As we watched in horror and disbelief over the weekend as some of our fellow countrymen were inundated by flood water for the third time in a decade we couldn’t help but reflect on how lucky we have been to dodge the devastation each time.
Of course, being up in the hills helps and it is a sad but inevitable truth that our rainwater is what ends up in other people’s back yards. The closest we have come to flooding is a foot of water in the cellar from which some very nice bottles of wine were thankfully saved and a summer flash flood which came off the fields behind us and inundated the office washing away a few overdue bills.
On Saturday afternoon we watched the weather worsen, the garden disappear under water and we placed buckets strategically under a few leaks. By the time Desmond had done its worst on Sunday morning we had lost several roof tiles and two small sections of ceiling – not enough to affect business, although the UK’s highest ever rainfall – 13.44 inches in 24 hours – had been recorded the night before.
With rooms to spare we felt unable to sit back and do nothing while so many people close by were battling with up to six feet of water so put out a call via social media to anyone stranded. That night our home became a welcome home from home for others.
Now the clean up begins. We aren’t native Cumbrians but I can tell you they are all a resilient lot. They’ll pick themselves up, dry out their boots and get on with helping themselves and each other. We will do what we can too. In the meantime, we are open, accessible and more proud to be adopted Cumbrians than ever.
But what everyone in Cumbria will need more than anything is support from you, the county’s friends and lovers. Devastating as the scenes of flooding are, they are specific pockets in a vast and diverse county whose economy relies on tourism.
So please, remember Cumbria The Lake District this Christmas and in to the New Year. For most of us it is business as usual, our county is as beautiful as ever. Come and stay, buy a gift voucher, visit for a day, buy Cumbrian for Christmas. Cumbrian tourism needs you more than ever to support us so that together we can support those who need our help.
For our part, for every gift voucher we sell between now and March 2016 we will donate 20% to The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015. Or you can make a donation of your own.
Finally, this from Cumbria Tourism:
Many businesses across Cumbria and the Lake District are open as normal, and with that in mind Cumbria Tourism has set up a helpline to provide visitors and businesses with up to date information, the Helpline Number is 01539 822222 or email [email protected]. Cumbria Tourism staff will be available to deal with enquiries from 9.00am to 5.00pm. For information outside those times please visit: www.golakes.co.uk
Whilst the recovery phase is underway we would urge visitors planning on coming to the county to check with their accommodation providers regarding accessibility. Before travelling please check the latest roads information at www.bbc.co.uk/travel/cumbria/incidents/road for rail enquiries please visit www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/today.aspx or their train company website for the latest information.