BB1540 : After The Flood

Thursday 10th December 2015

It seems that the phrase "After The Flood" is the title of a Creationist book describing the early post-flood history of Europe traced back to Noah.  

It all sounds very dubious to me.  

However the recent rain in Cumbria was of biblical proportion and the resultant floods and devastation are very real.

It will be some time before we are able to visit the north of the county again as the road over Dunmail Raise has been washed away in parts.  

Pooley Bridge has also gone.  

More locally, the waters in Kendal, have been the highest for many years.  That they did not reach 1954 levels is presumably thanks to the 1970s flood relief work. Nevertheless, the Wildman Street area became part of the River Mint as it detoured from its normal route to join the Kent.  

Lyth Valley reverted back to wetlands with sheep stranded on the drainage channel  bankings.

All over the county there are many whose homes and livelihoods have been severely threatened. Fortunately there have been remarkably few deaths.

It was against this background that we plotted this week's outing.  We forwent the idea of a ghoulish tour of the devastation, not least because we thought we might not get through to our objectives, or worse, return from them.  Mosedale Cottage was quite out of the question and I suspect Uncle Monty's (Sleddale Hall) would have had its challenges.

Instead we opted to revisit the Windermere Three Peaks, last visited on BB1131.  

We even managed to attract Tony for a gentle walk following his motorbike accident.  

It is amazing what the promise of a Linthwaite sausage will achieve!

Sadly, Mike was unable to serve them to us, having fallen foul of someone's lurgi.

Looking north from Brant Howe

"You little beauty" says Tony

Tony eulogised about them as eusual.

Rather than face the pathless and busy road we headed in the opposite direction, taking the footpath southeast to Lindeth then the minor road back to the B5284 which we immediately crossed and set off up Brant Howe.  

The view was somewhat mistier than I had expected but it still a good panorama was provided over the length of Windermere.

Looking south

Next followed a slightly wooded viewpoint that we had visited previously but is not named on the maps.  A lady we met there with her two big dogs told us it was Post Knott.  I think.  We added this to the Windermere Peaks tally. 2.

Post Knott ?

Shell gate closer

Matson cygnets

Pod House

Matson bees

Matson sheep

After heading east along the Dales Way, past Matson Ground.  One sheep seemed particularly unfancied!

What have they got that I haven't?

We then bounced down to the golf club and back up past Cleabarrow to the stream that marks the turning for the seldom visited Grandsire (shown as Hag End on the 1:50k map).  This we had not included in the Windermere Three Peaks.  This time we did.  3.

Approaching Grandsire

From the top we watched a massive double rainbow form and reform without us thinking too hard about its implications, biblical or otherwise.

Dig for gold

From Grandsire you look over to the more popular School Knott. Now number 4 of the Three Peaks.   Between them lies School Knott tarn, one of my favourites and a good place to stop for lunch in what was now, we thought, a bright sunny day, albeit with a cold wind.

When we reached School Knott summit the consequence of the rainbow dawned on us.  Or rather it hailed on us.  It was a rush to get our waterproofs on.

Any thought of continuing on to Orrest Head evaporated.  Back to base. Distracted by the rain, we missed the path across to High Lickbarrow but nonetheless negotiated a sensible way back to rejoining the Dales Way.

Comitibus: below School Knott

Seen in a garden

To compensate for the lack of the fifth of three summits, John and Robin seemed intent on climbing a hill that faced them.  They were disappointed to learn that they had already been there- it was Brant Fell from the other side.

Windermere Golf Club yew hedge

Tony discovers a VR post box

Regarding the floods, we had seen very little evidence on the hills although the ground was often sodden and streams full.  But of course, the flood water drains quickly from the fells and the problems lie in the aftermath which is focused on the homes and businesses in the valleys and villages.

Development opportunity at Lindeth

The only other thing to add is that on return by the same detour via Lindeth, it became apparent that the house is empty.

Some type of renovation had been started but seemed to have ceased many moons ago.  

Strange for a property in such a valuable location.  

And one that doesn't flood!

Don, Thursday 10th December 2015

PS I am pleased to report that Tony's shoulder survived the outing despite him having fallen on it.  In fact, the fall seems to have freed it up somewhat and given him extra movement.  Clearly we need to push him over more vigorously next time.

PPS This four peak walk is actually much more manageable from Linthwaite than the BB1131 three-peaker as Orrest Head is quite some distance further on.  And back.

Kendal Flood Appeal

To see the extent of the floods in Cumbria, have a look at this BBC Newsbeat helicopter video .

