No Escape from The Borrowdale Floods!

10 03 2012

On our trip to Rosthwaite, Borrowdale in February, I was still trying desperately to get some fitness back after winter. Over-eating (my normal state as eating is my other main hobby), reduced exercise over the winter months, and getting older so now being able to put on weight, had taken their toll and I was developing a belly not-to-be-proud-of. I was also having some tendon troubles… However, courtesy of the weather, lots of exercise was not forthcoming!

After our first night, when it rained heavily non-stop all night, we awoke to see Rosthwaite ‘paddock’, where the famed fell races start and finish, was starting to subside under a new lake. We’ve visited Rosthwaite many times over the years and it is a place which does flood a lot, but somehow we’d always missed it so this was our first time of ‘The Borrowdale Floods’.

Paddock Lake!

Richard wasn’t keen on setting foot outside at all but, when it slackened off a little, I told him it would be great to go out with our cameras and capture the devastation. We donned full waterproofs and set out, first down the main road towards Keswick which we knew would be thoroughly blocked.

Just round the corner out of the village, the rest of the road subsided underwater for around the next half mile solid – we could tell how far it went from the bow-waves of the large vans which were making it through. There were some car-drivers attempting to brave the route like this one below…

Who soon had to reverse back again!

Water under the road bridge…

We then went to see whether it was possible to get up the Watendlath track to see the flooding from above. As we regained the village and set out over the bridge to the track up the valley side, we were met with two sights… One was this bath which was, at around a foot underwater, a trifle full!

The second was the start of the Watendlath path which was completely underwater so we took the footpath towards Stonethwaite behind, and across the river from, our accommodation. The flooding wasn’t as bad as some years as our hotel, the one to the right of the white one (The Scafell Hotel) didn’t have the river flowing above its banks and along, and through, its walls. There have been many times when the water has flowed into the bottom rooms and the proprietor’s accommodation.

We followed the footpath, at this point quite high above the river, until it descended to the river bank on the bend opposite Stonethwaite. Then, as you can see from the photo below, the path went resolutely underwater for a few hundred yards.

Oh well, time to back-track again… The rain came on heavy again by the time we reached the village and Richard disappeared back to the hotel. I decided to head off down to the other river where the packhorse bridge and stepping stones lead to paths up the other side of the valley for Castle Crag, Dalehead and Honister Pass. I thought the stepping stones might be a no-go and I was right – they’re somewhere under this lot!

I continued on down the lane to the Packhorse bridge which should look like this:

But was actually like this!

The path the other side was completely under flowing water, just leaving the footbridge over a side-beck sticking out of the water. There were a few others taking photos down here – well, what else was there to do?

After taking loads of photos, I headed back to the village and took off up the main road in the other direction towards Seatoller and Honister Pass. I managed nearly a mile out of the village but, just before Mountain View Cottages, met this flood round the next bend…

So it was back the way I’d come again. This time I turned off on the Stonethwaite road hoping I might get up that way. I reached the school about quarter of a mile down the lane and could get no further. I thought their playground and playing fields were interesting though – hope the kids are good swimmers!

Heading back to the village yet again!

Luckily, when the rain stops in Rosthwaite, the roads and paths quickly return to normal and I finally managed to get out for a quick trip up the Watendlath Path just before dark.

Just one more photo which I find amusing and fits the post but is actually from quite a few years back – a Scout camp in Ennerdale!




6 responses

12 03 2012

I bet the Scouts never forgot that camp! Very impressive pictures, especially the packhorse bridge ones… Good luck with getting out there in the Spring. When you say 37 Munros to do this year, is that total to finishing the list or just what you’re planning for the year? How are the Skye ridge plans going and did you set up a Just Giving page for sponsorship?


12 03 2012

Hi, I haven’t managed to set up a ‘Just Giving’ page as the charity in question aren’t set up on there unfortunately 😦 So it’s just going to have to be good-ol’ cheque sponsorship. My guide is all booked for the Cuillin – just have to find some nerve from somewhere now! 😮

I just have 37 Munros left in total but would really like to get them done this year then I can set about getting other things seen and done! I’m dubious whether I’ll get all 10 Cuillin hills I have yet to do done this year though – some of those might have to be carried over to next year.


10 03 2012
Scotlands Mountains

Those pics reminds me that the Scottish summer is almost upon us 🙂


11 03 2012

LOL! Yeah – if it’s anything like last year’s! I really hope you have a better summer this year – I’ve got 37 Munros to get done!


10 03 2012

It may have been warm so far this year Carol, but its been mainly wet & cloudy 😦 That stretch of road heading into Rosthwaite, floods fairly often and at Stonethwaite campsite you are no longer allowed to camp on the islands

Personally I prefer the snow & ice of the previous few winters, the roads are just as impassable but at least you can get a view from the hills.

Its great you & Richard braved the weather to get a few pics 🙂


11 03 2012

Apart from going walking, I prefer my winters warm and damp but I know what you mean from a walking perspective. It doesn’t really inspire you to get up the hills when it’s dull and miserable does it. Think that was something which didn’t help the ‘belly not-to-be-proud-of’ this year! At least that’s shrinking a bit now I’m getting going…


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