Local Historical Weather Events and Facts

SHAP

  ADDITIONS MADE:

  27.01.17. - Newspaper accounts of a storm and deaths in 1775 and of deaths by lightning in 1846 - see 'Other weather'.

  08.02.15. - Chapter Started - many thanks to Jean Jackson of the Shap Historical society for providing information on some of the people mentioned below. Also Mark Beswick at the Met' Office archives.

 

  In the introduction to the 'Historical' section I had originally stated that I would not be including Shap - obviously I have had a change of mind.

  A lot of the information sourced in respect of all of the villages comes from the 'British Rainfall Guides' (BRG - commenced 1860 by George Symons) and for many months now I have been quoting the observations of a Mr. W.A. Hoggarth that appear in the BRG on the main page of this website - and I decided that I should really collate them all and make them available, hence the reason for my change of mind.

  The issue for myself will then be how much more information to include and how much research to do, so overtime this page will grow, but it is in no way meant to be exhaustive. However, should you have any knowledge of the people mentioned below, can correct any inaccuracies or indeed have any more interesting facts, information or photographs, please get in touch (e-mail address at the bottom). However, I have included all the up to date monthly rainfall data and averages from the Met' Office site located at Wet Sleddale and I will keep this updated.

  Shap is a linear township lying at 840 Ft above sea level (asl) and lies both as a gateway to the eastern Lake District and the Eden Valley, particularly when you exit the adjacent M6 motorway at junction 39. Because of its elevation and proximity to the fells it can create its own weather and has a slightly iconic status in the world of the weather watcher. In the days before the M6 was built, when the A6, which the village sits on, was the main south-north road and passed over Shap summit, there are many stories of stranded vehicles and their occupants stuck in snow and the assistance offered to them by the villagers.

  Even here at Maulds Meaburn, just 3 miles away in a straight line, the weather can be so different to that at Shap, rarely worse though (sorry). The Met' Office have a weather station at Shap, which is actually outside the village at Wet Sleddale and which really should be referred to as Wet Sleddale and not Shap as once again and despite the proximity, the weather in Wet Sleddale will actually be slightly wetter and colder than that experienced in the village. Indeed the site at Copy Hill which I will now go on to mention, is far more representative of the village than the Met' Office site at Wet Sleddale.

  Before 1919 when the 'Manchester Corporation' moved into town and who provide fairly exhaustive rainfall data for the area, annual totals at least, we had Hoggarth followed by the 'vicarage years (1899-1912) when various incumbents seemed to take on the task.

  So to Mr. W.A. Hoggarth who is at present proving to be an elusive character and various searches have at present failed to find any further information concerning him, but his weather observations are thorough and most interesting. In the BRG he is listed as the 'authority' for the rain gauge at Copy Hill and whilst his 'hard data' is solely that of rainfall, his general observations are none the less important.

  Hoggarth's observations cover the period 1874-90 and should be read in conjunction with those of Mr. W. Wilkinson, the school master at Reagill, who also made weather observations for exactly the same period and which can be found in the 'Crosby Ravensworth' chapter (link below).

  Quite clearly Hoggarth kept a 'weather diary' (see below), as his observations are very detailed and these would be a wonderful find, as would be more information about him. When his rainfall records ceased, Symons, in the BRG, makes no further comments about Hoggarth and he does not appear in the obituary for that or subsequent years. This is slightly unfair and unusual as from 1881 he was also responsible for further rain gauges that Symons personally set up at Sleddale and Swindale and which also ceased in 1890 and with no further comment or explanation as to why.

  Hoggarth took daily rainfall readings from his site at Copy Hill, the gauge having been supplied by the 'British Association for the advancement of Science' and quite perfectly it was of standard design with a 5 inch diameter set 1ft above the ground.

  Copy Hill is situated just to the west of Shap in an isolated position about halfway between Keld and Shap (photo below) and the rain gauge was set at 852 Ft asl.

  Firstly though and for completeness, a few details about the first rain gauge that was set up in the vicinity of the village: during 1866 Symons visited the Lake District and placed numerous gauges, there was a genuine lack of knowledge of the rainfall of the area, especially the further east that you went. Symons stated "No.42. Wet Sleddale. The most easterly of the new gauges, being 18 miles east of Seathwaite; it is placed at the head of Wet Sleddale, 500 yards S.S.W. of Seat Robert and 200 ft below it." The gauge was set at 1500 Ft asl and at that point Symons estimated the annual average at 93 inches.

  In the 1897 edition of the BRG Symons informs us that this gauge was in operation during 1867-72 and had a mean annual total of 88.1" (2237.7 mm), but unfortunately in the editions for those years he only provides the annual totals for 1867 (87.00"), 1868 (108.75") and 1870 (101.0"), with no explanation for the missing years and why they stopped and he also lists himself as the 'authority' for the gauge with no mention of the person whom actually read the gauge (monthly).

  Symons also makes the following comments: in 1868 after 108.75" (2762.3 mm) "... a place evidently most appropriately named." and then in 1870 after 101.0" (2565.4 mm) Wet Sleddale will be seen still to justify its name, the fall being the only English one (except the Seathwaite group) exceeding 100 inch."

  We then waited a few years before Hoggarth started his observations in 1874 - there is a lot of them and in keeping with the time they are heavily influenced by the weathers effect on farming. They are listed in entirety below:

 

W.A. HOGGARTH

   Hoggarth may have only had a rain gauge, but he most definitely kept a very concise diary and it really is a remarkable record. Fortunately for us he submitted his observations to the BRG, but I have struggled in vain to find any record of the man, let alone his diary and records**.

  Some of the entries are quite detailed, giving the timings of storms, etc and details of rainfall totals from such storms and then also very descriptive and some are quite stylised and they become more detailed and plentiful with time, although the last two years are fairly sparse.

  But they are a delight to read, give a real sense of how the weather does affect daily life, especially in the farmers life and for those who work the land and which in his time would have been many. They fuel our imagination of what life would have been like and allow your mind to drift, but are also an important historical record of the weather.

  ** - some of Hoggarth's records do still exist and can be find in the archives at the Met' Office library in Exeter, Ref: Y12.D1-D3. These are 'Daily Rainfall Data for Shap Copy Hill - 1882' and likewise for Swindale Head 1885, but which is described as being in a bad condition.

July from Hoggarth's weather diary for 1882 

 

 

  And so to his observations:

 

          1874

  One note for this year is the fact that Symons annotated the annual total of 60.06 inches with a (?). This was not questioning the accuracy but stated due an element of doubt. The doubt being caused by the fact that in the same year a Mr. Abbott had a gauge at the Greyhound public house and the total for the year was ... 60.06 Inches! What is the chance of that? And this is the only year in which Abbott was mentioned.

  The only curiosity is that Hoggarth's first daily entry is from August, so maybe he set his gauge later in the year and used the Greyhound data to create a complete year? However, it is all fascinating stuff - all punctuation, etc is that of Hoggarth/Symons and any comment marked with a ** was also commented upon by Wilkinson at Reagill.

 31st Aug -   'Between 9 a.m. 30th and 9 a.m. 31st, heavy rain and great flood'  

 6th Oct -  'High winds and great fall of rain this day (3.70in.) and as 1.05 in. fell yesterday, there are great floods, much land is under water and some roads are are flooded'  

 21st Oct -  'Very stormy and much hail'  

 20th Nov -  'Sharp frost at night'  

 12th Dec -  'Rain and snow, one flash of lightning at 4.30 p.m.'

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 SEPT  - 'Considering the quantity of rain that has fallen, mostly in the early part of the day, September has been a warm mild month; harvest has all been gathered in; potato crops are good in               Westmoreland; thunder has been heard and lightning seen, but at a great distance'  

 OCT  - 'Thunder, lightning, wind and heavy rain have been frequent during the month; total fall 14.82 in' (376.4 mm)  

 DEC  - 'The ground so covered with snow that farm work is suspended, except that of leading manure on to the meadows; all the ponds and rivers are ice bound'  

 

          1875

  The comments regarding individual days:

 12th Jan -  'Lightning'            19th Jan -  'A great storm of wind and rain causing floods'            24th Jan -  'A great storm'  

 21st Feb -  'A great storm of wind and bitterly cold'  

 20th Apr -  'Very hot with distant thunder.'          21st Apr -  'Bitter cold easterly wind            29th Apr -  'Hot, with distant thunder'  

 15th June -  'A great storm of wind and rain'  

 3rd Aug + 1st Sept -  'Thunder'            19th Sept -  'A storm of thunder and lighning.'          27th Sept -  'A great storm of wind  

 10th Oct -  'A great storm of wind and rain; 0.96 in., max of month'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 FEB  - 'About the middle of the month, frost, snow and cold N.E. winds set in, making it very unpleasant for a great number of people who are at present suffering from colds, &c; a few bitterly cold days ended the month.'  

 MAR  - 'Farm work much kept back by the hard frost at the early part of the month; grass land looks much as it did at the latter end of December. Lambs seem to have come a month before their time. The mountains are thickly covered with snow. the farmers took advantage of the dry days at close of the month to cast in their seed.'  

 APR  - 'The month began with bitterly cold days and heavy showers of rain falling for the most part during the nights. Farm work going on in good order.'  

 MAY  - 'The month commenced with cold S.E. wind and cold showers; about the middle, fine warm summer weather occurred, then cold with drenching showers to 24th; then a few cold windy days. The month ended with three dry days, the 30th and 31st being as hot as if in August.'  

 JUNE  - 'Rather a wet month, at times very hot, but more frequently cold; Thunder frequent but distant. The air generally has been damp during the day-time, cold at night. The hay promises to be a first-rate crop; corn, potatoes and other crops are all looking well.'  

 JULY  - 'Began with wet, but it lasted only three days and was followed by fine weather, though there were occasional showers. The hay is nearly all secured in good condition and is a good crop'  

 DEC  - 'The early part seasonable for the time of year; hard frosts with little snow; the 12th was a warm spring like day, followed by a few fine days and since then it has done nothing but rain, accompanied by rough wind; the 21st was the wettest day in the year (2.40 in.) causing a great flood and keeping the land for several days in a very wet state. Loud thunder and much lightning have occurred during the night. The pastures are fresh and green, plants and trees are forward in bud.'  

 

          1876

  The comments regarding individual days:

 1st Jan -  'Very mild, warm and bright, quite May like.'  

 13th Feb -  'A fall of snow.'           14th Feb -  'Bitter cold thaw.'          17th Feb -  'Great storm of wind and rain; 1.21 in. fell.'          21st Feb -  'A perfect deluge of rain; max fall of month 1.32 in.; wind SW.' 

 8th Mar -  'Storm of rain (1.11 in) causing floods.'           14th Mar -  'Heavy storm of wind for several hours, displacing slates, chimney pots.'            29th Mar -  'Heavy fog at night.'  

 5th May -  'Distant thunder.'  

 21st June -  'A great storm of wind which lasted till 6 p.m. and was followed by loud thunder at 7 p.m.'            25th June -  'A little grass is already cut, one field of hay was housed today.'

 8th July -  'Thunder.'           14th July -  'At 8.10 p.m. there was not a cloud to be seen; this clearness lasted several hours.'          22nd July -  'Lightning at 11 p.m.'           23rd July -  'Thunderstorm at 2 a.m.'  29th July -  'A great storm of wind swept over this district.'  

 16th Aug -  'Loud thunder; no rain.'                     18th Aug -  'Dry; thunder.'                 21st Aug -  'Distant thunder.'                  24th Aug -  'Loud thunder, cold and rain.'  

 30th Aug -  'A great storm of thunder and lightning, commencing at 7 p.m. and lasting till 10 p.m. No damage done in the locality.'  

 7th Sept -  'Very loud thunder at 5.25 p.m.'           19th Sept -  'Very hot all day; frost at night.'             30th Sept -  'Strong wind.'  

 10th Oct -  'Thunder and hail at 5.25 p.m.'            11th Oct -  'South wind and heavy rain, 1.62 in., max fall of the month.'           13th Oct -  'Thunderstorm.'            19th Oct -  'Quite a summer day.'  

