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Date & start time: 14th to 16th December 2009.

Location : Cockermouth and Rannerdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Rannerdale Knotts and town centre shopping etc.

Walk details : 1.75 mls, 850 ft, 1 hrs 15 mins on the walk.

Highest point : Rannerdale Knotts 1,160ft ( 355m)

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Variable over the three days.

Rannerdale Knotts - a quick trip

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An afternoon walk to exercise the dogs and ourselves and to check out reports that the footbridge at the head of the Bluebell Valley has been damaged.

What we found was more dramatic than we cared to imagine.

But before then we had places to go and people to see . . . and that included Cockermouth.

The town is getting back on its knees . . . if not actually its feet.

This is Station Street with locals taking advantage of shops that were not damaged in the floods.

Mitchell's have made the old Job Centre building available

allowing many small shop units from Main Street to re-start trading.

Sainsburys is one of only two outdoor cash points in town now.

The sun is out, the streets have been cleaned and there's an air of resurgence about the place.

This is the bottom end of Market Place which also got flooded, but not as much as Main Street.

The Wishing Tree in Market Place.

Add your wish to the tree . . .
. . . as so many have done.

I was particularly drawn to this one which read

" We wish for our house to get fixed quickly and never flood again."

The River Cocker, a shadow of its former self that day, still less than a month ago.

This is the balcony of the 'Honest Lawyer' Restaurant, minus most of its planking.

The Cocker Bridge that had the tree caught in it . . .
. . . is still shut and still has debris under it.

Looking down Main Street from the eastern side, just by the bridge.

The street is closed to through traffic and the town is just full of contractors vehicles.

The two boarded up shops were the Granary Wholefood shop and the Babywear Shop, Little Treasures.

Lets hope they open soon.

One of the Doctor's Surgeries were too close to the river so they've set up a temporary home at the Cottage Hospital.

The Castle of Cockermouth, rarely seen (and never known to be open for visitors)

was built on high ground . . . sensible decision !

- - - o o o - - -

Later in the afternoon we drove to Rannerdale to walk the dogs . . . and ourselves.

Looking down on the meadows surrounding Rannerdale Farm.

The trees alongside the smaller cottage almost hides the devastation when Rannerdale Beck burst its banks and flooded the house and gardens.

Two Amigos on Rannerdale Knotts summit, with Buttermere and the high fells in the background.

- - - o o o - - -

We then walked along the ridge and cut down into the Squat Beck Valley.

After a short walk down behind Rannerdale Knotts we came to the area famous for the spring bluebells.

What a scene . . . the beck had flooded over the grass and brought down loads of boulders and rubble

which it proceeded to spread all over the start of the main bluebell area.

The course of the beck is deeper and wider than ever before.

Just behind the tree is the bridge . . . but it looks to have been moved.

The bridge has not only been washed down and sideways away from the path opposite

but the bridge supports on which it used to stand have completely disappeared.

Tossed aside like a rag doll.

This big boulder has been undercut on both sides as the stream took away the banks.

Before . . . the tree in May 2006
and After . . . the same tree December 2009

For the second time in twelve months, the local farmer's water supply has been disrupted

The previous time was the 'Mountain Marathon' weekend last November when they had less than half the amount of rain.

All those stones have to go somewhere and a grassy bank on the bend of the river has been changed dramatically.

- - - o o o - - -

A day or so after we were back in Cockermouth again.

This is the New Bookshop that featured heavily on the TV coverage that night.

The water reached the top line of writing on the brown tourist signpost next to the shop.

Mills Newsagent had its windows stove in and is looking very sad . . .

But they are up and running again, as the notice says, working out of Limelighting at the top end of Station Road.

The bank here is shut but Greggs is somehow open . . .

Perhaps it was an extra effort by the local workmen so as to be able to get somewhere open to buy their lunches ?

The Main Street is full of contractors vehicles

and yet the council have inexplicably put yellow lines down the middle of this side of the road . . . please someone explain !

A reverse of yesterday's photo, this time looking east towards the River Cocker bridge.

One of the classic old shops on the Main Street.

They have opened again further up town while renovations are under way.

Everything has been stripped out and taken away.

These were classic old wood and glass shop cabinets . . . lets hope they can regain the atmosphere of the place when they re-build.

White goods and boarding outside the Globe Hotel.

No Friday night drinking sessions here for the locals in Cockermouth for a while.

- - - o o o - - -

Turning towards home, the pub in Lorton is open again even though the folk on the other side of the river can't reach it.

- - - o o o - - -

We also took time out to see Southwaite Bridge, reportedly washed away or severely damaged, but certainly closed to traffic.

We were pleasantly surprised to see this grand old bridge still standing.

There's lots of rubble and debris but to my untrained eye the bridge looks secure

and with the lower water level the foundations look to have held despite the surge of water.

This was the bridge that a certain Mr Mark Weir and his tractor got swept off during the height of the floods.

It was more likely to have been this end . . .

when the water surged across the garden and the demolished parapet walls, taking him with it.

Now I though the danger was from deep water.

It's been a very confusing time !

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press . . . 22.12.09

Hi Roger and Ann.

I was looking to your site and saw the pictures from the damaged bridge
around rannerdale knots, then I remembered that we've took photos of it
in 2004 ... just have a look.

The one near the tree is our daughter ,the other one is Ria and myself aside the bridge. . . . Luc & Ria


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a dry home and thankfully none of the pain.

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Previous walk - 13th Dec 2009 A frosty but cloudier Low Fell

Previous times in Rannerdale - 8th May 2006 Helmut's Windy Day on Windy Gap - 24th May 2006 Rannerdale Bluebells in the early evening

Next walk - 19th Dec 2009 A short wintery tour of the Easten Lakes