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Bad weather - surely we are not this easily gulled?

We are now being gravely assured that recent floods in Cumbria, which inundated Cockermouth, where the poet Wordsworth was born, are somehow new and due to climate change. History is not the long suit of these commentaries, so we turn to the Englishman in his castle for an account of historic flooding-

August 1829 Disastrous

floods of all rivers between Moray & Angus, after torrential rains 2nd to 4th August, with NE winds & waterspouts. Stone bridges and houses washed away in 5 or 6 counties, coastline altered at river mouths. (July had been very thundery in the South, but cold with night frosts in Scotland).

September 1839 : N.E. Scotland. Severe

flooding after heavy rainfall. Damage/destruction of bridges in the area.

November 1897 Exceptionally

heavy daily rainfalls included 204mm at Seathwaite (Cumbria / Lake District) on the 12th November.

July 1907: Heavy thunderstorms

occurred across a wide area of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. These caused extensive flooding in urban areas and severely damaged standing crops in the countryside.

January 1974: 17th: 238.4 mm of rain fell in a 24 hr period

at Loch Sloy, Strathclyde (near Loch Lomond) the highest such 24hr period total for January known, and the highest known for Scotland for any month. Rainfall totals for the month exceeded 1000mm at a few sites in western Scotland.

One of the news photos showed an old lady being carried out of her flooded home in the arms of a stalwart fireman. We are sorry for her distress. We know what it is like to be flooded out of a home and to escape from your front door by rowboat. Worst of all is cleaning up, a very muddy, smelly business.

Wordsworth gives us hopes of a happy ending in his poem Resolution and Independence (1807) -

There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters. . .


Wordsworth's home, a National Trust property, in Cockermouth
Image: National Trust

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