 8th Nov -  'A bitter cold day, with snow.'            14th Nov -  'A great storm of wind and rain; max fall 1.02 in.' 

 2nd Dec -  'On the night of the 2nd and morning of the 3rd, a dreadful storm of wind (S.E.) with rain, swept over this district, causing much damage to the roofs of houses, &c, and blowing down trees.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'A dry month; snow fell on several days but not in great quantities; frost did not last long; the weather on the whole was too mild for the time of year. Plants and trees in a forward state and birds singing as if it were spring; fields looking very fresh and green and farm work in a forward condition.'  

 FEB  - 'The month began with a few miserably cold, wet days and frequent, but not heavy snow; this was followed by a frosty period, but on the 14th a bitter cold thaw took place and from that date rain fell every day in large quantities, which kept the rivers full and the land in a very wet, cold condition, outdoor labour being nearly suspended; lightning and thunder only once or twice during the month.'  

 MAR  - 'A prevalence of hail, rain and snow, with frequent thunder made the weather miserable. Labour at a standstill, the land is so wet; towards the end of the month the weather was more seasonable, seed time just beginning.'  

 APR  - 'At the beginning of the month a few mild days, with growing showers, put the ground in fine condition for the seed crop, grass land improved fast, lambs skipped about, birds sang from morn' till night and spring flowers were plentiful; all at once, on the 9th, winter returned, snow fell on two days and bitterly cold winds continued to the end of the month.'  

 MAY  - 'Cold and dy, consequently a very unfavourable season; hard frosts at night and bitter east winds by day were very injurious to the early potato crops; gooseberries will be scarce; the hay time will be late and it is feared that the crop will be light; pasture land has suffered greatly; towards the end of the month a little rain fell, but more is wanted.'  

 JUNE  - 'Rather a wet month; grass is now improving very fast; the farmers prospects are a little more promising, though the hay time will be at least 10 or 15 days late; potatoes and turnips are looking well. Thunder has been heard frequently, but at a distance and generally late in the afternoon; high shifting winds have swept over this part of the north, some of the trees have suffered much by the wind, tearing off their leaves.'  

 JULY  - 'The weather was favourable for the corn and turnip crops, both of which are looking well; corn is in general a good crop; pastures looking well; haymaking in full force, some good crops have been secured in fine condition; some days in the middle of the month very warm.'  

 AUG  - 'Harvest going on briskly during the middle of the month; the weather very hot; corn in general under the average, but well ripened. August has ended with the rivers in many places full and the fishers are active; tourists have had a fine time of it, but the season is nearly at an end.'  

 SEPT  - 'Cold and wet; very unfavourable for gathering in the harvest, some of the corn in this district being still out at the end of the month; the land is very cold and wet, weather generally cloudy with occasional frosts at night.'  

 OCT  - 'The early part very rainy with high south wind; floods in the middle of the month; land about that time very damp and cold; towards the end of the month dry and cold with a little frost; snow has not yet made its appearance on the hills.'  

 NOV  - 'Cold and damp, but seasonable for the time of year; total fall of rain 4.01 in. The month began with two dry, cold days, followed by rain on 3rd, 4th, 5th; snow fell on the 8th and 9th, but soon vanished.'  

 DEC  - 'Snow on 4 days, but it all melted in a day or two; this has been the wettest month (10.55 in) and the 31st of the month the wettest (2.41 in) day in the year. Great floods at the end of the year; the land cold and wet.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'The year 1876 has been a cold and wet one.'  

 

          1877

  The comments regarding individual days:

 30th Jan -  'A great storm of wind from the S.W.'  

 28th Feb -  'Very hard frost, bitter cold day.'  

 25-26th Mar -  'A dreadful storm of wind passed over this district.' 

 4th Apr -  'Thunderstorm at 7 p.m. and loud thunder about the same time on the 6th.'        6th Apr -  'Thunder about 7 p.m.'        15-17th Apr -  'A great storm of wind (S.E.); ended about 4 p.m. 18th.'

 22nd Apr -  'Distant thunder.'          28th Apr -  'Storm of wind all day.'  

 1st June -  'Storm of wind.'           4th June -  'Loud thunder at 9.35 p.m.'          6th June -  'Great storm all day.'            11th & 19th June -  'Distant thunder.'            20th June -  'Loud thunder at 4 p.m.'   28th June -  'Distant thunder at 1.10 p.m.'  

 5 + 6 + 7 + 12 + 14th July -  'Thunder.'                     25th July -  'Sultry morning, cold afternoon.' 

 6th Aug -  'Distant thunder at 1 p.m.'           9th Aug -  'Thunder with showers.'             10th Aug -  'Dry and hot with thunder.'            13th Aug -  'Distant thunder.'           21st Aug -  'Loud thunder at 9 a.m.'  

 1st Sept -  'Thunder at 9 p.m.'            3rd Sept -  'Frost at night.'           13th Sept -  'A dreadful storm with a deluge of rain, 2.24 in.'            21st Sept -  'Distant thunder.'           30th Sept -  'Thunder.' 

 14th Oct -  'A great storm of wind.'            15th Oct -  'Wet and very windy.'           20th Oct -  'Stormy.'            22nd Oct -  'Great storm of wind.' 

 4th Nov -  'A dreadful storm of wind'           5th Nov -  'A perfect deluge of rain at night'          9th Nov -  'Storm at night'          10-12th Nov -  'Storm of wind and rain, 3.12 in'           22nd Nov -  'Strong wind' 

 11th Dec -  'Dense fog in the early part of the day; heavy rain after dark (1.30 in).'            12th Dec -  'Storm of wind.'           21st Dec -  'Dense fog; near total darkness for about half an hour.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'A month of wind and rain (12.81 in.), only two dry days; great floods in many places, much land under water for several days together, roads impassable and ground in such a wet state that farm work was in a very backward condition; sheep too suffered from the wet; there was much rough wind during the month, especially towards the close.'  

 FEB  - 'The month began very much the same way as January and ended with high winds and cold heavy showers, some of the days about the middle of the month were quite spring-like, with the bees out and the birds singing, but towards the latter part snow fell and the frosts at the end of the month were very keen and the weather was bitterly cold.'  

 MAR  - 'Not withstanding rain or snow having fallen in small quantities on 24 days, the month has been cold and dry; lightning has been common at night. About the end of the month seed-time commenced. Lambs were making their appearance; some of the mountains were covered with snow; birds were beginning to sing; land looked rather crisped with the late frost and a windy, cold day brought the month to a close.'  

 APR  - 'Much bitter cold wind during the month. The grass land is looking dead for the time of year and cattle have to labour hard to sustain life. Corn is coming up, but the bitter cold, dry east winds keep it from growing. Potatoes are almost all planted and the land is nearly ready for turnips; but rain and warmer weather are much wanted.'  

 MAY  - 'May was a cold and rather wet month. The spring is one of the most backward that we have had for many years.'  

 JUNE  - 'June in this district was rather a wet month (4.42 in) with distant thunder; a little keen frost in the early part of the month. Still there is every prospect of a good hay crop, but it will be a week to 10 days late. Corn in some places looking well and promises a fair crop. Potatoes are not looking well; turnips are just coming into leaf. Pastures looking well and cattle may now get a good bite.'  

 JULY  - 'A wet, cold, dark month, unfavourable for the crops in general. Distant thunder with flashes of lightning, mostly at night, have been common. Great flood about the middle of the month; hay is a heavy crop here, but is spoilt, little has been got in yet.'  

 AUG  - 'Cold, dark and wet, unfavourable for all kinds of farm work. At the end of the month a very great quantity of hay was still in the fields and scores of acres of grass were still uncut; corn was quite green and potatoes were going bad very fast; land in general very wet.'  

 SEPT  - 'The month began with heavy showers, but the 13th was a dreadfully cold, wet and windy day; most of the land along the banks of the river was under water; the remainder of the month was fine. Crops nearly all cut, potatoes generally in bad condition, turnips a failure.'  

 OCT  - 'Early part of the month favourable for gathering in the harvest, as warm, dry days prevailed; from the 9th to the end of the month high winds with thunder and heavy rain were frequent; land very wet at the end of the month.'  

 NOV  - 'Cold and wet.'  

 DEC  - 'Damp, cold, dark and foggy; the ground is in a cold, wet state; roads are in general very dirty; rivers have, on one or two occasions, been very fresh.'  

 

          1878

  The comments regarding individual days:

 20th Jan -  'A great storm of wind and rain.'        22nd Jan -  'Dull and foggy; a flash of lightning at 10.25 p.m.'        24th Jan -  'A fall of snow; lightning at 10 p.m.'      26th Jan -  'Bitter cold, lightning.'  

 20th Feb -  'Thunder with rain.'  

 23rd Mar -  'Very hard frost.'  

 8th Apr -  'Gale.'  

 15th + 18th May -  'Thunder.'            21st May -  'Snow.'           See Reagill -  'Pennine range and High Street white with snow.'

 21st July -  'Severe thunderstorm with hail.'  

 15th Sept -  'A dreadful storm of wind and rain; trees blown down and some land flooded. 2.34 in of rain fell'  

 18th Dec -  'Snowstorm.'            30th Dec -  'Great storm all day.' 

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'The month began with a cold, damp air and heavy fogs, followed by flying showers. High winds at daytime with flashes of fire nearly every night throughout the month. Farm work nearly all at a stand, except carting; the ground covered with a little snow at the end of the month, rivers and ponds with a surface of ice.'  

 FEB  - 'Throughout the month (with a few exceptions) the weather has been too mild.'  

 MAR  - 'March began with a few windy, cold days; the middle of the month was warm and spring-like and the end cold with a good deal of snow.'  

 APR  - 'Seasonable weather.'  

 MAY  - 'Very wet, at times mild and warm; land in a very wet state and fruit trees have suffered from the wind.'  

 JULY  - 'Very dry; favourable for gathering in the abundant hay crop.'  

 AUG  - 'Considering the quantity of rain that has fallen, it has been fine harvest weather; thunder and lightning common at the end of the month.'  

 SEPT  - 'Early part fine and dry and the crops well secured; heavy showers at the end.'  

 OCT  - 'Very wet and cold; the country in general has the appearance of an early winter.'  

 NOV  - 'Very dark and cold; snow has fallen on several days, but not in great quantities; from the 18th to 27th heavy fogs.'  

 DEC  - 'Very stormy, hard frost and thick snow; rain began to fall on the 28th and continued upto the end.'  

 

  Copy Hill today - taken from the village 

 

          1879

  The comments regarding individual days:

 6th Apr -  'Thunder at 6 p.m.'  

 9th May -  'Snow.'  

 27th June -  'A dreadful storm of wind and rain, doing much damage to gardens.'  

 8th July -  'A great storm wind.'            9th July -  'Thunderstorm.' 

 13th Aug -  'Severe thunderstorm.'  

 8th Sept -  'Storm of wind with thunder.'            24th Sept -  'Lightning at night.' 

 19th Oct -  'A great storm.'  

 14th Nov -  'Hard frost.' 

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 FEB  - 'Very dreary and cold with much frost and snow.'  

 APR  - 'Very cold and dark throughout. Bitter cold east and north-east winds and frosts at night.'  

 MAY  - 'Very dry with bitterly cold winds and frost at night.'  

 JUNE  - 'cold, dark and wet.'  

 JULY  - 'Very cold and wet with high winds that have done a great deal of harm. Very little hay housed at the end of the month; corn never before known to be so late in shooting.'  

 AUG  - 'Wet, cold, windy; not at all like summer weather.'  

 SEPT  - 'The land is in a miserable cold and wet condition. Harvest began about the 20th; crops in general very heavy, but corn not very ripe.'  

 OCT  - 'Dry, but for the most part cloudy, dark and cold; some hard frosts at night.'  

 NOV  - 'Cold and windy with small rainfall; all the rivers frozen.'  

 DEC  - 'During the early part of the month hard frost prevailed and all the rivers were covered with ice. The last five days were almost one continuous storm of wind and rain, filling the rivers and in some places causing floods.'  

