Those of you who keep a watch on the Lock’s weir monitor or the Settle weir webcam will have seen the river this week at its most impressive. The flood reached its peak on Wednesday afternoon when the river was so high it over topped the wall at New Inn. I came back up from Settle early afternoon on a road that resembled a flume and found Newhouses lane under several feet of water. I had a choice, sit in the car all afternoon or abandon the car in the car park and walk. The latter seemed the preferred option, but with the family jewels submerged in freezing water just below Harber Farm I was having second thoughts. The lane rose above the flood just beyond the farm so a brisk walk home restored some circulation.
Its turned colder this weekend with some snow on Friday night and crisp, clear days so the flood has subsided. The sun has poked some life into the Tarn webcams, just in time to spot a solitary cormorant on Saturday morning. This was encouraged to go elsewhere. The gales on Friday night have blown Norman off his perch. I left him alone over the weekend because even prostrate he provides some deterrent. I pick him up tomorrow and see what may be done to restore him to health.
I’ll also walk up from Helwith Bridge again to check for flood damage as a lot of brash got left on the fences after the last flood and this recent one will have pressed against this stuff.
This week is forecast to be a bit calmer. Fingers crossed that it is so because trout will be spawning very soon.
Sorry for the silence yesterday. Just as I sat down to writhe the weekly blog someone threw the great master switch and all power north of Horton village went off. I guess that the slight damp that we had over the weekend finally got somewhere vital.
That’s really the story of the past week; unrelenting wet culminating in a major flood on Saturday. I have seen the river higher and more rain on the pastures and meadows in the valley, but not by much. The river reached 1.46 meters at Locks weir just above Settle in 2012 and the monitor registered 1.42 on Saturday.
The Tarn is full to overflowing with water standing between the small dub just beyond the lodge and the Tarn itself. Its been so dull here for the past fortnight that the webcams have gone off line having exhausted the power in the bank of batteries. So far I have seen little evidence of cormorants on my visits possibly because they find flying difficult in a monsoon.
My plan is to check the fishery below Horton for damage now that the river has subsided and I’ll try to do that tomorrow. My main concern is the stiles that have just gone in and the bankside fencing on the Deighton water. This was vulnerable to erosion and the volume of water striking that bend on Saturday will have had some impact.
I went down to the Foss on Monday and joined a throng watching one of natures wonders. Salmon were attempting the falls in high numbers and I counted fish leaping every 20 seconds on the lower fall. These were clearly not the same fish as they varied in size from 4 or 5 pounds up to a monster that must have bothered the scales at around 18 pounds. Most of these fish were well coloured with just one or two showing a light pewter. There was a good mix of cock and hen fish so all else being equal it may be a decent spawning season.
Since Monday it has rained off and on culminating in a very soggy weekend that’s brought the river into full spate. I went over to Malham yesterday in a virtual monsoon and over the top of Malham moor I began to wish that the car came equipped with an outboard there was so much surface water on the road. The journey back was just as bad with added interest provided by a small herd of Highland moo cows that had taken up station in the middle of the road in thick fog just beyond the Airton turning. Edging slowly forward had no impact on their inclination to move and I wasn’t about to explore the moor to the side of the road. Just as I contemplated getting out to discuss the situation with the herd leader she decided that it was time to move on and led her sisters off just far enough for me to edge past. I know that Highland cattle are docile, but the sight of a thoroughly wet and belligerent bovine equipped with a set of four-foot horns three inches from the car window on a moor in the middle of bu*g*r all is slightly unnerving.
To be continued.