Tradition in the Face of Adversity


At Pig Row we live on a hillside, we live on the moors and weather here can be challenging. Clouds here can barrel down on us, rain turns to snow, snow to drifts and then there was yesterday. In the Calderdale Valley and the Saddleworth valleys a month's rain fell. We saw the moors run as they struggled to deal with the rain, streams became rivers, rivers floods and roads filled up as the water found a way into the valley bottom and people's homes and businesses. Across the whole of the north of England, towns, villages and hamlets were deluged and places, such as, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden became flood plains. The new flood defences at Todmorden failed leaving the main street, schools and shops coping with a problem that they thought they would never have to deal with again. Roads and villages around Pig Row, including the main trunk road to Huddersfield, sunk beneath several feet of rain water. Clear rain turned to a murky mess as drain after drain failed and spilled back out into the eddying flood. Mud, debris, gardens, people's possessions were all washed away. Walking down the Tame today, we saw objects from up the river, clothes, garden furniture and objects that no longer resembled anything after the river had turned them over again and again caking them in silt. The Tame in Delph has deposited silt banks and eaten away at the banks, you can see were people have battled with sand bags to keep the rising waters out of their homes. As we walk down the Tame, there are no people, just sand bags. The people exhausted after a night of battling nature. The plants on the bank have been flattened, at one point on the river their is a row of houses, in the garden are chickens roaming free range. They have been joined by ducks who have fled the river and who are tentatively trying to get back into the flow of the river, they manage to do so but the river is still fast flowing and they are gone in seconds swept away towards the Tame Valley. There is more rain coming, our hearts go out to the people of Calderdale who have bore the brunt of these storms. People though are working to help those victims of the flood in this valley and you can join the group here, donate what you can.

In Delph though the flood waters have receded and the banks though they broke did not spill down the high street. It would have been easy for the people of Delph to cancel the Delph Street Fair but when we arrived with our PigCam, we found local people chipping in to bring stalls that had been moved indoors to avoid the rain back out into the sunshine. It is always important to remember that when things are bad, when the floods come, as they always do in these valleys that people you may never have known, spoken to or even met, will step up and help you. The river levels are dropping, and the flood alerts have dropped from the 50s to the 30s but there are people who have nothing tonight. So, regardless of where you are, join the groups on Facebook to support those people who have lost their homes. I want to leave you with a video that I took today with the PigCam, in which a group of women celebrate the traditions of the Saddleworth valley. It reminds you that even in the face of adversity people carry on to make the whole community smile.



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