 

          1880

  The comments regarding individual days:

 1st Jan -  'Great storm of wind.'  

 18th Feb -  'Gale all day with 1.01 in. of rain.'           19th Feb -  'Gale all day with 2.37 in. of rain.' 

 1st Mar -  'Great storm of wind.'        2nd Mar -  'Gale with rain, hail and snow.'  

 21st Apr -  'A dreadful storm of wind and rain.'  

 2nd Aug -  'Distant thunder.'                     12th Aug -  'Magnificent display of Aurora Borealis.' 

 4th Sept -  'Dreadfull thunder and lightning from 8 p.m. till 11 p.m.'            14 + 15th Sept -  'A great storm of wind and rain doing much damage to crops.'             18th Sept -  'Heavy hail showers.'  

 19th Sept -  '1 inch of snow and hail on ground' 

 27-28th Oct -  'Tremendous gale with snow.'  

 9th Nov -  'Heavy gale.'            15th Nov -  'Heavy fall of snow at night.'           24-25th Nov -  'Very great floods.'  

 12th Dec -  'Slight shock of earthquake about 5.25 p.m.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'A dark, cold month with much fog.'  

 FEB  - 'A very wet and stormy month.'  

 APR  - 'A cold, wet, windy month.'  

 MAY  - 'A very windy, dry, cold month. Hay very backward.'  

 JULY  - 'Rather an unseasonable month, rain having fallen on 22 days. Hay crop very heavy; about two thirds cut at the end of the month. Corn a good crop, but rather late. Potatoes and turnips look well.'  

 OCT  - 'First half of the month fine and dry. Total rainfall very small; very little fog.'  

 DEC  - 'A very unusual amount of snow.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'Crops in general very good; little sickness. November had a remarkably heavy rainfall; December a heavy fall of snow. Old people say they never saw more lying undrifted.'  

 

          1881

  There were developments during 1880 which saw the placing of several new gauges that year and which would give the first annual total in 1881. Symons made the following comments in 1881:

  'My readers may remember records from Wet Sleddale being published for the years 1867, 1868 and 1870 as 87.00, 108.75 and 101.00 respectively. Few persons expected such a fall on the eastern verge of the English Lake District or would have thought it possible. In the autumn of 1880 I arranged with Mr. Hoggarth of Shap, for the resumption of observations at Sleddale and for the commencement of other records in the adjacent valley of Swindale. The gauges were all new ones and were all placed by myself; and the new observations again prove Sleddale far wetter than Ambleside.

  I had the gauge at the "Dun Bull" at Mardale repaired and also supplied a new one and Mr. H.P. Holme of Mardale recommenced observations at a point intermediate between the "Dun Bull" and the lake. All these gauges have been regularly observed, so that altogether we have six important additional records for this district.'

  The details of those new gauges in the Shap area are: 1.) Tailbert Beck, 900 Ft asl      2.) Sleddale 1560 Ft asl      3.) Swindale 1610 Ft asl      all gauges were of a standard 5" diameter, set 1Ft above the ground. All were read on a monthly basis by Hoggarth.

  The locations for these new gauges was in many ways an obvious one to explain, but it will only become curious when we reach 1919!

 

  Hoggarth's comments regarding individual days:

 31st Jan -  'Aurora Borealis at night.'  

 7th Feb -  'Great storm of wind and snow.' 

 3-5th Mar -  ** 'Dreadful storm of wind, snow, hail and sleet.'        25th Mar -  'Thunderstorm from 5 to 6 p.m.'  

 25th May -  'Thunder and lightning at 4 a.m.'           28th May -  'Thunder.' 

 8th June -  'Snow at 5.10 p.m.'                     30th June -  'Strong gale and heavy rain, 2.06 in, causing considerable floods on the following day.' 

 5th July -  'Heavy thunderstorm 7 to 9 p.m. with 1.03 in. of rain, 0.70 in fell in 25 minutes.'           10th July -  'Great gale.'             17th July -  'Strong gale.'  

 2nd Aug -  'Ice formed on small pools.'            10th Aug -  'Strong gale.'           25th Aug -  'Heavy rain and floods.'  

 21st Sept -  'Strong gale.'  

 9-10th Oct -  'Strong gale'           14th Oct -  'The strongest gale for years.' 

 15-16th Nov -  'Strong gale.'            20th Nov -  'Strong gale.'           21st Nov -  'Very heavy gale at night, buildings unroofed and many trees down.'            22nd Nov -  'Strong gale.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'The coldest month remembered, many small birds killed by the cold and in a few instances farmyard poultry.'  

 FEB  - 'A very stormy month with much snow and frost.'  

 JUNE  - 'June began with bright, hot weather; on the 6th at 4 p.m. a storm of wind and hail swept over Shap, the mountains near Swindale and Mardale being thinly covered with snow; the weather was again cool in the latter part of the month. Thunder frequent.'  

 JULY  - 'The beginning of the month was wet and cold, quite unlike summer. The 4th and 5th were sultry, a severe thunderstorm occurring on the latter day and 0.70 in. rain fell in 25 mins. The middle of the month was warm and dry, but there was a good deal of rain in the last week.'  

 OCT  - 'The early part of the month was favourable for securing in the harvest and taking up potatoes. On 9th, 10th and 12th strong N.W. gales occurred with rain and hail, the highest mountains being covered with snow on the 13th, on which day 1.48 in. of rain fell, causing a great flood. Very rough wind on 14th; a little snow and hard frost at the end of the month.'  

 NOV  - 'November in this district was one continuous storm of wind and rain, gale after gale and flood after flood; thunder and lightning frequent in the latter part of the month.'  

 DEC  - 'Began and ended with a few mild, damp days, there were few frosts and very little snow; spring flowers in bloom in sheltered places.'  

 

          1882

  The comments regarding individual days:

 5+6th Jan -  'Great gale.'  

 12+13th Feb -  ** 'Storm of wind and rain, causing a great flood; 2.67 in. of rain in the two days.' 

 14th Feb -  'Strong gale all day.'        18th Feb -  'Gale with heavy showers.'         25th Feb -  'Very heavy rain 92.10 in.) and floods.'  

 8th Mar -  'Great storm of wind and rain.'  

 14th Apr -  'Rain, snow, sleet and hail and a heavy fall of snow on the mountains which remained for 3 or 4 days.'  

 3rd May -  'Thunder, rain, hail, snow and sleet.'  

 6th June -  'Strong gale all day.'            10th June -  'Strong N.E. gale all day.'           14th June -  'N.W. gale.'            24th June -  'Great thunderstorm.' 

 1st July -  'Thunderstorm.'  

 2nd Aug -  'Strong N.W. gale all day.'           13th Aug -  'Severe thunderstorm.' 

 2nd Sept -  'Strong gale.'  

 2nd Oct -  'Strong gale all day; aurora at night.'  

 3rd Nov -  'Strong gale and heavy rain.'            5th Nov -  'Storm of wind and rain and great flood.'           9th Nov -  'Strong gale all day.'  

 5th Dec -  ** 'N.E. gale and snowstorm.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'Rather wet at the beginning of the month; a few warm, damp, foggy days from 10-19th and fogs frequent towards the end. Very mild in general, snow on only one day; land looking fresh and green, spring flowers coming out and birds singing.'  

 FEB  - 'The month began with mild weather, heavy fogs in the mornings and bright, clear afternoons, but it was wet and stormy at the close.'  

 MAR  - 'March came in like a lion and continued wet and windy for some time, causing land and roads to be in a dreadful condition. On the 11th the weather began to be finer and favourable for sowing corn, but the end of the month was cold and wet, snow and sleet having fallen on the mountains.'  

 APR  - 'The month began with cold winds from east and north-east and frosty nights, which checked vegetation; land fresh and green, but in a wet state.'  

 MAY  - 'For several days no rain fell, the land got very dry, the rivers remarkably low for the time of year and in some instances water was hard to procure; this coupled with hot sun during the day and hard frosts at night, was trying for the farmers; but on the 23rd and following days considerable quantities of rain fell.'  

 JUNE  - 'Rather wet with much thunder and lightning; hay-time began about 27th; grass a very good crop; corn, potatoes and turnip looking well.'  

 JULY  - 'Cold and wet, very trying for farmers; grass remarkably thick, but very little cut.'  

 

November from Hoggarth's weather diary for 1882 

 

 DEC  - 'The early part of the month was stormy, but quite seasonable, land very wet, but fresh and green.'  

 

  The card submitted by Hoggarth to the BRG with the years monthly rainfall figures for 1882 

 

          1883

  The comments regarding individual days:

 9th Jan -  'Gale all day from east.'           11th Jan -  'Strong gale from east.'          24th Jan -  'Strong gale with rain, snow and hail (3.16 in.). Much damage by winds amd floods.' 

 26th Jan -  ** 'Strong gale with snow.'          28th Jan -  'Rain, hail and snow, 2.21 in., causing great floods on the following day.' 

 1st Feb -  'Gale at night'        8th Feb -  'Strong gale'        12th Feb -  'Gale all day and heavy rain'          17th Feb -  'Strong gale all day with heavy rain, 1.50 in.'         28th Feb -  'Loud thunder from 2-4 p.m.'  

 6th Mar -  'Strong gale.'           19th Mar -  'Snow, Hail and sleet covering ground to a depth of 7in.'          29th Mar -  'Heavy rain in afternoon, 1.87 in. and frequent flashes of lightning at night.'  

 30th Mar -  'Storm of wind and rain.'  

 12th Apr -  'Thunder.'                     18th Apr -  'Brisk gale.'          23rd Apr -  'Strong gale. Snow at night.' 

 10th May -  'Snow, rain, hail and sleet.'  

 24th June -  'Storm of wind and rain all day; rivers full, land flooded and roads washed up; some persons were almost driven from their houses by the water; total fall 3.16 in.'  

 25th June -  'Rumbling thunder in afternoon and a great blackness to east. At 4.25 p.m. hailstones fell for about 3 minutes as large as nuts and quite hard; this was followed by heavy rain for 15 minutes, the fall in the 18 minutes being 0.40 in. The rain and thunder continued and it is believed that a waterspout burst on Hardendale fell as the Force Beck was quite full in a very short time.' 

 

 3rd July -  'Heavy thunderstorm at 1 a.m.'            12th July -  'Strong gale.' 

 7-10th Aug -  'Gales, doing much damage to fruit crops.'           14th Aug -  'Strong gale.'          20th Aug -  'Strong gale all day.'  

 6th Sept -  'Strong gale.'            26th Sept -  'Remarkably strong gale, many trees broken to pieces; spouting, slates and chimneys scattered about in all directions; apple trees quite stripped of fruit.' 

 14th Oct -  'Strong gale all day.'            15th Oct -  'Gale at night.'          14th Aug -  'Mountains covered with snow for the first time.' 

 5th Nov -  'Strong gale at 9 a.m.'           21st Nov -  ** 'Strong gale with rain.'          25th Nov -  'Strong gale with heavy showers.'           28th Nov -  ** 'Strong gale with rain, 1.27 in.' 

 11+12th Dec -  ** 'A dreadful storm of wind from west on the night of 11th and morning of 12th, causing great destruction to houses, walls and trees.'            22nd Dec -  'Strong gale from west.' 

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'A very windy, wet month.'  

 FEB  - 'A wet month and a great deal of sickness about; a few fine days at the end of the month made the outlook a little more pleasant.'  

 APR  - 'The early part of the month was dry and often warm; the latter part was wet, with cold east and north-east winds and frequently hard frost at night.'  

 MAY  - 'A cold month on the whole with snow on several days, thunder on four days.'  

 JULY  - 'The early part of the month was very wet and unsettled, but splendid weather at the end enabled farmers to proceed rapidly with the hay harvest.'  

 SEPT  - 'The first three weeks of the month were on the whole good for harvest as most of the rain fell at night.'  

 NOV  - 'The middle of the month was very wild with frequent thunder and flashes of lightning; at the close the land was very wet and the rivers full.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'The year was rather a wet one as regards quantity of rain, but there were fewer wet days than in 1882.'  

