Friday, 7 January 2011

Frozen Walks and The Dale Dyke Dam Disaster

After such a busy day in Manchester we wanted a more quieter day so we went to the village of Bradfield for a long walk. It was very, very cold and it tried to snow several times whilst we were walking but thankfully it stayed off. 

 Ruben spoiled me in gifts with first a 'spiky flower' and then a 'scorpion flower' sure they have proper names but that's what he wanted to call them.

 As we walked up to the reservoir, Cordelia saw her dream situation-a horse in someones front garden! After a quick stroke we set off back up the hill again.
 We could hear lots of shooting from the farmers fields and Piper and Cordelia had a long conversation about how they aren't going to let people shoot on their land when they live in the country! Very sweet! As we got up to the reservoir we noticed piles of ice all around the edge, so this is the second reservoir we have seen in two days that was completely frozen over. Just shows how extremely cold it has been over the last month or so.

 We wanted to get right by the edge of the reservoir and see the ice for ourselves but it wasn't very safe so we left it. It reminded me of Bala Lake as it reflected all of the landscape around it like a painting, very picturesque!
   The girls did lots of birdwatching with daddy's binoculars and even saw a bird of prey! Forgotten which one it was though :-/ They have been inspired by their RSPB Wildlife Club magazines that came last week and plan to take part in the big garden birdwatch at the end of the month.

 You can't really see because of the shadows but these were some gorgeous Shetland ponies that trotted over to see us, they were adorable all fluffy and sweet. The girls ooohed and aaahed over them for ages.
A little bit of history about this reservoir, during the Industrial Revolution Sheffield expanded rapidly and this put strain on the water supply. The Dale Dike Dam was built in 1864 and held 650 million gallons of water when on March 11th 1864 a dam worker spotted a crack, a fingers width in the dam wall. The chief engineer John Gunson decided it was nothing to worry about but lowered the water level as a precaution by this time it was after 10pm at night. He re-inspected at 11.30 pm and noted nothing had changed but the water was running over the top of the embankment into the crack. He was making his way to the bottom of the embankment when he felt the earth shake and saw the top of the dam breached by the water. Whilst he managed to scramble out of the way, the dam collapsed and the water swept down the valley and into Sheffield. It swept away 415 houses, 106 factories and shops and 20 bridges for 8 miles. 244 people were killed that night, including a 2 day old baby and an 87 year old woman.. The dam was rebuilt in 1875 but wasn't used again until 1887.

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