Storm Ciara came to the UK on 2nd February, leading to the River Wear bursting its banks, and causing several Durham college boathouses to suffer from flooding.
The flooding has been stated by several colleges to be the worst flooding experienced in years. Several college boathouses have confirmed to have experienced very significant flooding, including at least Van Mildert, St John’s, Grey, and St Chad’s.
Chad’s commented on the extent of the flooding to Palatinate: “We thankfully didn’t suffer any damage, although our boat house did flood. It was the worst I’ve ever seen it. We’ve put up flood defences a few times this year, but water has never go in the boat house until last weekend.”
John’s experienced significant damage as a consequence of the flooding, saying: “The main effect the storm had for us, was the flooding of our boathouse. Luckily we realised this was happening, so we were able to remove electrics and other valuables from the floor relatively early on.
“We think the main consequence has been worsening of pre-existing damage.”
A spokesperson for Van Mildert College, whose boathouse was also affected, commented on the flooding being significantly worse compared to previous years, posing a threat the future of their boathouse:
“Our boathouse did suffer some flooding too. Thankfully I can’t see too much damage as a result of the storm.
“However, it was the most it has flooded since I’ve been at the university, and our boathouse which is held up by Japanese knotweed, is in need of some repairs, so the flooding does present a risk of weakening it further.”
Sam Graham, President of Grey College Boat Club, said of the effects of the storm on their boathouse: “We had no permanent damage as such. We put down tarpaulin and sandbags in front of the shutters before the storm.
“The water still got in and flooded the boat house but we had moved all our equipment to the back and fixed it down, also tying down the boats so everything was okay.
“We had to shovel the sand and dirt that had been deposited all outside the boathouse for about three hours.”
St Aidan’s and University College were contacted, but did not provide comment.
Photography: Toby Donegan-Cross