 

  The rainfall of the 24th January, which represented 4.9% of the annual total and that of the 25th June which gave a rain rate of 1.34 in. per/hr were also mentioned in the 'Heavy rains in 24 hours.' and 'Heavy rain in short periods' chapters of the guides.

 

          1884

  The comments regarding individual days:

 5th Jan -  'Strong gale all day.'           22nd Jan -  'Strong gale and heavy rain.'          24th Jan -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.' ;        26th Jan -  'Great storm of snow, sleet and rain.' 

 9th Feb -  'Gale with hail, snow, sleet and rain, 1.51 in.'        12th Feb -  ** 'Strong gale all day.'        17th Feb -  'Strong gale from east.'          20th Feb -  'Strong gale all day.'  

 4th Mar -  'Rain, hail, sleet and 6 inches of snow.'           14th Mar -  'Strong gale with rain.'          17th Mar -  'Strong gale.'  

 2nd Apr -  'Thunderstorm'            3rd Apr -  'Thunder'         5th Apr -  'Strong gale all day'        16th Apr -  'Strong wind and heavy showers'         27th Apr -  'Strong gale all day'         29th Apr -  'Thunder'  

 17th May -  'Strong gale all day.'           24th May -  'N.E. gale.'  

 4th July -  'Awful storm of thunder and lightning.'  

 13th July -  'Severe thunderstorm at 5.35 p.m. with heavy rain and shower of irregular shaped pieces of ice, the yield in 35 minutes being 0.76 in. and the fall for the day 1.31 in.' 

 15th July -  'Strong S.W. gale at night continuing next morning and doing much damage to fruit crops.'  

 9th Aug -  'Severe thunderstorm; a cow killed by lightning at Kemp Howe.'  

 21st Sept -  'Thunderstorm.'            See Appleby -  'Great darkness about 4 p.m. followed by sharp thunderstorm, with nearly 0.75 in. of rain in less than an hour.'

 9th Oct -  'Heavy fall of snow at night.'  

 4th Nov -  'Strong gale with heavy rain.'  

 7th Dec -  ** 'Strong gale and heavy rain, 1.40 in.'            10th Dec -  'Gale with 2.17 in. of rain.' 

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'Gales were frequent, several being specially heavy, but no serious damage was done.'  

 FEB  - 'A open month, no frost and very little snow; several strong gales, but no great damage was done.'  

 MAR  - 'The early part of the month was cold, very wet and unsettled, the latter part seasonable.'  

 APR  - 'Generally dry and very cold. North and north-east winds with hard frosts at night damaged and delayed vegetation.'  

 MAY  - 'The early part of the month was wet and very cold, but after the 17th no rain fell and at the end of the month the land was very dry and water was becoming scarce. During the latter part of the month the days were hot, with frosts at night, making the prospects bad for hay crop.'

 JUNE  - 'The driest June for many years; pastures burnt quite brown and water very scarce in many places. Corn very short and other crops poor.'  

 SEPT  - 'The early part of the month was fine and summer-like, but after a thunderstorm on the 21st rain fell every day until the close.'  

 OCT  - 'Towards the end of the month the weather was rather wet and unsettled, but not bad for the tenth month of the year.'  

 NOV  - 'Cold, dark and foggy, with heavy snow at the close.'  

 DEC  - 'The early part very wet with rather strong winds at times. From the 20th to the end the weather was seasonable; dry, with hard frost.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'January was the only windy month during the year; the summer was very dry and water was scarce; crops of all kinds were rather light, but well gathered; the latter months were fine with frost. There was little snow and there were no heavy fogs.'  

 

  The wettest day of the year was the 10th December with 2.17 in, which represented 3.8% of the annual total.

 

          1885

  The comments regarding individual days:

 8th Feb -  'Awful gale all day with 2.12 in. of rain.'        21st Feb -  'Strong gale; great snow storm.'        22nd Feb -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet, 1.01 in.'          26th Feb -  'Gale with rain all day, 1.91 in.'  

 18th Mar -  'Snow storm in morning.'           26th Mar -  'Strong gale with heavy showers.' 

 7th Apr -  'Gale from east.'            9th Apr -  'Gale all day.'         22nd Apr -  'Cold with heavy fog.' 

 8th May -  'Rain, snow, hail and sleet.'           10th May -  'Snow storm at night.'            20th May -  'Rain, snow and hail.'           29th May -  'Strong gale.' 

 7th June -  'Strong gale all day.'           18th June -  'Thunder and rain at 4 p.m.'           20th + 21st June -  'Strong gale.'  

 3rd July -  'Loud thunder at 2 p.m.'            6th July -  'Strong gale.'           21st + 24th + 29th July -  'Thunder.' 

 6th Aug -  'Thunder from 3.25 pm to 6 p.m.'            10th Aug -  'Gale.'          25th Aug -  'Strong gale.' 

 2nd Sept -  'Strong gale.'           9th Sept -  'Thunder.'            12th Sept -  'Strong gale and heavy rain.'           15th Sept -  'Strong gale all day.' 

 26th Sept -  'High Street and the hills above Mardale covered with snow.'           30th Sept -  'Thunderstorm at 4.35 p.m.' 

 4th Oct -  'Strong gale.'           6th Oct -  'Hard frost.'            10th Oct -  'Hard frost.'           15th Oct -  'Strong gale.' 

 

 5th Nov -  'Snow.'           25th Nov -  'Hail.'            26th Nov -  'Strong S.E. wind and heavy rain, 1.05 in.'           28th Nov -  'Strong gale and heavy rain, 1.01 in.' 

 

 3rd Dec -  ** 'A very severe gale and heavy rain.'            9th Dec -  'Snow.'          17th Dec -  'Dense fog.'           21st Dec -  'Fog all day.'  

 28th Dec -  'A very heavy gale all day.'           29th Dec -  'Hail and snow.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'Very damp with no heavy gales, though strong winds were frequent. The land at the close was very wet, but fresh and green and spring flowers were appearing.'  

 FEB  - 'One of the wettest and wildest months for a long time; heavy floods both at the beginning and end - in fact a month of floods.'  

 MAR  - 'A seasonable month with some very fine warm days; farm work generally forward. Snow on three days.'  

 APR  - 'The early part dry and cold with strong east winds and hard frost at night; but the latter part mild and warm with plenty of showers; there were several gales and thunder was frequent, often at night.'  

 MAY  - 'Very cold; more like Novemeber than any other month, hard frosts frequent; snow on five days.'

 JUNE  - 'Rather dry, the early part was somewhat cold with frost at night, but some very hot days occurred towards the close with distant thunder.'  

 AUG  - 'After the 4th the weather was wet and cold and from the 9-12th very stormy and wet, doing much harm to gardens and orchard fruits, hay harvest finished during the last week.'  

 SEPT  - 'A very unfavourable harvest month and much corn out at the close.'  

 OCT  - 'Rather a cold, unsettled month with strong gales at times; land in a very cold, wet state at the end and rivers full.'  

 NOV  - 'The beginning showery, the middle cold and dry, the end very wet.'  

 

  The wettest day of the year was 8th February with 2.12 in. - 3.7% of the annual total.

 

          1886

  The comments regarding individual days:

 3rd Jan -  'Dreadful gale all day with heavy rain, 1,83 in.'        7th Jan -  'Strong gale and heavy snow.'        12th Jan -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.'          15th Jan -  'Storm at night.'  

 16th Jan -  ** 'Thunderstorm at night.'        17th Jan -  'Heavy snow.'        23rd Jan -  'A great snow storm.'          25th Jan -  'Gale with snow showers.'  

 27th Jan -  'Heavy snow.'        29th Jan -  ** 'Rain, hail, sleet and snow.'        31st Jan -  'Heavy snow.' 

 

 7th Feb -  'Dense fog.'        9th Feb -  'Heavy fog all day.'        18th Feb -  'Hail and snow.'          20th Feb -  'A heavy fog.'  

 

 1st Mar -  'Heavy snow and gale.'           9th Mar -  'Strong gale and heavy frost.'       19th Mar -  'Rain, hail and snow.'          30th Mar -  'A fine display of Aurora, followed by lightning and thunder.' 

 31st Mar -  'Strong gale all day.'  

 

 1st Apr -  'Strong gale all day.'            3rd Apr -  'Strong gale at night.'         5th Apr -  'Strong gale all day.'         9th Apr -  'Heavy fall of snow.' 

 9-10th Apr -  'Heavy falls of snow causing serious losses among the lambs.'            16th Apr -  'Hail.'         27th Apr -  'Hail.'           19th Apr -  'Cuckoo heard.' 

 

 5th + 7th May -  'Thunder.'           11th May -  'Hail and snow.'            12th May -  'Rain, hail, snow and thunder, 1.01 in.'           13th May -  ** 'Strong east gale with snow showers.' 

 16th May -  'Snow showers.'            17+18th May -  'Gale with heavy showers.' 

 

 9th June -  'Thunder at 1.35 p.m.'           10th June -  'Loud thunder.'           15th June -  'Strong gale all day.'          23rd June -  'Strong gale.' 

 4th July -  'Distant thunder.'            14th July -  'Strong gale all day.'           21st July -  'Thunderstorm, an inch of rain fell in one hour.'         22nd July -  'Gale all day.' 

 4+5th Aug -  'Thunder.'  

 2nd Sept -  'Thunder.'           8th Sept -  'Strong gale.'  

 6-8th Oct -  'Dense fog.'           12th Oct -  ** 'Strong gale with heavy rain, 1.72 in.'            18th Oct -  'Dense fog.'           20th Oct -  'Thunder.'         23rd Oct -  'Dense fog.' 

 

 3rd Nov -  ** 'Strong gale with heavy rain, 1.40 in.'           6th Nov -  'Snow on the Mardale hills.'            11th Nov -  'Dense fog.'           16th Nov -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.' 

 22nd Nov -  'Dense fog all day.'            25th Nov -  'Dense fog all day.'         30th Nov -  'Snow.' 

 

 8th Dec -  ** 'Gale with rain and snow, 1.26 in.'            20th Dec -  'Lightning.'          22nd Dec -  'Gale with rain all day, 1.89 in.'           26th Dec -  'Rain, hail and snow.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'Remarkably changeable. Heavy showers of rain then hard frost for a few hours, which made travelling both dangerous and extremely difficult, then heavy falls of snow which drifted in many places.  The latter part of the month was one continuous fall of snow which lay at the close to a very great depth; walls were not to be seen, lanes were quite full and roads and railways were hard to keep open; many small birds died, though the frost was not so keen as has been known before. Some fine displays of Aurora were seen.'  

 FEB  - 'Very seasonable. Most of January's snow was still lying at the close of this month in heavy drifts behind the walls and in narrow lanes, some of which were quite full. Keen frost prevailed and farm work was at a standstill.'  

 MAR  - 'Cold and unsettled; the wettest March since observations commenced.'  

 APR  - 'The early part of the month was miserably cold and very wet with strong gales; rivers were full and in some places land was under water; a very bad seed-time. Afterwards dry and cold with frosts at night which kept grass backward.'  

 MAY  - 'Stormy; the heavy fall of snow on 12th and 13th caused great loss among the lambs and fears were entertained that fruit crops had suffered through the high winds. The close of the month was specially wet.'

 JUNE  - 'The first day of the month was wet and very cold and frosts at night did much harm to fruit during the first fortnight; after the 14th dry and warm.'  

 JULY  - 'The early part dry and warm and for the most part bright and clear; water scarce in many fields. After the 9th rain fell in great quantities and grass improved.'  

 SEPT  - 'Wet and very unfavourable for the harvest.'  

 DEC  - 'Very cold and stormy with strong gales; snow on 14 days.'  

 

  Swindale - Hoggarth also had a rain gauge in the valley 

 

          1887

  The comments regarding individual days:

 8th Jan -  ** 'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.'        10+11th Jan -  'A gale and heavy rain.'        14th Jan -  ** 'Heavy fog.'          26th Jan -  'Dense fog.'  

 28+29th Jan -  'Severe and continuous gale.'        31st Jan -  'Strong gale all day with heavy rain, 1.48 in.'  

