Just another gig?
A journey home through Cumbria in the floods of December 2015
An account by Ed Lloyd Hughes (
Mad Ed)


Just read the snippet about Martin Bennett's Old Green River Band almost getting stranded in Barrow in Furness on Saturday night. Here is the story. The band set off for Manchester from Roa Island about midnight, wind howling, rain lashing, having been assured by Cumbria Fuzz that the A590 was clear as far as the M6. Naturally the road was closed 3 miles short of the motorway where a sodden policeman informed the members of the orchestra that "there was no way out of the county tonight"  Thanking the constable through gritted teeth Martin Bennett roared into the unremitting maelstrom his steely gaze piercing the darkness, coldly determined to battle on. Wiser counsel prevailed however and he got back in the band bus.

Abandoning the A590 for the 592 they arrived in Windermere having weaved around abandoned cars, collapsed walls, assorted debris and a great deal of water only to be confronted by another closed road, this time without a doughty constable in attendance. They ploughed on only to dive into a 4 foot deep flood from which they were able to reverse, but not before collecting several gallons of Windermere water in the footwells of the bus. A bit more judicious use of a Tom Tom satnav along a mile unpaved lane got the slightly damp ensemble through Windermere town and off towards Kendal. The intention being to cross the river Kent and make for the M6. Again floods and abandoned cars littered the road until Kendal was reached and the river was crossed without difficulty.

Here was relief, here was time to celebrate and congratulate each other on the triumph of will over adversity.....the next 20 minutes or so would see the easy ride home on the M6.

There is a roundabout by Kendal station. This is where the river had taken temporary occupation in the form of a raging torrent. Up a side street was a fire engine wedged against a row of houses, abandoned and semi submerged. Not out of trouble yet then, but wait. Here stood a solitary figure, in waterproof gear surveying the scene. " Where ye going?" "Manchester" "Where ye come from.....Roa island? Bloody 'ell, you've done well!"

Five minutes later the band were on their way along the A65 bound for the M6 thanks to this hero who guided the whimperingly grateful crew of 6 old codgers through the town and over the river. A few more floods, numerous abandoned vehicles, found the band bus on the M6 and away, as a stream of flashing blue lights on the Northbound carriageway told of deep distress.

Ed Lloyd Hughes


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