A near thing (I hope)


My own picture above shows Skippers Bridge in August this year and today’s guest picture, which was taken by my recorder playing friend Susan, shows how it looked this morning.

skippers in flood

She told me that it was too wet and dangerous to try to get a better position for the shot and I can believe her because it was a horrible day here from start to finish.

If shots of rivers aren’t what you want to see, this is not the post for you as there was nothing else to see in Langholm today and there is a flood of river snaps.

As there was our monthly producers’ market to today, I combined a visit to that with an early inspection of the state of our rivers after a night of heavy rain.

10 a.m.

I battled through the wind as far as the park bridge where I looked down the Wauchope.


There was just enough room for it to sneak under the Kirk Brig and join the Esk on the other side.  The Esk was running fairly briskly when I got to it…

Esk in flood

…and there were brave souls standing admiring the flow from the suspension bridge.  I looked back from the Kirk Brig at the Wauchope and Caroline Street…

Caroline Street

…and thought the residents were probably hoping that it would stop raining quite soon.

I walked up the river to the town bridge and and looked at the junction of the Ewes water with the Esk.

Meeting of the waters

The bridge itself is a stirring sight when the river is in flood…

Langholm Bridge in flood

…and is a tribute to those who built it and those who have maintained it over the years.  The drop in water level as it goes through the arch is impressive.

Langholm Bridge in flood

The rain was pelting down and I didn’t want to get my camera too wet so I popped it back in my pocket and made my way to the market where I stocked up on fish, cheese, venison and honey.

I had to battle the wind to get home and it was altogether quite an invigorating if damp experience.  I warmed up by making a leek and potato soup for our lunch.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had to go out to do a little shopping and when she returned, we went out for a second look to see how things had developed.

2 p.m.

The river hadn’t risen as much as I expected in the face of the continued rain but the flow over the caul at Pool Corner was powerful.

Pool Corner in flood

The structure in the foreground is the channel leading water into the dam which eventually runs along the back of our house but fortunately for us, the sluice gate was firmly shut and the dam was merely a trickle.

We went into the park and watched the Esk lapping over the bank onto the grass.

park in flood

We paddled through a large puddle in our wellies…

Park in flood

..and walked round the church and looked up the river.

Esk in flood

The suspension bridge had sensibly been closed by this time….

suspension bridge in flood

…and we walked up to check that the town bridge was still there…

Langholm Bridge in flood

…and took a look at the meeting of the waters above the bridge….

Meeting of the waters in flood

…before beating a retreat to the warmth and comfort of home.

We were joined by Dropscone who had wisely decided not to play golf as he had mislaid his snorkel and flippers and came round for tea and shortbread instead.

When all the shortbread had gone to a good home, Dropscone went off too and I made another excursion to see how the rivers were doing.

It was still raining.


The far end of the park and the river had become one by this time…


…and the Esk was sweeping through the trees on the bank in fine style.

park in flood

The Esk was getting ever nearer to the top of the wall along George Street and the strong wind was whipping the up the waves as they went past.

George Street in flood

There were very real fears of a damaging flood by this time and teams of volunteers were helping hand out sandbags and police were checking to see that riverside residents were ready for evacuation if needed.

Once again, I didn’t stay out long as the unrelenting rain made photography tricky because I don’t have one of those handy all weather camera covers.

I made one last excursion after the light had gone.

7 p.m

The rain had stopped for a moment but the river was at its highest.

There was a fire engine parked outside a flooded house and police and council vans showing that the situation was being taken very seriously.   Sand bags were in place and parked cars had been moved away.

Elizabeth Street in flood

There was still a foot or so to go before things got really bad but even in the dark, the Esk looked ominous.

Esk in flood

I went out for another quick look later on in the evening and mercifully, the water seemed to have dropped a little bit but as I am writing this, the rain is once again lashing against the windows so we will see in the morning, whether the threat had passed or not.

There was no flying bird in these conditions and I was amazed that a siskin had even made it to the feeder in the 40 to 50 mph winds.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “A near thing (I hope)

  1. It’s a long time since I was on WP, but had to login tonight to see how you had fared with the dreadful weather of the last few days.

    Great reporting Tootlepedal and pleased to see that you appear to have got through without flooding. I feel very sorry for the residents along the river banks though, must be awful knowing you are so close to being flooded. I hope there is not much rain tonight. Good luck and stay safe.

  2. Your horrible situation has been the subject of sympathetic discussion between your sisters and me today in London. Mary and I thought ourselves hard done by when we just received a terrific buffet from the rear at one point (no rain). The bright pink pellets are going down a treat, thank you. The starlings are enjoying them too.

  3. I’m glad to read that the sluice gate was closed to keep the water behind your house in check. Your chronology shows some very scary conditions.

  4. You have been in my thoughts today as we have seen the pictures of flooded towns and villages in the North and West. Your report of your day in Langholm is quite moving – I feel for the people whose homes are in such danger.

  5. Having read this…”Hurricane-force winds over UK mountains this evening. 95mph gust Great Dun Fell (Pennines). 130 mph gust Cairngorm!”…on the local meteorologist’s blog, I was worried that you’d be blown away. He didn’t say anything about the rain or flooding, stay safe!

  6. Do hope you awake to find good news but the reports on facebook from Dumfries & Galloway mention Langholm and it sounds very worrying. Flooding is frightening, we’ve gone through a couple of nasty events.

  7. I’ve been seeing some very worrying weather reports and having checked your blog today I see it’s quite scary in your area. The Esk looks ferocious! I do hope the flood waters recede soon and few houses are damaged. Thinking of you and hoping all will be well for the people of your region. Thank you for braving the conditions to share pics with us.

  8. Oh my gosh, your pictures are terrifying. I haven’t been round to visit your site in awhile and was therefore even more shocked by the rise of the river. The contrast you’ve shown in those first two pictures really tells it all. But, those later photos you captured… all I can say is wow. Very scary indeed. Stay safe.

  9. My Goodness! That all looks very alarming. Great pictures of the rising waters as it happened. Hope there was abatement during the night.

  10. Thanks for the update and please be careful, I am amazed that you could document the flooding so well. I prayed immediately for your safety when I heard the news.

  11. Wow those pictures show a raging river. You’ve covered it better than any news hour could have. Such ferocious waters. I do hope you are being safe taking these photos!!

  12. Great reporting! We have heard about the high winds here in the States but I had no idea that there was such heavy rain and flooding. Our city is situated between 3 rivers and has a history of flooding, which can make one feel quite helpless. Stay dry and safe!

  13. This reminds me of the Itchen a couple of springs back. It flooded the road by the White Swan and the pub was underwater. Along the shore the sea came right up across the road and into the park. I do hope it stops soon.

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