Posts Tagged ‘Flood’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  His son has got a scientific rain gauge and it had plenty of rain to measure this morning.

bruce rain gauge

There had been rain overnight and it was still raining hard after breakfast so I went down to the river to see what was what.

It was a grey day!

gloomy day

There was plenty of water coming down the Wauchope but not as much as I expected..

wauchope quite full

…and there was remarkably little coming down the Esk which was still running grey compared with the brown water coming out of the swollen Wauchope.

wichope brown, esk grey

I went home and got ready to receive a visit from our friend Sue who was going to brave the weather and come for lunch.  She arrived safely, having negotiated some rather soggy patches on the way, and we had just finished lunch when our neighbour Jane came round to ask if we had seen what was happening to the dam that runs along the back wall of our house.

We went to have a look.

flooded dam

This was a surprise and not a very welcome one as the water was above the level of the ventilators in our side wall.

Sue thought that this might be a good moment to go home and she left.  We were pleased to get a a phone call later on to confirm that she had arrived safely, only having to make one diversion where the main road to Brampton was flooded.  She did well to leave when she did, as the main road south out of Langholm was blocked by a landslide shortly afterwards and was closed for several hours.

It was obvious that the sluice controlling the flow from the Wauchope into the dam was not closed and it was lucky that Jane was able to contact a man from the business that uses the water from the dam.  He came with an engineer to see what could be done.

I went up to look at Pool Corner where our dam originates at a caul with the sluice. The caul couldn’t be seen at all and it was obvious that that the rain must have been very heavy in the catchment area for the Wauchope as it had risen a tremendous amount since I had checked earlier on.

wauchope spate at pool corner caul

The water was pounding round the corner and not just in the river…

flood at pool corner

…but along the road beside the river as well.

road flooded at pool corner

Looking at the flood wall which has the sluice in it, it was clear that the sluice was broken and not holding back the water at all.  Several sandbags were lowered to see what would happen and they were swept through the sluice in a matter of seconds.

sluice at pool corner

In the end a board was lowered and secured in place…

pool corner after repair

…and as unlikely as it looked, and in spite of continuously rushing waters…

spate over caul at pool corner

…the work did the trick and the dam level went down.

dam less flooded

You can see the water level on the wall of the house…

damp mark on house wall

…and we were grateful to our neighbour Kenny who provided an old table and helped Mrs Tootlepedal to fix it as a protection to our back door when the flood was at its height.

It was a close run thing.

back door protection flood

Kenny also paddled with me along the banks of the dam to the grid which stops rubbish getting swept into the culvert which takes the dam under our neighbouring streets, and he raked as much debris from the grid as he could.

When the water level had fallen, I went along again and cleared the grid again.

Luckily the heavy rain stopped while all this was going on and although it has rained again off and on, the levels have stayed well down and it is not due to rain heavily again until tomorrow afternoon.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that the temporary board in front of the sluice will hold up.

It didn’t help that all this took place on a Saturday afternoon and there will quite a few phone calls to the owners of the dam on Monday morning.

A blackbird kept an eye on the comings and goings…

balckbird om hedge

…and I noted the one cheerful item along the dam, this fuchsia which we passed on our way to clear out the grid.

fuchsia on flood day

It was a very warm and muggy day and when it stopped raining, the birds soon appeared in the garden.  The sparrows stayed in pairs…

two sparrow panel

…but the blackbirds stood alone.

blackbird on bench

Flowers had survived…

cle,atis on flood day

…and looked surprisingly well…

clematis flood day

..and there were even new flowers to be seen.


We kept a nervous eye and ear out for signs and sounds of more rain but as I write this, things are calm and the dam has stayed quiet.  More rain is still forecast for tomorrow afternoon but we hope that it won’t fall in the same spot that it fell today.

The almost flying bird of the day is a blackbird taking a running jump rather than using its wings.

jumping blackbird

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Today’s guest picture shows that it isn’t raining everywhere.  It is another in our series of exiled grandchildren of Langholmites and shows one year old  Elliot,  grandchild of our neighbour Gavin, sledging in America under the eagle eye of proud father Fraser.

Elliot sledging

There was no sign of snow here on midwinter day as it was another warm, windy and wet day.  We were woken during the night by a positive battering ram of rain beating on the roof with all the zest of Ringo Starr at his drummiest.

I went to see what the river looked like in the morning….

Esk in flood

…and found it full but not overflowing.  The cutwaters on the town bridge were earning their money…

Town Bridge

…but the rain had stopped and there was no cause for alarm.  It was reported later that two towns in the Lake District had suffered a second bout of flooding and with more rain forecast, you have to feel really sorry for them.

I looked at the meeting of the waters….

Meeting of the waters

…stopped to snap a fungus by the waterside…

fungus Mary Street

…and went home.

Some birds were neatly paired in the garden.  Two jackdaws….


…and two starlings.


Others were more haphazard.

chaffinches and blue tit in plum tree

There were preparations to be made for family visits over the festive period but they didn’t take too long so after a light lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I combined a walk down to Skippers Bridge with some shopping.

The puddles in the Murtholm fields were big enough to be classed as ponds and the nearest one had two herons….


…who rudely flew off without waiting to be photographed.

Someone had told me that the roads maintenance men were standing on Skippers Bridge earlier in the morning anxiously peering over the parapet at the damaged cutwater but it seemed no worse than it was when we looked at it last week.

There was still a good deal of water going under the bridge as they say.

Skippers Bridge

I enjoyed the shape made by steps and stream beside the road at the bridge.

steps and stream

On our way back, we passed a little stream gushing down the hill beside the road….

stream at distillery

…it passes not only under the road but also under the old distillery on the other side of the road as well and then out into the Esk through a pipe.  I am not sure that I would be entirely comfortable with a stream running through my house but the distillery building has been there a long time so perhaps it is all right.

Further along, another stream ran under the roots of a tree before spilling over the wall onto the road.

A7 stream

More little landslips seem inevitable if this rain goes on.

On the other side of the road, there was no dipper to be seen on this occasion, only rather depressed trees.

trees under water

When we got home, I plunged into a hot bath in a vain effort to ease away some aches and pains in my hip.  Still a good laze was very welcome.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see one of the ‘live’ streamed theatre pieces which they show there.  This was  a performance of the Nutcracker by the Royal Ballet from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal, who loves ballet, enjoyed the performance very much.  I went with every hope of enjoying it but unfortunately Tchaikovsky’s music actively annoys me for some obscure reason and as the classical dancing style doesn’t really speak to me at all, I found it very dull.

The camera work made things worse by being much too close to the dancers who were almost always filling the centre of the shot so that although I could appreciate the skill and strength on show, I couldn’t get a good sense of the movement about the stage.

Still, I shouldn’t grumble as it was interesting to see a top quality work in our own town and at a very modest ticket price.  You can’t expect to appreciate everything.

The lack of rain combined with things to do, has put back my review of the year in pictures.  I apologise.

I found a flying chaffinch in the morning.

flying chaffinch

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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.



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