In 2005 Carlisle was unexpectedly hit by devastating floods and 1600 properties were affected directly. Many householders lost everything and when the water subsided, every home affected had a skip outside. It took some over a year before they were able to return and then on 5th December 2015, when those same residents were preparing to celebrate Christmas, they were flooded out again in the aftermath of storm Desmond’s record breaking rainfall. This time 2100 properties were inundated.
Carlisle is at the confluence of three major rivers, the Rivers Eden, Caldew and Petteril, and is therefore highly prone to flooding. The city has a long history of flooding with notable floods in 1771, 1822, 1856, 1925, 1968 and more recently in 2005. The 2015 flood level on the River Eden was 0.6m higher than in 2005.
The 1/8 scale model pictured, is a work in progress and is being created by Phil for C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2017. Note the logo on the side of the skip which is the alchemy symbol for gold rising out of the alchemy symbol for water. It resembles a cocktail glass. Some did undoubtedly profit from the misfortune of others.
The prophesy shown above was on the front page of the 2005 Cumberland News souvenir edition. Today, some properties still have a skip outside. Some homeowners have left for good, their houses up for sale or sold at auction.
Armathwaite Bridge is a special place for us. It’s where Phil proposed to me on a wet August Bank Holiday weekend and it was the backdrop for our wedding photographs on our sunny April wedding day two years ago. Last week I celebrated my 50th birthday and Phil gave me a painting he’d done while I was away. It’s oils on copper and was just about dry in time … Good job I didn’t look in the airing cupboard !
Armathwaite bridge ‘Sunrise’
This weekend Armathwaite bridge is a very different place. After a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours, the Eden has burst its banks and is a noisy, wild and angry brown torrent. The path I take every day to walk the dogs passes under the first arch on the left. There’s no sign of the kissing gate which is now under water and the river today was almost to the top of the arches.
Bridge over troubled waters
We tried to get to Armathwaite castle yesterday to see if we could help but we were too late; the water was swirling across our path and we couldn’t get down the driveway. Only the roofs of the first storey were showing above the water today and we’ve seen an emergency vehicle going down the driveway to the castle.
The trees along the bank are now standing in the river.
The tide mark of leaves shows where the river reached during last night.
The river Eden at Armathwaite
Ten miles down river, Carlisle was hit by floods in 2005 and was described as a 1:250 year event. Then they were hit again in 2009 and work commenced to improve flood defences. We looked at the local news this morning and once again homes in the centre of Carlisle have been inundated.
We consider ourselves very fortunate to be warm and dry.