Lake District Roads


As surely everyone knows there are some significant and long term road closures in the Lake District. The A591 is shut between Grasmere and Thirlmere, Pooley Bridge is yet to be repaired and there are some other road closures on smaller roads such as the route around the back of Derwentwater.

The plateau on Catbells

The fact that Cumbria County Council have stated that it is unlikely that the road (A591) will be re-opened before May is surely nothing less than a national disgrace.

Businesses in the area are already suffering and will continue to do so. If you are a business in Grasmere then 50% of your traffic will be cut down, no-one able to get there from the north. However it is in fact worse than that. The national media (who love a good human tragedy) are constantly pushing out stories of devastation in the area with glee and thereby putting such a negative spin on the situation that visitor numbers are inevitably down.

Summit Hart Crag

What is majorly disappointing and not understood by those not in the know is that the Lake District is a year round visitor destination, particularly for those who’s main motivation is walking. The Lake District is not a summer beach destination like say Cornwall and Devon; poor early season sales do hit businesses. However Easter is one of the busiest times of the year and, with the roads not open, and poor publicity giving the impression that the area is under water, then visitors will simply not travel to the area. It does not take much for holidaymakers to alter their plans.

Frustration is a very English word to reflect the stoic nature of our character but actually I have heard a lot of real anger directed at a number of people/organizations: politicians, the councils and the media all need to take the blame.

Evening Light (2)

Lets be honest, if the A591 connected London with somewhere it would have been opened within a week. If a road bridge was washed out in the New Forest the army would have a replacement up in a few days and a ‘real’ example was the urgency to replace the rail line in Devon which collapsed after bad weather in the south west a year or so again.

Fair play to the SNP, I suspect Nicola Sturgeon would have moved heaven and earth (literally) if the A82 had collapsed near Loch Lomond (which it probably will soon). It is local people caring about local affairs.

Ullswater at Glenridding

Tim Farron (leader of the liberals!!) is a local MP and I heard him speak and although the words were fine he spoke with no authority and his words were ignored. It was weak. It is a real reflection of the lack of interest in the north and the lack of any powerful, unified voice. Feeble in fact.

Someone, somewhere with real influence needs to make a statement, a fuss, cause trouble and capture the imagination and insist that the A591 is reopened before Easter. I have visited the A591 site where the road has collapsed and there is room to re-route a short section. Even a temporary road will help. Meanwhile locals suffer, businesses suffer and tourists don’t book. I have heard lack of money is the main cause of delay and no-one taking responsibility a strong secondary reason; when I hear Cameron promising a few quid it makes me spit (the labour party being simply silent).

Sunset over Bassenthwaite

I have deliberately used photos on this page that do not reflect the damage caused by the flooding but photos of how lovely the vast majority of the Lake District still is. Even if the authorities continue to prove to be useless the Lakes is still open, walkers may even enjoy the quiet fells and pubs all the more!!

Jonathan


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