Today we were intending to meet friends in Ravenstonedale at the Black Swan Hotel for Sunday lunch. It is one of our favourite eating places, not least because it is such a beautiful journey there. The road goes straight over the top of the high Pennines, turns right at the Moorcock Inn and left at Pendragon castle - over the high moorland and into the dale. Even if you don't know the area, doesn't the journey sound lovely?
We set off at a quarter past eleven this morning along the high road through Wensleydale as we guessed the River Ure might be high. The weather here has been atrocious for the last three days - very high winds and horizontal rain. It was evident as we went along that the river, down in the valley to our left, was very high. In places it had burst its banks and was flooding the meadows; the sheep were all moving up onto the higher ground.
Then, as we approached the village of Hardraw, we saw a road closed sign to our left - which meant that Brown Moor road was closed - an ominous sign. We went on into the village of Hardraw and then down on to the bottom road and here we met a wall of water. We were able to drive through it, but only just. The road was under quite deep water and it was pouring over the top of the dry stone wall on to the road.
Sadly we turned round and came back. Thank goodness for mobile phones - at least we were able to phone our apologies. And as we ddrove back home we thought we should be grateful that at least it was not snow that was falling - unlike many places in the US at present. There is always another day to meet for lunch and the freezer yielded enough to keep the wolf from the door.
As I write this a few hours later, the wind has dropped a little and the rain has eased but in the field opposite the beck is full and fast-flowing and it is only a matter of time before that field is also deep under water too. But the water companies say we are short of water in the reservoirs, so they will be jumping for joy.