 

 3rd Feb -  ** 'Severe gale all day.'        13th Feb -  'Heavy fog all day.'        22-24th Feb -  'Gale and heavy rain, 2.66 in.'          27th Feb -  'Heavy fog.'  

 9th Mar -  'Heavy fog all day.'           11th Mar -  'Nearly 6" of snow at night.'       17th Mar -  'Snow at night.'          22nd Mar -  'Snow and sleet.' 

 5th Apr -  'Snow.'            14th Apr -  'Snow and hard frost.'         26th Apr -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.' 

 2nd May -  'Heavy fog.'           5th May -  'Thunder.'            7th May -  'Thunder and hail.'           9th May -  'Snow and hail.' 

 14th May -  'Snow.'            17+18th May -  'Heavy fall of snow.'          27th May -  'Heavy fog all day.' 

 

 17th **  + 19th + 24th June -  'Thunder.'  

 5th + 20th + 25th July -  'Thunder.'  

 6th Aug -  'Thunder.'           28th Aug -  'Thunderstorm.' 

 29th Sept -  'Severe thunderstorm with hail from 6.35 p.m. to 9.10 p.m.'           30th Sept -  'Lake mountains covered with snow.'  

 8th Oct -  'Rain, hail, snow and sleet.'  

 4th Nov -  ** 'Hail and sleet.'           7th Nov -  'Strong gale.'            14th Nov -  'Snow.'           21st Nov -  'Heavy fog all day.' 

 26th Nov -  'Strong gale all day.'            28th Nov -  'Rain, snow and hail.'         29th Nov -  'Rain and snow.' 

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'A very unsettled month with high winds at the close.'  

 FEB  - 'A very fine winter month, the latter part dry with brisk winds and the last day warm and more like May than February.'  

 MAR  - 'March came in like a lamb and continued fine until the afternoon of the 11th when a little snow fell and during the night nearly 6 in. The 12th was warm with keen frost at night. Towards the end of the month the weather rather unsettled, but seasonable.'  

 APR  - 'Extremely dry in the early part with cold east winds and some hard frosts. The land was very dry and water scarce in many places. After the 20th very cold with heavy showers. Much snow still on the mountains at the close.'  

 JUNE  - 'Very hot and dry. Hay crop light. Pasture land at the close was as brown in many places as if boiling water had run over the grass and water was hardly to be got for cattle, most of the wells being dry.'  

 AUG  - 'The early part was dry and hot during the day-time, with frosts at night. Plenty of rain fell at the end.'  

 SEPT  - 'The early part of the month was very wet which prevented farmers from gathering in the harvest. A few fine days in the middle of the month proved a great benefit to them.'  

 OCT  - 'On the whole seasonable, wet and cold with strong winds towards the close.'  

 NOV  - 'Rather unsettled to 7th followed by a few dry days which were a great comfort to farmers.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'Generally very dry. Crops were light and water scarce.'  

 

  Examples of just how dry the year was are demonstrated by the fact that at Appleby no rain fell between 6th June and July 3rd and the following general comments were made about the drought:

  'June 29th, in Cumberland and Westmoreland the pastures are so burned up that the farmers are selling their cattle at a sacrifice.'   and

  'July 12th, water being carried to the grouse.'

 

          1888

  The comments regarding individual days:

 4th Jan -  'Strong gale all day.'        9+10th Jan -  'Fine and warm, like May; birds singing.'        11th Jan -  'Fog such as is seen in Manchester or London; nearly dark all day.' 

 19th Feb -  'Strong east gale.'  

 11th Mar -  'Snow and hail all day; the drifts on 12th being 6, 8 and 10ft deep.'  

 19th May -  'Thunderstorm in afternoon.'  

 25th July -  'Heavy thunderstorm with hail in evening; 0.65 in. of rain fell in 23 minutes.'  

 24th Aug -  ** 'Strong S.W. gale.' 

 1st Oct -  ** 'Heavy fall of snow.'           26-28th Oct -  'Strong gale with 7.01 in of rain in the three days.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 FEB  - 'Seasonable, with severe frost at times; snow almost daily from 10th to 26th, with east or north-east winds and some drifts. Water getting scarce at the close.'  

 APR  - 'Cold, with north and north-east winds.'  

 MAY  - 'Commenced with strong winds and heavy showers, followed by a week or so of cold, dry weather with frost at night; the second half of the month fine and seasonable.'  

 JUNE  - 'Fine, very hot at times.'  

 SEPT  - 'The fine weather enabled the farmers to gather in an abundant crop of hay, in good condition, about the middle of the month. Barley harvest began on the 18th. Some fields of corn were quite green nearly to the close, but harvest was progressing fast.'  

 OCT  - 'From the 5th to 23rd quite summer-like and at times very hot; water scarce in some places.'  

 NOV  - 'Very wet throughout with strong winds and frequent gales.'  

 

  He made the following comments regarding the year as a whole:

 YEAR  - 'Rain a little short of the average. The year was free from heavy gales. There was little thunder and not much snow.'  

 

  The wettest day of the year was the 27th October with 3.50 in, which represented 6.6% of the annual total.

 

          1889

  The comments regarding individual days:

 17th Jan -  'Strong gale.'  

 7th May -  'Violent storm of thunder, lightning and hail.'  

 2nd June -  'Heavy thunderstorm with 2.10 in. of rain and very vivid lightning.'  

 25th Sept -  'Snow on the ground which soon melted, but remained on the hills all day.'  

 1st Nov -  'Gale all day.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'The first half dry and cold with heavy fogs at times; the 22nd to 25th were very warm and it was cold again at the end of the month.'  

 APR  - 'A cold month.'  

 AUG  - 'A wet month, only the last two days being free from rain.'  

 DEC  - 'Fine and mild, more like September.'  

 

          1890

  The comments regarding individual days:

 9th Apr -  'Snow at night.'  

 10th June -  'Thunderstorm.'  

 

  His comments on the individual months are:

 JAN  - 'Very changeable, rain, hail, snow, sleet and frost at times, all occurring in the 24 hours. South and south-west gales very frequent.'  

 FEB  - 'A fine winter month; very little snow and rain; work not stopped.'  

 JULY  - 'Cold and wet.'  

 AUG  - 'Dark, cold and wet.'  

 DEC  - 'The hardest frost for many years; very little rain or snow.'  

 

  In 1891 the record (for all the sites under Hoggarth's control) is shown as 'Ceased' with no clue as to why or what became of Hoggarth.

 

  Below are the annual rainfall totals for Copy Hill and the other sites under Hoggarth's control. All totals are in mm, not inches as used by Hoggarth above - simply for ease of comparison with the totals from later years when mm became the standard (25.4 mm = 1 inch and 1000 mm = 39.37 inch).

------------------------------------------------------
           Copy      Sleddale    Tailbert    Swindale 
           Hill                    Beck               
------------------------------------------------------

1874      1525.5                                      
1875      1291.6                                      
1876      1402.3                                      
1877      1905.3                                      
1878      1151.4                                      
1879      1134.1                                      

1880      1240.8                                      
1881      1501.6      2183.1      2406.7      2009.1  
1882      1595.9      2358.4      2710.2      2164.1  
1883      1657.9      2184.4      2470.2      2059.9  
1884      1474.5      2077.7      2394.0      1766.6  
1885      1453.6      2068.8      2400.3      1845.3  
1886      1673.1      2118.4      2462.5              
1887      1006.6      1411.0      1722.1              
1888      1341.1      1786.9      2071.4              
1889      1004.6      1325.9      1614.2              
1890      1229.6      1604.0      1879.6              

Means     1387.6      1911.9      2213.1      1969.0  

 

    Hoggarth also provided the number of days on which rain fell (at least 0.01 inch or 0.2 mm) for each year (apart from 1874) and the average for 1875-90 was 221.9 days.

  The year with the most rain days was 1877, the wettest year in the period, which totalled 259. The year with the least being the drought year of 1887 with 177 days.

  Additionally from 1887 he now had two rain gauges at Copy Hill which he read monthly, I think that this second gauge must have been the gauge previously employe at Tailbert Beck and over the four years the difference between the daily read gauge and the monthly read was only 0.04 inch or 1.0 mm!!

  And so the Hoggarth years were over, marked solely with a 'record ceased', the records at the Met' Office showing that the last month for which he provided data was February 1891. I wonder what became of him?

    We then had a wait for a few years before anyone else was recording the weather in the village.

 

 

The Vicarage Years 1894-1912

  And the next observers were still solely focused on rainfall, but this time they lived in the village, but alas the observations as provided by Hoggarth are no longer.

  Firstly in 1894 William Wilkinson the retired school master from Reagill moved into Church View and he provided data for 1894 then 1896-98. It is believed that break in 1895 is due to the ill health of his wife, Rebecca, who died in 1896 and who had been unwell for several years.

  In 1896 he was joined by Arthur Barker Whiteside esq' at Hillfield in the village. Arthur was the son of Stephen and Ellen Whiteside, Stephen being the vicar at Shap for 30 years until 1897. Arthur measured the rainfall for 1896-98.

  With the death of Stephen, Arthur's brother, Joseph, became the vicar of Shap and from 1899 the rain gauge was sited at the vicarage and curiously it is Joseph's wife, Esther, who is shown as taking the readings.

  One curious aside to the Whiteside's 'story' is that Ellen Whiteside moved to Great Strickland (Greencroft) with her two spinster daughters following the death of Stephen and there she recorded rainfall for 19 years (1899 - 1917).

  I find it quite charming that she took it upon herself to do this and certainly at a time when very few women are listed as doing so (and which is still the case today).

  But back to Shap and no-one seemed to hang about for too long as Joseph only stayed for just over three years and in 1901 the new vicar was a Rev. Collinson. But once again it is his wife who is shown as taking the readings.

  The clergy were very much a mainstay of the scientific world upto this point and even locally there were many vicars providing rainfall data to the BRG, but it is highly unusual to find their wives doing so.

  In the spirit of not hanging about for too long, we find that in 1905 there is no data from the vicarage. It resumed in 1906 (with an annotation in the BRG of 'We welcome the return of Shap vicarage in Westmoreland.') and now under the control of Rev W.H. Crompton. But this was only upto his own ill health in 1913 when we read this about Shap 'Unfortunately interrupted by the illness of the observer.'

  The few comments that were made during this period were:

 

          1896

  From Arthur Whiteside at Hillfield concerning the year as a whole:

   'Absence of snow in January and February; much rain in March; a dry May. Heavy rain in September, October and December. November dry and mild.'

 

          1897

  Again from Arthur Whiteside and also regarding the year as a whole:   'A very wet year, March and December exceptionally so. October very dry.''

    The wettest day of the year was 12th November with 2.60 in. - 4.3% of the annual total.

 

          1902

  In 1902 there are two curious entries for the months of June and July as the location is given as 'Shap (Reagill).'   Curious because at the time there was no observer as Reagill and just Mrs. Collinson at Shap. The entries read thus:

 JUNE  - 'The first half was dull and very cold; the last wee hot.'  

 JULY  - 'Very dark and dull without any great amount of rain, except on a few days.'  

  The wettest day of the year was 14th December with 2.63 in. - which was a relatively high 7.3% of the annual total.

 

   And so the entries regarding the days, months and years came to an end and after 1912 when rainfall recording ceased at the vicarage, we had to wait a few years and then the Manchester Corporation arrived in town!

  Below are the annual totals during the 'Vicarage years.'

 


-------------------------------------------
         Vicarage     Church     Hillfield 
                       View                
-------------------------------------------

1894                  1408.2               
1895                                       
1896                  1151.1      1132.8   
1897                  1385.1      1581.7   
1898                  1058.9      1201.7   
1899      1205.5                           

1900      1307.8                           
1901       875.8                           
1902       914.1                           
1903      1820.7                           
1904      1174.0                           
1905                                       
1906      1137.7                           
1907      1152.1                           
1908      1143.8                           
1909      1146.8                           

1910      1262.4                           
1911      1331.7                           
1912      1364.7                           


Means     1218.2      1250.8      1305.4    

 

 

The Manchester Corporation 1919-1999

  In the 1919 edition of the BRG in the section on new and lost records from the previous year, we read 'The most important additions in England, however, are 14 new records, established in 1918 round Haweswater by the Manchester Corporation and now included for the first time.'