If you want to know more about the flood relief effort and how you might be able to help, have a look at the Cumbria Community Foundation webpage Flood Appeal Launched.

Alternatively visit their JustGiving page.

For more information about the history of flooding in the Kendal area click on Kendal floods.




Thursday 10th December 2015

Distance in miles:

9.6 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

1,657 (Garmin / OS)


Brant Fell, Post Knott, Grandside, School Knott


Don, John Hn, Robin, Stan, Tony



What follows is an article taken from the CLEO (i.e.Cumbria and Lancashire Education Online) Archive.

Flooding and Flood Alleviation

Flooding is generally caused by excessive rainfall, melting snow or very high sea levels. It has been going on for thousands of years but man's interference with the natural state of the river can have a significant effect on flooding. Many properties over the years have been built in the natural flood plain of  the river or in low-lying areas near the sea.

River Kent - Kendal

The town of Kendal, which has developed along the banks of the River Kent, has a history of flooding which has been recorded as far back in history as the 17th century when the Castle Mills Area and the Parish Church were effected by flood water.

The flood of November 1898 is thought to be the highest recorded flood in Kendal.

The flooding of land and property in Kendal happened to some extent once in every 10 years, this being known as a flood frequency of 1 in 10 years.

On the 2nd December 1954 the highest flood since 1898 was recorded in the town.

Looking down Stramongate to Sand Aire House

Looking up Stramongate from Sand Aire House

In total almost 300 houses were flooded, in excess of 70 other properties including shops, factories, schools and churches were also affected with many more isolated by the flood water.

At the height of the flood 158,000 m2 of land in and around Kendal was under water.

At the peak of the flood approximately 280 m3 of water per second was flowing through Kendal.

River Kent - Kendal Flood Relief Scheme

Following the Floods of 1954 and 1968, the then Lancashire River Authority designed a Flood Alleviation Scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to the majority of Kendal. The design criteria were to convey, without flooding, 280m3 of water per second (280cumecs) this being the peak flow of the 1954 flood, through Kendal.

Construction work on the Flood Alleviation Scheme or as it was then called River Kent - Kendal Flood Relief Scheme started in 1972, the work was undertaken in 6 phases or sections and took 6 years to complete at a cost of approximately £1m.

To achieve the requirements of the design, improvements were carried out on 5.6 km of the river from below Watercrook up to Mintsfeet on the north side of Kendal.

The work involved the widening and, in some locations, deepening of the river channel.

The section of river between Nether Bridge and Miller Bridge, in the centre of the town, was originally only 20 metres wide at its narrowest point and this was widened to 38 metres. Almost 36,000 m3 of gravel and soil was removed from this section alone.

During the 6 phases of the Scheme 240,000 m' of surplus material or spoil was removed from the river channel the majority of which was used to fill agricultural land on the south side of Kendal which is now the location of a Business Park and Asda.

Where the river was deepened the foundations to the existing river walls needed to be protected or strengthened and this was achieved by the construction of stone faced concrete buttressing to the base of the walls. Where the river was widened new walls or Limestone block bank protection was built. In total over 2,000m of buttressing and 1,700m of new walls were constructed.

It was also necessary to protect and in some cases deepen the foundations of the existing bridges throughout the town.

Due to the need to open up the river to almost twice it's original width in the section below Miller Bridge a new footbridge was built to replace the original Jennings Yard Bridge.

To prevent the riverbed from becoming dried out at times of low flows small weirs were built across the river at regular intervals.

As part of the Flood Alleviation scheme earth embankments were built to prevent flooding at Mintsfeet and also at Helsington.

At Helsington an automatic flood control gate was fitted to the Millrace to prevent floodwater from entering and flooding the properties protected by the embankment.

The build up of gravel within a river can greatly reduce the size of the channel and seriously effect the ability of the river to cope with flood flows. The River Kent transports many tonnes of gravel at times of flood, which is then deposited as the river slows.

To enable the river gravel to be removed more easily and to minimise the accumulation of gravel within the town section of the river, a large lagoon was constructed at the confluence of the River Kent and River Mint on the north side of the town, the purpose of the lagoon is as a gravel trap.

As the river enters the gravel trap the flow slows and the gravel is deposited. The quantity of gravel within the gravel trap is monitored and then at frequent intervals removed.

In 1985 a flood of the same magnitude as that of 1954 passed through Kendal and was fully contained with no flooding within the protected area.


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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

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