Last week we were finally able to begin the task of diverting water from an old, inadequate drain into a new channel that will by-pass the village of Braithwaite and lessen future risk of flooding. The Trust’s archaeologist, Jamie Lund had visited the site and researched archive material before we started work.
|Ranger Joe at work & Reiver on inspection patrol.|
|One of our fantastic regular volunteers.|
The existing drain runs under an extension to an old building that is now Coledale Inn. It began life in 1824 as a carding mill but by 1867 had been purchased by Robert Wilson of the Cumberland Pencil Company. In 1898 it was destroyed by fire. Attempts were made to divert water from the old mill pond to douse the fire as the fire engine made its way from Keswick. The splendidly-named English Lakes Visitor & Keswick Guardian reported on Dec 24th 1898 that … the fire engine (horsed by a pair of good animals and driven by John Nelson of the Blencathra hotel) … made its way to the fire. Perhaps predictably, all that remained the following day was the pitiful sight of the shell of the building. A subsequent meeting of the shareholders (including Canon Rawnsley, one of the founders of the Trust) decided to sell the remains and it was then rebuilt as Coledale Inn.
So, this site has long been an important part of the village. Once our project is complete, water will be channelled across the mill pond and out the other side to avoid building up a head of water there. Following Jamie’s advice, this part of the channel has been dug out by hand to minimize the risk to the site.
|More volunteer power.|
I worked alone for one day; had a fellow ranger Joe with me on the second and then had three volunteers on the third so it has taken seven days of hand digging to complete this section. We completed just over 30m which is brilliant.
Fortunately we can now bring in contractors with a JCB to complete the job. All being well that should reroute at least 80% of the flow that threatened the village with flooding.
|The end-of-the-day clean-up.|
It hasn’t been a particularly glamorous task but sometimes we just have to get our heads down and get on with a job. Sadly, there were no exciting archaeological finds to reward the hard graft!