 18th century Pooley Bridge nr Ullswater has been destroyed by flood water. pic.twitter.com/kz3JiBZaMr
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) December 6, 2015
Amazing pictures of Pooley Bridge from the air. This is going to take some fixing. pic.twitter.com/LH5h4bpJwq
— Catstycam.com (@Catstycam) December 7, 2015
— CumbrianLass (@CumbrianLassCL) December 5, 2015
— martin campbell (@cumbrialivetv) December 6, 2015
— 21 Engineer Regiment (@21Engr) December 13, 2015
— martin campbell (@cumbrialivetv) December 13, 2015
— Steven Bell (@StevenLBell) December 9, 2015
— Jon Colman (@joncolman) December 10, 2015
Bouncing back stronger than ever
Now that the flood waters have receded, the message is that Cumbria is very much open and welcoming visitors.
It will take time for some businesses to recover, and for the worst affected roads and bridges to be repaired (the A591 closure between Grasmere and Keswick being the biggest challenge for those travelling around the Lakes), but it can also be easy to assume from the news reports that the whole area has been affected. This isn’t the case so, if in doubt, check with individual visitor attractions and accommodation providers, and look up the local travel news for all the latest information.
The Lakes is as beautiful as ever!
— George Fisher Ltd (@georgefisheruk) December 10, 2015
— Cumbria Tourism PR (@LakeDistrictPR) December 12, 2015
— Taste Cumbria (@tastecumbria) December 13, 2015
— Windermere Cruises (@Windermereboats) December 9, 2015
Messages of support
It was wonderful to see the number of messages of support received from those living outside the Lake District. I am sure the individuals who received such messages have been very touched. These people will definitely be back:
We had a great holiday in Lake district in late March – happy to go back to Cumbria -visiting and spending money will be vital to help
— Sue (@Labourcat) December 8, 2015
— Cumbria Foundation (@cumbriacf) December 8, 2015
Many people have been asking how they can help those most severely affected by the flooding across Cumbria (including towns and cities outside the Lake District such as Carlisle and Appleby). If this is something you would like to do, you can visit the Cumbria Community Foundation website where you will find details of how to donate money to the Cumbria Flood Appeal online, by mobile, or by post. Thank you.