How are the mighty fallen

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. In the forecast, East Wemyss was predicted to get the worst of the wind and we were worried for them. But fate was kind, and today East Wemyss was once again the sunshine capital of Scotland, as Tony and his partner Marianne found when they went for a chilly walk.

After a night of what sounded like apocalyptic winds, we were very relieved to find no more damage than a slate off the roof and some things in the garden blown about a bit. We had been lucky though, as the strong winds had ripped flat roofs off neighbours’ buildings, fallen trees had blocked roads into the town from all sides, mobile phone signals had disappeared, digital radios and terrestrial televisions were on the blink, and the rugby club had suffered roof damage.

We didn’t know this when we got up, but we thought that an exploratory expedition might be good, and everyone we passed had a tale to tell. Although it was still breezy and cold, it was sunny, and not an unusual day for late November, so the evidence of the strength of the overnight winds came as a bit of a surprise.

I took a lot of pictures, but one fallen tree may look quite like another fallen tree, and there were a lot of them, so I have tried to restrain myself from putting all the evidence before you.

We started by going down to the river to see a set of fir trees that had been toppled like dominoes.

We then visited the park, where trees big and small were lying around, and then and we walked up onto the Stubholm track, which was blocked.

We got round the tree on the Stubholm track by going through the field beside the track, but when we got to the slope down to the Murtholm, we were defeated by rows of fallen trees on every side.

We did find an alternative route though, by going through the bluebell wood and down the track beside the Hungry Burn. This involved a few scrambles, but we reached the bottom safely. We had the bonus of a fine set of turkey tail fungi on a fallen branch on our way.

We were slightly worried by the amount of trees leaning on other trees above our heads.

When we got down to it, the Murtholm track was blocked in both directions and the route back to the park along the river was impassible. A small diversion took me past the tree blocking the way to Skippers, and Mrs Tootlepedal leapt over it with one mighty bound.

More trees in the wood across the field were lying flat.

As we went along the track, the riverside trees had survived very well and we let our attention stray to other things.

The main road, which had been blocked by nine fallen trees earlier on, was open when we got to Skippers Bridge, but the traffic lights were not working and cars had to look carefully before crossing. We looked at the impressive new protective fence tacked to the the top of the wall beside the bridge.

We walked back to town, noting a peltigera lichen on a mossy tree stump, a fine display of chillis in the Douglas Hotel window box, the newly delivered town Christmas tree, and a large branch ripped from a pine at the Castleholm.

On the way, we collected our newspapers which had finally reached the paper shop.

Looking across the river from the Kilngreen, the inhabitants of the houses beside the river must have been happy to find that a tree had fallen away from them . . .

. . . and we wondered if the tree left standing will be left standing for long.

As I had promised Mrs Tootlepedal a belated birthday lunch, we were on our way to see if the cafe at Whitshiels had survived the storm. We feared that it might be shut, and when we came to the corner of the main road near the Sawmill Brig and saw the devastation there . . .

. . . our fears increased. The sight of a bent and twisted street light nestled among the tangled boughs did not impart much confidence.

Sure enough, the cafe was closed as there was no power, so we turned and walked back to the Eskdale Hotel and had our lunch there instead.

The peaceful nature of the scene at the Meeting of the Waters provided a curious contrast to the destruction all around.

The lunch was good, but we were glad to get home after nearly four miles of walking.

I took a moment to check on the birds before settling down.

There is a lot of work to be done by the power companies and the foresters before we will be back to normal. As we didn’t get the worst of the winds, it is hard to imagine what other places will be like. A sobering thought is that this was the first named storm of the season, so there may be several more to come.

I was a bit at a loss for things to do which required no energy in the afternoon. In the end, I filled up one of my coffee bean tins, and took all the old labels off both tins. This gives a good idea of the varied coffees we have been drinking over the past months. Food miles? What food miles?

Then I catalogued another box of recorder music (12 down, and maybe 8 more to go), and cooked some mince and tatties for our evening meal.

We get our television service from a satellite, and as a result we were unaffected by the loss of the terrestrial service, and we were able to watch Strictly Come Dancing. As our neighbour Margaret is a great fan of the show and had no telly, we invited her round to watch with us. We all agreed that in a perfect world, we would like less jumping about and more actual ballroom dancing in the show, but we enjoyed it all the same.

I didn’t manage to get a good flying bird of the day among all the excitement, so I have put three poor shots into a panel to try to hide this fact.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “How are the mighty fallen

  1. It was a wild night here too, and although I passed a few fallen trees on my morning walk, there were nowhere near as many as you saw. However, my bird table didn’t survive and nor did the garden fence. The wind didn’t really abate until late afternoon when it turned to snow. East Wemyss is looking like a very desirable place to live. Take care out those slopes.

    1. We got a bit of snow today but there was a good gap between the wind and the snow which let quite a bit of clearing up take place. I am sorry about your bird table.

  2. I’m glad to read that you rode out the winds without serious damage. The cut pieces of fallen trees look quite healthy, which speaks to the force of the wind that brought them down. Frightening!

  3. I am relieved that you are ok. I’d have been more than a little worried about walking around half fallen trees; fortunately, being able to clear them with a mighty bound might help protect you. I read several articles on the BBC today about the destruction the gale caused.

  4. That’s too bad to lose that many old trees. They’re an important part of the landscape.
    Good that your house didn’t suffer any serious damage.
    At least the town had sunshine to do the surveying in. Hopefully you’ll get phone, radio and television back before too long.

  5. Seeing the very local destruction wrought by the gale in your town, I cannot help wondering about the fate of some of those daringly leaning trees you have shown us on your walks. Time will tell. I am pleased that Mrs T could enjoy a birthday lunch after all, even if it wasn’t in the first choice venue.

  6. I understand that the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the M48 Severn bridge were closed, and that Gloucestershire has been particularly badly hit by falling trees. Round here, it appears that there’s not been too much damage, though, unlike yours, our municipal Christmas tree succumbed. I’ve just been restoring order in my own garden – not sure whether that the bins had just been emptied was a good or bad hing – and my long grass is horizontal, proving that the wind here came from the south-west.

  7. How sad to see all these fallen trees due to the weather conditions. Maybe some are also weakend due to the dry summers. Also here we see a lot of sick trees in the woods.

    1. As far as we know, there was no injuries to people at all, and not a great deal to property which was pleasing considering how many trees were felled.

  8. Pleased to see that your home and garden escaped any storm damage. It will take time to clear all those fallen trees. At least the homes with wood burners will be happy!

  9. So glad you escaped harm from the storm. Quite amazing to see, you have documented the destruction well. The Dunnock and the turkey tail fungi bring a sense of peace to the chaos.

  10. We occasionally get windstorms like that. I am glad you were relatively unscathed. Mosses, lichens and fungi and the very small made out well in the storm.

  11. Hello TP,
    We’ve waited such a long time for Arwen to be finally arrive and end up being named, but she clearly merited it. Very dramatic photos from your last 3 or 4 posts and one is left thinking that if it hadn’t hit in the small hours, the human injuries and worse would have been very significant. So good to hear that no major damage to your home, and best wishes for all those involved in the mega clear up,

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