  Obviously this was all connected to the eventual building of the Haweswater reservoir and the 'drowning' of one of the loveliest valleys in Lakeland. However, curiosities do arise from the placement and timing of these gauges and I'm sure that for people with a greater knowledge of Haweswater than myself, there will be even more, but here are a few of my thoughts:

  (1) Six of those fourteen rain gauges were in the vicinity of Shap (Swindale, Sleddale, Thornship Gill, etc) - I know that the MC had plans for Swindale as well at the time, but this seems disproportionate.

  (2) The act of parliament for Haweswater was passed in 1919 - so they didn't even have one full year of rainfall data when making their decision.

  (3) The locations for the rain gauges whilst semi obvious, but not for all, were effectively the same as though chosen by Symons nearly 40 years previous.

  There will be more (please let me know), but the sites chosen by the MC around Shap were:

  1. Wet Sleddale (Mirethwaite) at 989 ft above sea level (asl)            2. Swindale Head at 1029 ft asl            3.) Shap (Force Beck) at 1062 ft asl.

  4. Shap (Thornship Gill) at 865 ft asl            5. Shap (Tailbert Head) at 1103 ft asl            and    6.) Shap (Kirk Bank) at 911 ft asl.

  Regrettably the MC only provided an annual total for all the sites and no further information at all to the BRG and they didn't even state whether the gauges were read daily or monthly. At this time, following the war, the BRG was now under the control of the Met' Office and had less sections than in Hoggarths day, although I guess the MC wouldn't have submitted anything like what Hoggarth did even if there was.

  Of those six gauges only the three, Wet Sleddale, Thornship Gill and Tailbert Head would remain throughout the entire period until their closure in 1973. Other sites did replace those that were closed and would likewise remain through to 1973.

  Sleddale (High Wether Howe), Swindale Parsonage and Birkbeck Fell (which was the last to close in 1999) were the replacement sites and whilst there is the odd question mark on the Met' Office records against some of the months in the various records, they are complete for the entire period (some years are missing in the BRG but the Met'O have been brilliant in filling in the gaps for me).

  From the BRG the few points of note that I have been able to gleam are:

  For 1920 and 1921 the 'authority' credited for providing the rainfall data was Messrs. G. H. Hill and sons, C.E. who was replaced in 1921 by L. Holmes Lewis esq., C.E. and who was replaced, generically at least, by the Manchester Corporation in 1931 and who would now remain as the authority.

  1927 saw the end of Force Beck and Kirk Bank, replaced by Swindale Parsonage and Birkbeck Fell and in 1932 averages would appear for the first time for the various sites. They gave the following averages, based on 1881-1915 but obviously adjusted:

  Wet Sleddale = 64.7 inch (1643.4 mm)          Thornship Gill = 51.4 inch (1305.6 mm)          Tailbert Head - 55.6 inch (1412.2 mm)          Birkbeck Fell = 56.0 inch (1422.4 mm).

  In 1935 the number of days on which rain fell (so at least now read daily) was given for the first time, for Wet Sleddale and Tailbert Head and then in 1937 a new gauge at Sleddale (High Wether Howe) appeared.

  1954 Is a really interesting year and the one and only time when there is an entry for any site in the section on 'Heavy Falls on Rainfall Days.' It is especially frustrating though, because it provides some fascinating information as to the rainfall of that year, gives numerous daily totals, but is the only year to have this information. In 1955 we learn that all gauges are now read monthly!

  But in 1954 we find that there were the following daily falls at Wet Sleddale:

  18th Jan' 3.40 inch          12th June 3.21 inch          9th Sept 3.15"          17-18th Oct had a '48 hour total of 6.00 inch'          23rd Oct 3.00 inch          27th Nov 2.53 inch          30th Nov 2.75 inch

  And we read that 'During early December the unsettled weather continued and at Wet Sleddale there was a fall of 6.32 inch for 1st-2nd, bringing the three day total (30th Nov - 2nd Dec) to 9.07 inch.

  All this meant that 30.36 inches of rain fell on these 10 days, which is quite a remarkable 24.08% of the annual total for that year (126.04 inch). 1954 was one of the wettest years last century and with rain falling on 268 days in Wet Sleddale, but to effectively have one quarter of the annual total fall on just 10 days is quite remarkable.

  Some of the above totals from 1954 appeared in the Met' Office's 'Monthly Weather Report' along with just one from early in 1955 - '9th January 1955 when 3.57" (90.7 mm) fell.'

  In 1957 the BRG gave grid references for all the sites listed and then in 1958 they updated the averages for each site to that of 1916-50, we now have:

  Wet Sleddale - grid ref' NY(35) 537107 with an average fall of 87.9"

  Swindale Parsonage - grid ref' NY(35) 510129 with an average fall of 75.3"

  Thornship Gill - grid ref' NY(35) 551132 with an average fall of 61.8"

  Sleddale (High Wether Howe) - grid ref' NY(35) 515111 with an average fall of 86.9"

  Birkbeck Fell - grid ref' NY(35) 565118 with an average fall of 61.0"

  Tailbert Head - grid ref' NY(35) 530143 - no average provided.

  Apart from Birkbeck Fell all the sites ceased in 1973, with Birkbeck Fell continuing until 1999 and in 1973 a new site at the sewerage works commenced and which is still in operation under the control of the Environment Agency.

  I have included all the annual totals for the sewerage works upto 1999 and not after that date (but also see the Met' Office section below) as from after the year 2000 there are sveral incomplete years (2001-03, 2011 and 2013).

  Below are all the annual totals for the various sites mentioned and a map showing their locations:

  map of the locations 

 

 



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Wet       Thornship   Tailbert    Swindale    Birkbeck    Swindale      Kirk       Force      Swindale      Shap
        Sleddale      Gill        Head      Parsonage     Fell        HWH         Bank        Beck        Head        S.W.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1919     1381.3      1077.5      1139.2                                           959.1       924.3      1325.1            
1920     2008.6      1506.2      1762.3                                          1391.2	     1318.8      1863.1            
1921     1608.1      1165.4      1312.4                                          1002.0       990.1      1625.1            
1922     1658.1      1164.1      1398.5                                          1174.8      1111.5      1741.4            
1923     2132.1      1525.0      1777.7                                          1428.5      1319.5      2118.1            
1924     1878.8      1502.4      1611.6                                          1372.9      1301.2      1920.2            
1925     1620.5      1371.3      1546.4                                          1233.9      1188.2      1837.7            
1926     1762.3      1483.4      1491.2                                          1294.6      1435.9      1829.1            
1927     1720.3      1481.6      1535.7      1812.5      1496.8                                          1749.3            
1928     2485.6      2187.2      2116.3      2624.8      2210.1                                          2494.5            
1929     1709.7      1466.1      1441.5      1921.5      1462.3                                          1654.6            

1930     1887.5      1666.2      1672.6      2087.4      1586.2                                          1948.7            
1931     1678.2      1396.7      1387.6      1853.4      1353.1                                          1735.6            
1932     1907.8      1793.2      1707.6      2267.0      1716.0                                                            
1933     1241.6      1141.2      1077.2      1400.3      1097.5                                                            
1934     1885.4      1697.7      1510.0      2054.9      1568.2                                                            
1935     1782.3      1570.2      1463.3      1961.6      1465.3                                                            
1936     1789.4      1594.6      1479.6      1932.2      1519.2                                                            
1937     1350.0      1127.3      1063.8      1445.8      1051.6      1822.2                                                
1938     2321.8      1974.3      1918.5      2472.2      1900.9      2943.6                                                
1939     1877.6      1606.6      1550.9      2030.2      1518.9      2333.0                                                

1940     1518.9      1277.9      1277.4      1599.2      1183.1      1743.2                                                
1941     1270.5      1084.8      1051.1      1319.5      1036.6      1563.4                                                
1942     1684.5      1458.0      1429.8      1694.2      1360.9      2058.7                                                
1943     2049.8      1706.4      1681.0      2010.2      1636.5      2350.3                                                
1944     1889.3      1588.5      1522.0      1877.6      1479.6      2172.5                                                
1945     1666.2      1424.7      1357.1      1612.1      1349.8      1855.2                                                
1946     2214.6      1791.7      1765.6      2120.6      1731.8      2435.9                                                
1947     1778.8      1534.2      1473.2      1699.0      1441.7      1950.0                                                
1948     2217.4      1821.4      1783.8      2233.4      1816.9      2603.5                                                
1949     1858.0      1435.6      1412.0      1739.6      1269.7      1166.1                                                

1950     2061.7      1598.4      1577.8      1707.4      1693.2      2181.6                                                
1951     2339.6      1728.0      1764.5      2279.7      1840.5      2468.6                                                
1952     1866.1      1266.4      1208.8      1580.1      1247.1      1810.8                                                
1953     1990.1      1260.1      1216.7      1685.3      1400.6      1854.2                                                
1954     3201.4      1966.7      2061.0      2620.0      2208.0      2776.2                                                
1955     1530.6       990.6      1090.2      1334.8      1169.7      1565.9                                                
1956     1611.6      1243.6      1268.0      1461.3      1169.2      1582.4                                                
1957     1998.2      1643.9      1788.2      1941.3      1537.5      2059.4                                                
1958     1750.6      1544.8      1668.0      1826.0      1486.7      1920.0                                                
1959     1949.7      1707.6      1782.3      1965.5      1560.6      1980.4                                                

1960     2275.1      2025.7      2181.1      2223.3      1846.6      2462.3                                                
1961     2112.3      1522.2      1958.1      2035.8      1588.3      2047.5                                                
1962     2222.8      1655.6      2081.0      2057.9      1672.3      2334.8                                                
1963     2066.8      1550.7      2003.6      1948.4      1490.5      2105.9                                                
1964     1878.1      1298.0      1580.4      1744.0      1311.0      1945.0                                                
1965     1904.5      1294.0      1695.7      1751.6      1407.0      1907.0                                                
1966     2305.3      1658.0      1971.8      2014.7      1620.0      2355.0                                                
1967     2726.7      2066.0      2463.3      2385.3      1984.0      2705.0                                                
1968     2098.0      1698.0      1881.9      1987.6      1522.0      2464.0                                                
1969     1624.3      1295.0      1489.7      1602.0      1257.0      1603.0                                                

1970     2075.4      1592.0      1812.8      1930.7      1433.0      2257.0                                                
1971     1657.1      1262.0      1486.9      1510.0      1186.0      1790.0                                                
1972     2214.9      1831.0      2096.0      2195.1      1691.0      2621.0                                                
1973     1333.0      1099.0      1150.9      1204.0      1017.0      1497.0                                           762.5
1974                                                     1709.0                                                      1427.0
1975                                                     1342.0                                                      1159.2
1976                                                     1353.0                                                      1056.6
1977                                                     1579.0                                                      1356.8
1978                                                     1379.0                                                      1158.5
1979                                                     1584.0                                                      1377.0

1980                                                     1551.0                                                      1290.5
1981                                                     1566.0                                                      1254.0
1982                                                     1923.0                                                      1510.5
1983                                                     1547.0                                                      1175.5
1984                                                     1469.0                                                      1168.5
1985                                                     1830.0                                                      1236.0
1986                                                     1798.0                                                      1366.8
1987                                                     1694.0                                                      1235.5
1988                                                     1769.0                                                      1305.0
1989                                                     1698.0                                                      1157.0

1990                                                     2028.0                                                      1616.0
1991                                                     1669.0                                                      1335.5
1992                                                     1692.1                                                      1301.0
1993                                                     1645.3                                                      1351.5
1994                                                     2078.7                                                      1667.8
1995                                                     1534.1                                                      1340.7
1996                                                     1164.4                                                      1003.2
1997                                                     1572.4                                                      1311.6
1998                                                     1962.9                                                      1581.9
1999                                                     1907.8                                                      1514.0


Means    1902.3      1516.7      1599.9      1888.5      1556.7      2089.0      1232.1      1198.7      1834.0      1297.0


Wettest  3201.4      2187.2      2463.3      2624.8      2210.1      2943.6                                          1667.8

Driest   1241.6       990.6      1051.1      1204.0      1017.0      1166.1                                           762.5


Decadal

1920's   1858.4      1485.3      1599.4      2219.6      1723.1                                          1883.3            
1930's   1772.2      1556.8      1483.1      1950.5      1477.7                                                            
1940's   1814.8      1512.3      1475.3      1790.5      1430.7      1989.9                                                
1950's   2030.0      1495.0      1542.5      1840.1      1531.3      2020.2                                                
1960's   2121.4      1606.3      1930.7      1975.1      1569.9      2192.9                                                
1970's                                                   1427.3                                                      1185.4
1980's                                                   1684.5                                                      1269.9
1990's                                                   1725.5                                                      1402.3

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Wet       Thornship   Tailbert    Swindale    Birkbeck    Swindale      Kirk       Force      Swindale      Shap
        Sleddale      Gill        Head      Parsonage     Fell        HWH         Bank        Beck        Head        S.W.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

  To summarise these records is virtually impossible. You would probably think that sites that are so close together would be complementary and have a certain symmetry, sharing the wettest and driest years and decades for example - but NO.

