Before moving here, I’ve only ever visited Hebden Bridge in the summer. The Hebden Water river I saw was a gentle stream, a few inches of water tumbling gently over its rocky bed, frequently braiding into rivulets that left much of the channel free of water. When people talked about the town being vulnerable to flooding, I couldn’t believe it. That! That tiny stream can cause flooding! Hell, I thought, I’ve pissed stronger streams than that.
But then came the devastating Boxing Day floods. I wasn’t here for those, but the river I see now is an angry beast, filling its channel to the very brim. This is no gentle stream; this is the sort of foaming torrent Kevin Keegan and his perm might have been found kayaking up in the mid-1970s, accompanied by a bevy of fellow sporting personalities, somewhere between the cycle race and the gym test.
Each morning, when I take the dog for her morning walk, I look at the river, and hope that today it won’t rain, and the river might get a little less angry.
Ducks swimming over a flooded riverside platform, that leads to a set of submerged steps