The Great Spud Flood (of October 31st and after)

Behind the house we have a large, sloping field owned by a local farmer. When the house was built this field was not used for anything other than grazing - but lately it has been rented out and used to grow various crops, the most problematic of which is potatoes. They need fairly deep drills, and that can lead to a run-off of water when it rains heavily.  We had an incident soon after we moved in, in November 1994, and worked out a good system with the farmer to handle drainage and potential run-off. No problems for 8 years, until this year when the sub-contractor (****) left the field in a really bad state!

Just as we were settling down to a quiet and uneventful weekend this October 31st I happened to look out of the window. It was 10 pm and dark, but the house lights picked up an alarming swirling mass of muddy water. I opened the back door, and could hear the sound of a stream in spate .... rushing water! Alarmed, Mike and I donned our wellies and waded out into about 1' of churning water that was pouring  into our back garden as the field emptied its muddy overflow. The current was strong, and the water swirled round the house and down the drive and out into the road, taking our drive with it and depositing layers of mud.

We called out the emergency services, and they prepared to sandbag the house should the water level rise any further - and we spent a sleepless night as we watched helplessly!

As light dawned on the Saturday we surveyed the wreckage of our garden, paths and driveway. It was too wet to venture out - so these photos I took of the damage were not taken until Sunday morning, almost 48 hours after the event. 

Currently we are seeking some redress against the sub-contractors, who were responsible for the damage - that damage is extensive and will be VERY expensive to put right. And we don't see any reason why farmers should be free to cause such careless damage and get away with it! If we did such damage to someone else's property we would be held responsible and liable .... we want the offenders to pay up!

Our gravel drive was washed away in deep runnels as the water surged down the drive

and most of it was deposited out in the road!

The water swirled round the house, dividing into two strong streams that met as they funnelled down the main drive.

Several tons of gravel were washed down the drive.

The paths round the house, the patio and work areas that are slabbed, are all covered with thick layers of mud. The house has a lovely area of white and golden decorative gravel too ... that now is caked in mud. It will be a  huge job to replace it all!

The water level rose to about 1' and almost came into the house itself. All the storm drains and main drains will need to be cleared out, as the mud that cakes the patio and paths has also flowed down into the drainage system.

We wrote to the sub-contractors the following weekend - Mike had an appointment at one of the local hospitals on the Wednesday following the flood, and wasn't well enough to do anything before then. More than two weeks later we are still awaiting the courtesy of a reply - perhaps they won't be so prepared to ignore a letter from our lawyers!

25 November 2003

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Mike and Elisabeth Liddell 2006-13

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