  If you wanted to know which year/decade was the wettest and driest your answer would have to be "It depends." Firstly consider the wettest decade - from these sites the 1960's is favoured, but not exclusively and the 1940's is favoured as the driest decade, but again, not exclusively.

  And then the wettest and driest years also shows a great disparity, with the biggest departure coming in the driest year. Only two sites (Swindale Parsonage and Birkbeck Fell in 1973) have the same driest year with the others scattered about.

  The wettest year has a little more in common with Thornship Gill, Swindale Parsonage and Birkbeck Fell sharing 1928 as the wettest year, but Wet Sleddale (1954) and Tailbert Head (1967) don't even have 1928 has their own second wettest year!

  One curiosity is that Swindale Parsonage and Birkbeck Fell, the two sites further from each other, share the same wettest and driest years!

  Swindale High Wether Howe has the highest average of any site, but it's driest and wettest years were both drier than that of Wet Sleddale which has the second highest mean rainfall and High Wether Howe's driest year of 1166.1 mm (1949) Was some 700 mm drier than Wet Sleddale that year - amazing!

 

 

OTHER WEATHER and Early Newspaper Reports

  Before moving onto the Met' Office years, it is fair to say that there would have been a lot of weather experienced both before and after the last entries above. To find anything before Hoggarth would be lucky, but not impossibe and whilst now 50 years on, there are the winters of the 1960's for which there are various tales of the help given to stranded motorists, this being in the days before the M6 motorway was opened.

  I have not yet researched this aspect in any details as my main focus was to get what I did have out into the world of the web - but if you do have something, photos, personal accounts or even some weather data, then please get in touch.

  The very first account that I have unearthed is taken from the parish records of St. Michael's church:

 October 1756  'The night between the sixth and seventh of this month was the highest wind ever known in the memory of man which did very great damage all over this country'

 

  Then moving on to accounts taken from the newspapers:

 

    1775 - December   The following is actually taken from the Northampton Mercury dated 4th December and it seems like Shap was a place to avoid that night as there was a 'Great Storm' and also deaths!

 

    1846 - June   Deaths caused by lightning.

  Taken from the pages the Kendal Mercury of 27th June 1946 are the following accounts of a tragic event nearby

            

 

  As any railway worker in Cumbria will know, Shap can be a bleak place for the railway. It might just be a case of sheep on the line (West Coast Main Line goes through the village), but when it is due to the weather, flooding, etc, it takes on its own peculiar personality. But when was the last time that this happened?

  In 1963 we experienced a winter that still lives long in the memory of those who had to endure it and at its end the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald published a booklet entitled 'The Worst Winter of the Century.' There is only one small snippet about Shap during that winter, to be found in the introduction:

    'The seventh week was the worst. For four days twelve schoolchildren were unable to get home from Kirkby Stephen, which was completely isolated ... the "Caledonian," a crack express, was held up at Shap after a freight train on the same line had run into drifts ...'

  I will be on the lookout for any other accounts, etc of the weather in Shap and will add to this section as and when.

 

  And if you actually want to see what the weather is doing at this very moment, check the following from the Cumbria County Council Vaisala unit on Shap summit    Current conditions

 

MET OFFICE

  The Met' Office weather station as mentioned above, is actually in Wet Sleddale (Grid Ref: NY(35) 556121) and the site was opened in 1982. Below is all the monthly rainfall and temperature data from 1989 along with the various monthly and annual averages.

  However, the Met' office has its own dedicated webpage for Shap, which is very informative and which can be found here   Met Office climate data for Shap

  monthly and annual means 

 

  the rainfall data:



	Jan	Feb	Mar	Apr	May	Jun	Jul	Aug	Sep	Oct	Nov	Dec	Total


1989	142.5	338.7	316.8	 84.1	 28.6	 40.8	 19.9	147.6	 28.3	167.3	144.0	156.4	1615.0
1990	445.8	475.1	 88.8	 75.6	 72.4	 93.3	 83.2	 58.8	 63.9	238.0	 74.2	274.0	2043.1
1991	218.9	193.5	188.4	124.8	  8.5	 126.4	 53.3	 50.1	 70.8	208.3	244.9	146.1	1634.0
1992	 69.0	158.8	173.4	103.4	 93.4	 43.1	115.0	204.2	164.6	130.6	276.0	200.2	1731.7
1993	393.2	 20.2	 70.5	190.3	188.6	 43.0	 97.4	 53.8	110.2	 62.4	 77.2	432.1	1738.9
1994	319.7	116.6	341.4	139.8	 45.2	 96.8	 63.8	128.2	116.6	119.4	208.8	418.0	2114.3
1995	323.0	368.4	117.4	 18.2	 91.2	 40.0	 78.0	 15.4	 91.6	308.6	152.6	 46.2	1650.6
1996	107.8	153.2	 40.4	 95.8	 76.2	 48.0	 70.6	 85.2	133.2	237.6	200.8	 54.4	1303.2
1997	 17.4	594.0	125.6	 38.6	135.0	100.0	 70.2	 66.8	143.4	 53.8	167.6	265.8	1778.2
1998	276.8	123.2	198.4	121.8	 62.0	164.2	144.5	 95.8	105.2	362.6	187.4	178.4	2020.3
1999	415.0	 69.2	136.0	142.2	139.2	 71.4	 53.2	 72.6	169.4	107.0	186.8	358.8	1920.8
2000	243.8	248.2	 83.4	120.2	 72.0	119.8	 60.1	 91.0	231.0	329.0	298.8	247.6	2144.9
2001	118.8	151.8	 71.0	133.0	 22.2	 55.2	 97.7	 87.4	146.2	214.0	160.6	100.0	1357.9
2002	326.0	447.0	 96.2	118.2	251.4	160.8	 66.0	122.6	 57.1	170.6	160.4	177.0	2153.3
2003	  8.5	 79.8	128.8	 81.1	170.2	 92.6	104.8	 15.2	115.0	 38.4	222.1	176.7	1233.2
2004	 22.1	145.0	173.3	 97.0	 62.0	 99.2	 62.5	329.9	215.6	220.0	 40.8	180.8	1648.2
2005	390.7	 69.0	104.4	129.7	 96.0	 56.4	 74.2	118.8	148.2	193.8	192.8	 51.8	1625.8
2006	132.8	 98.8	156.8	 84.2	145.4	 65.2	103.2	105.6	127.8	184.0	274.4	504.5	1982.7
2007	364.2	131.4	135.8	 74.4	 99.9	230.0	156.0	 95.4	102.2	 92.2	130.6	302.0	1914.1
2008	372.0	192.0	227.6	 82.2	 32.4	132.2	118.0	182.6	170.2	402.2	149.6	161.4	2222.4
2009	349.6	 18.2	108.6	 83.6	164.0	 65.4	307.4	264.4	 71.6	159.0	621.4	187.2	2400.4
2010	 60.1	 41.2	149.6	 53.4	 34.0	 31.2	218.8	 92.0	131.2	144.0	211.8	  7.8	1175.1
2011	270.6	353.4	121.6	 85.4	195.2	 66.2	 99.4	120.4	226.2	144.8	173.4	298.0	2154.6
2012	147.6	 81.6	 31.2	103.2	123.0	213.0	 88.6	182.8	189.0	174.2	269.2	291.4	1894.8
2013	151.8	 45.8	 57.6	124.0	106.6	 56.2	140.4	147.8	 90.8	292.6	 97.4	408.8	1719.8
2014	318.2	365.6	147.0	 74.4	 92.0	 51.0	 99.0	195.4	 13.6	296.2	141.0	236.0	2029.4
2015	350.4	138.0	185.4	 85.8	181.8	 45.8	 74.8*	142.4	 40.8	 86.2	456.0	837.4	2624.8
2016	327.8	222.2	101.8	122.4	 47.8	123.0	 99.4	194.0	151.4	 36.6	124.0	135.6	1686.0
2017	 70.6	165.0	179.6	 21.6	 74.4	185.4	124.6						 821.2
2018													      
2019													      


Means	232.9	193.3	139.9	 96.8	100.4	 93.6	101.5	123.8	122.3	184.8	201.6	244.1	1835.0


Decadal
													
1990's	258.7	227.2	148.0	105.1	 91.2	 82.6	 82.9	 83.1	116.9	182.8	177.6	237.4	1793.5
2000's	232.9	158.1	128.6	100.4	111.6	107.7	115.0	141.3	138.5	200.3	225.2	208.9	1868.3
2010's	212.1	176.6	121.7	 83.8	106.9	 96.5	118.1	153.5	120.4	167.8	210.4	316.4	1884.3
C21st	223.6	166.3	125.5	 93.0	109.5	102.7	116.4	146.3	131.1	186.9	219.1	253.2	1873.6


     * = incomplete total due to missing data 

  and then the temperature data, from 1992. The months were data is missing is be due to there being 3 or more days of missing data in that particular month:


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec      Year
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Air temperatures (C)

       Min               1.60    2.64    3.54    5.78            9.76    9.20    7.64    1.66    2.19   -0.53          
1992   Max               7.05    8.37    9.87   16.19           17.17   15.96   14.55    8.77    8.39    5.01          
       Mean              4.33    5.51    6.71   10.99           13.47   12.58   11.10    5.22    5.29    2.24          


       Min       1.47    1.73    1.09    3.98    3.56    8.22    9.81    7.04    5.90    1.21   -1.76   -0.22      3.50
1993   Max       6.82    6.73    7.92   11.36   12.93   17.09   16.17   15.94   13.68    9.38    5.58    5.26     10.74
       Mean      4.15    4.23    4.51    7.67    8.25   12.66   12.99   11.49    9.79    5.30    1.91    2.52      7.12


       Min       1.12   -2.22    2.42    2.31    3.26    8.21    9.08            6.28    4.92    5.43    2.02          
1994   Max       5.80    3.65    7.65    9.40   12.44   15.43   19.12           13.83   11.80   10.37    7.23          
       Mean      3.46    0.72    5.04    5.86    7.85   11.82   14.10           10.06    8.36    7.90    4.63          


       Min               1.89   -0.32    2.00            6.89   10.76    8.83    5.93    7.96    2.38                  
1995   Max               6.63    5.80   11.12           17.28   19.92   21.77   15.60   13.89    8.97                  
       Mean              4.26    2.74    6.56           12.09   15.34   15.30   10.77   10.93    5.68                  


       Min                      -0.07    3.14    1.94    6.74    9.26    9.63    7.00    6.73           -0.79          
1996   Max       5.88            5.30   10.16   11.26   16.72   18.46   18.61   15.44   12.89            4.51          
       Mean                      2.62    6.65    6.60   11.73   13.86   14.12   11.22    9.81            1.86          


