Last week Northumberland saw storm Arwen arrive in the region and what a storm it was!
I don’t think anyone was quite expecting it to cause the destruction that came with it and the clean-up operation that followed.
As it happens Rob and I were staying at Guillemot (below) finishing off the refurbishment, set to enjoy a relaxing weekend by the fire, enjoying the fruits of our labour before announcing the cottage as being open.
The evening of 27th November was quite an experience. Huddled in our cosy new cottage with the log burner on, we had a rap at the door. A visitor from over the road came to tell us our fence has succumbed to the winds and it swaying, having snapped off at the posts.
Being too windy to head out we thought it best left while morning. By 11.30 pm we lost electricity and our main hope was that we’d all sleep though the banging, clattering and groans of the night and there would be nothing we couldn’t fix in the morning.
After a long night of a 13 month old that couldn’t sleep and realising the only light we had was a small hand torch and two phone torches, we just had to cross our fingers and hope we’d have enough phone battery to get us to morning!
The next day, neither of us expected what was waiting for us in the light of day. Rob, hood up and head down decided to walk to the garage for some more fire wood while we were waiting for the power to come back on. As he battled his way up the street, still in gale force winds, the damage around Seahouses was becoming evident.
The streets peppered with slates, guttering and chunks of buildings, scattered like confetti. Walking the high street, he felt it best to walk back via our other cottages, expecting one or two slates to have moved, we were devastated at what we found.
Running back to Guillemot, Rob burst in telling me ‘the roof at the back of St.Cuthbert’s Cottage, Rachel, it’s gone’! Never in a million years did we expect this level of damage and just like that, the end of 2021 took a very different turn.
Our main priority of course were our guests, aware that phone lines, internet and all modern communication was out of action we had to brave the elements once again and head out on foot to gather them up and move them to Oystercatcher Cottage, (which was closed for some seasonal maintenance) where it was safer.
Seeing the damage in Seahouses and along the North East Coast was devastating, damage to forests and landscapes that will never be the same again.
Thankfully, with good teams around us repair work is already underway and we hope the roofer will be arriving next week to put St. Cuthbert’s hat back on!
Once we’ve been able to put the cottage back together again, we’ll be able to reopen to our guests.
Fingers crossed the 2022 season has less in store for us!