Storms and floods wreaked havoc last month. We had hardly ventured out, not least because the situation raised my depression and anxiety levels. However, on the last Sunday of February, we walked to Nutclough to witness the effects on one of our favourite locations. As predicted, we found a very watery scene. Foamy torrents teemed from the weir. The firepit had been inundated. The stepping-stones had been swept away.
But strangely, the deluge actually made some areas more accessible. I bravely followed Phil up the muddy slope that I had refused to scale on our last visit, grasping at flimsy branches to prevent slipping. I clambered onto the fallen tree serving as a bridge at the higher end of the old mil ponds. Initially I tried to slide across without standing.
However, this proved impractical. Taking a deep breath, I stood upright and almost ran across the horizontal trunk. I had almost made it when I was startled by loud whooping ( the sound of children on the top path), triggering panic. Phil had stopped near the far end of the trunk to take photos. I pleaded with him to move so I could get back on firmer ground. It struck me that he had not commented on my courage in undertaking the crossing in the first place.
Below the waterfall, we discovered that due to scouring from the swelled waters, we could venture quite a bit further up than usual. This is normally only possible during a extended dry spells. Small copper beech, the leaves long-dried since autumn, reached towards the glinting water.
We precariously picked our way across a jumble of sticks and branches, adorned with unappetising fungi of ochre and black. The sunken bench was all but marooned on the flooded path. Phil daringly leapt over the swollen stream to a patch of shingle, practically the only part of the ‘islands’ that were not submerged. This was a step too far for me. I pottered on the water’s edge to examine pot fragments.
We took the path up to Birchcliffe, and walked down, pausing to admire tiny flowering moss atop stone walls. In the town centre, we found the streets and marketplace weirdly depopulated for a Sunday. Making our way homeward, we bumped into a friend and chatted as we walked. Her house being canal side, I was relieved to hear that she had escaped largely unscathed during the recent terrible weather.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjkK19zVvfQti9sw2im4qloAhpqL9g?e=ujqbz3