       Min      -2.42    2.15    3.12    2.88            7.85    9.68   10.71    7.34    4.15    4.62    1.59          
1997   Max       4.51    7.33    9.98   11.44           16.13   19.66   20.55   15.74   11.94    9.57    7.25          
       Mean      1.05    4.74    6.55    7.16           11.99   14.67   15.63   11.54    8.05    7.10    4.42          


       Min       1.20    4.31    2.78    2.52    6.31    8.64   10.06            8.68    5.06    1.33    1.50          
1998   Max       6.03    8.70    9.25    9.51   15.90   15.19                   16.56   11.64    7.55    7.16          
       Mean      3.62    6.51    6.02    6.02   11.11   11.92                   12.62    8.35    4.44    4.33          


       Min       1.38    1.41    2.74    3.34    6.86    7.47    9.90    9.39    8.86    5.23    3.04   -0.55      4.92
1999   Max       6.62    6.61    8.47   11.98   15.33   15.72   19.62   17.71   17.22   12.38    9.04    5.88     12.22
       Mean      4.00    4.01    5.61    7.66   11.10   11.60   14.76   13.55   13.04    8.81    6.04    2.67      8.57


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec      Year
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


       Min       0.33    1.87    2.36    1.88            8.31    8.14    8.99    8.66    5.00            0.85          
2000   Max       6.16    7.00    9.29    9.79           15.86   17.57   18.48   16.30   11.75            6.40          
       Mean      3.25    4.44    5.83    5.84           12.09   12.86   13.74   12.48    8.38            3.63          


       Min      -1.30   -1.41   -1.43    2.27    4.94    7.70   10.76    9.14    7.80    9.25    3.36   -2.13      4.08
2001   Max       4.96    5.84    6.51    9.49   15.97   15.71   19.03   18.35   15.08   14.38    9.90    6.53     11.81
       Mean      1.83    2.22    2.54    5.88   10.46   11.71   14.90   13.75   11.44   11.82    6.63    2.20      7.95


       Min       0.94    2.36    1.44    2.19    6.16    8.88    9.15            7.13    3.25    3.66                  
2002   Max       7.47    7.84   10.00   12.06   13.42   15.55   17.52           16.32   11.47    9.28                  
       Mean      4.21    5.10    5.72    7.13    9.79   12.22   13.34           11.73    7.36    6.47                  


       Min              -1.79    0.36    2.20    6.74    9.12   11.12    9.41    6.84    1.46    3.44   -0.56          
2003   Max               6.30   10.85   13.21   13.53   17.84   18.87   19.56   15.88   10.74    9.41    6.30          
       Mean              2.26    5.61    7.71   10.14   13.48   15.00   14.49   11.36    6.10    6.43    2.87          


       Min                               3.87    3.86    8.09    9.23   10.76    7.75    4.90    2.77    0.64          
2004   Max                              10.72   14.98   16.45   17.26   18.75   15.66   11.11    8.81    7.14          
       Mean                              7.30    9.42   12.27   13.25   14.76   11.71    8.01    5.79    3.89          


       Min       1.80    0.12    1.75            3.88    7.74    9.52    8.13    7.98    7.60    0.40   -0.42          
2005   Max       7.04    5.32    8.70           12.48   16.53   17.72   17.57   15.66   13.23    8.04    6.10          
       Mean      4.42    2.72    5.23            8.18   12.14   13.62   12.85   11.82   10.42    4.22    2.84          


       Min      -0.50   -0.18   -1.03    2.43    5.15    7.69   10.05    9.29    9.86    6.81    3.39    1.62      4.55
2006   Max       5.08    5.37    5.59   10.37   13.91   18.04   22.13   17.55   18.02   13.98    9.55    6.74     12.19
       Mean      2.29    2.60    2.28    6.40    9.53   12.87   16.09   13.42   13.94   10.40    6.47    4.18      8.37


       Min       1.73   -0.30    1.46    3.20    5.03    8.31    9.38    8.32    7.09    4.87    2.76   -0.33      4.29
2007   Max       7.95    6.59    8.75   14.19   13.56   17.04   16.76   16.99   15.28   12.90    9.24    6.23     12.12
       Mean      4.84    3.15    5.11    8.70    9.30   12.68   13.07   12.66   11.19    8.89    6.00    2.95      8.21


       Min       1.81   -0.06    0.64    1.78    5.06    7.01   10.11   10.79    7.26    4.10    2.05   -1.74      4.07
2008   Max       7.10    8.24    7.18    9.40   15.90   15.71   18.28   16.93   14.53   10.79    7.58    5.16     11.40
       Mean      4.46    4.09    3.91    5.59   10.48   11.36   14.20   13.86   10.90    7.45    4.82    1.71      7.73


       Min      -0.89   -0.74    1.34    2.26    5.75    7.01   10.37   10.53    7.34    5.87    3.25   -2.53      4.13
2009   Max       4.73    5.79    8.75   12.73   13.77   17.49   17.81   17.43   15.83   12.77    8.84    3.98     11.66
       Mean      1.92    2.53    5.05    7.50    9.76   12.25   14.09   13.98   11.59    9.32    6.05    0.73      7.90

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec      Year
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


       Min      -3.62   -4.03   -0.40    1.78    3.00    7.52   10.46    8.53    8.20    4.51   -0.11   -7.48      2.36
2010   Max       2.49    3.71    8.06   11.66   13.45   18.25   17.15   17.15   15.84   11.63    6.17    1.49     10.59
       Mean     -0.57   -0.16    3.83    6.72    8.23   12.89   13.81   12.84   12.02    8.07    3.03   -3.00      6.48


       Min      -1.40    0.20    0.10    3.90            7.00    7.40    8.80    8.60    7.70    4.50    1.70          
2011   Max       4.80    6.90    9.00   14.50           16.10   18.00   16.50   15.90   13.30   10.60    6.90          
       Mean      1.70    3.55    4.55    9.20           11.55   12.70   12.65   12.25   10.50    7.55    4.30          


       Min       0.70    0.20    2.20    1.10    3.70    7.40    9.50    9.50    7.30    3.10    1.90   -0.20      3.87
2012   Max       6.60    5.90   11.60    9.20   14.50   14.50   16.60   17.80   14.50   10.90    7.60    5.60     11.28
       Mean      3.65    3.05    6.90    5.15    9.10   10.95   13.05   13.65   10.90    7.00    4.75    2.70      7.57


       Min       0.00   -1.60   -2.70    1.20    4.30    6.90   10.30   10.30    7.30    7.90    0.00    2.80      3.89
2013   Max       4.50    5.10    3.60    9.10   12.90   16.70   21.30   18.20   15.30   13.20    8.10    7.90     11.33
       Mean      2.25    1.75    0.45    5.15    8.60   11.80   15.80   14.25   11.30   10.55    4.05    5.35      7.61


       Min       2.00    2.10    1.90    4.00    6.20    7.90    8.80    8.20    7.60    6.70    3.30    0.60      4.94
2014   Max       6.20    6.40    9.30   12.40   14.10   17.80   20.10   16.50   17.40   13.00    9.40    6.80     12.45
       Mean      4.10    4.25    5.60    8.20   10.15   12.85   14.45   12.35   12.50    9.85    6.35    3.70      8.70


       Min       0.40   -0.70    0.50    1.10    4.60    6.70   9.20     9.50    5.30    3.80    4.80    4.00      4.10
2015   Max       5.40    5.10    7.70   11.80   12.10   16.10  17.10    17.40   15.50   12.80   10.50    9.80     11.78
       Mean      2.90    2.20    4.10    6.45    8.35   11.40  13.15    13.45   10.40    8.30    7.65    6.90      7.94


       Min       1.50   -1.00    0.10    0.90    3.90    8.80  10.00    10.20   10.00    3.80   -0.80    2.30      4.14
2016   Max       6.30    5.90    7.90    9.30   15.40   17.80  17.90    18.10   17.20   12.30    6.90    8.30     11.94
       Mean      3.90    2.45    4.00    5.10    9.65   13.30  13.95    14.15   13.60    8.05    3.05    5.30      8.04


       Min      -0.20    2.30    2.60    2.80    4.70    9.70   9.70                                               4.51
2017   Max       6.00    6.90   10.20   11.80   16.20   16.70  17.70                                              12.21
       Mean      2.90    4.60    6.40    7.30   10.45   13.20  13.70                                               8.36


       Mean Min  0.29    0.34    1.02    2.50    4.76    7.83    9.67    9.33    7.59    5.10    2.43    0.09      4.25
       Mean Max  5.84    6.29    8.23   11.06   14.10   16.55   18.36   17.90   15.71   12.12    8.67    6.25     11.76
       MEAN      3.06    3.31    4.63    6.78    9.43   12.19   14.01   13.61   11.65    8.61    5.55    3.17      8.00

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec      Year
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      

 

Is It Wetter in Wet Sleddale Than In The Village?

  Yes it is    Within this piece I have stated that the Met' Office site at Wet Sleddale is probably not that representative of the weather in the village itself ..... the average rainfall of the Wet Sleddale (WS) site compared with that at the sewerage works (SW) more than confirms this:

  During the 1990's the SW averaged annual rainfall of 1402.3 mm whilst at WS it was 1793.5 mm - basically the village only had 78% of the rain that WS had!

  For the complete data that we have since then (2004-10) this figure as risen slightly to 80% (SW average of 1488.1 mm and WS 1852.7 mm) - proof enough!

 

 

WARMEST, COLDEST AND DRIEST - since 2005

  Using the Met' Office data from 2005 we find that in each year the warmest, coldest and wettest days in each year is thus:

   2005 -   COLDEST  =  -9.4°c (15.1°f)  29th December        WARMEST  =  26.9°c (80.4°f)  11th July        WETTEST  =  118.6 mm on 7th January (Carlisle floods).

   2006 -   COLDEST  =  -10.2°c (13.6°f)  31st January  +  4th March        WARMEST  =  28.4°c (83.1°f)  18th July        WETTEST  =  78.2 mm on 10th December.

   2007 -   COLDEST  =  -8.6°c (16.5°f)  6th March               WARMEST  =  23.3°c (73.9°f)  11th June        WETTEST  =  79.8 mm on 27th February.

   2008 -   COLDEST  =  -11.3°c (11.7°f)  1st December        WARMEST  =  23.5°c (74.3°f)  17th July        WETTEST  =  79.8 mm on 25th October.

   2009 -   COLDEST  =  -11.0°c (12.2°f)  6th February         WARMEST  =  25.8°c (78.4°f)  2nd July         WETTEST  =  100.0 mm on 9th January         Note:-   October 19th had 81.6 mm.

   2010 -   COLDEST  =  -17.9°c (-0.2°f)  8th December        WARMEST  =  24.9°c (76.8°f)  22nd May       WETTEST  =  40.0 mm on 2nd November     Note:-   January 8th had a low temp' of -16.1°c.

   2011 -   COLDEST  =  -9.4°c (15.1°f)  29th January           WARMEST  =  25.3°c (77.5°f)  27th June        WETTEST  =  97.4 mm on 4th February        Note:-   January 15th had rainfall of 90.2 mm.

   2012 -   COLDEST  =  -9.4°c (15.1°f)  2nd February          WARMEST  =  25.5°c (77.9°f)  5th May          WETTEST  =  73.6 mm on 24th September.

   2013 -   COLDEST  =  -8.7°c (16.3°f)  31st March             WARMEST  =  26.7°c (80.1°f)  18th July         WETTEST  =  58.4 mm on 23rd December.

   2014 -   COLDEST  =  -5.7°c (21.7°f)  6th December        WARMEST  =  25.2°c (77.4°f)  25th July         WETTEST  =  49.8 mm on 23rd February.

   2015 -   COLDEST  =  -9.1°c (15.6°f)  3rd February         WARMEST  =  28.8°c (83.8°f)  1st July            WETTEST  =  166.6 mm on 5th Dec'           Note:-   Dec' 4th had 96.0 mm (262.6 mm in 48 hrs).

 

 

   © Darren Rogers 2015

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