Diary, 17-18 November 2022, By Charlie Gladstone
It rained a great deal at Glen Dye at the end of last week. Around 6 inches of water fell in a few hours, and it all came crashing down the River Dye, which offers its only escape from the glen. Off the hills it poured and into the Dye; quickly, determinedly, rather too enthusiastically.
The Dye is a classic spate river, it rises and falls rapidly and can transform itself from a friendly, mild-mannered stream into a fierce tantrum in a matter of hours. This happened last Friday, and it took our iconic footbridge with it. The bridge was built in 1995 to replace its sister that was also lost in a spate.
It had become pretty rickety recently and -truth be told- we were planning to replace it soon. But there is still something sad and terrifying about that beautiful 35-foot span being ripped from its foundations and hurled towards the North Sea. I imagine it now, bobbing between trawlers and oil rigs and I feel melancholy.
All of those years of crossing it with our children -in all weathers, with our dogs crouching to the deck for fear of falling- built a powerful connection with the bridge. The last photo I have of my late parents looking truly happy was taken on the bridge at Christmas six years ago. This is when things, objects, stuff, cross from being inanimate and functional into something more personal and powerful.
I posted the news of its demise on Instagram, and it soon became clear that others felt the same way; there was a sort of collective melancholy sigh, especially from at least three couples that posed for wedding photos on it. There were more comments than I’ve ever received. I was surprised, but I understood.
If you have stayed at North Lodge or had your wedding with us, you’ll have had direct contact with the bridge; you’ll feel its specialness. Ultimately, it’s just a bunch of planks, rickety ones at that. But it’s also more than that. It might just be its perfect location, the way it leads you straight into a magical bit of woodland, or maybe it’s the waterfall above and the pool below. Or the view of the Summer House. Or the slight feeling that you’re taking your life into your own hands as you embark on a crossing.
Anyway, its gone and one day it’ll wash up on a beach somewhere and maybe you’ll find a well-weathered plank and take it home with you.
WHAT NEXT? THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN.
We’ll rebuild it next year. The actual work will be carried out by long term resident of Glen Dye Neil Strachan, our master craftsman and a man as expert as he is passionate about Glen Dye. This is important to us because it gives the thing soul and Neil is one of life’s ‘can-doers’, which helps.
But the design is up for grabs and if you’d like to work with us on this (professionally) please let us know. At the moment we’re just reflecting a bit on the opportunity (clouds and silver linings seems apposite here), but it would be worth starting some conversations. Ideally, I think that it would have no central support because whatever that’s made of will disintegrate if hit by a fallen tree in a spate. My Dad designed a sort of tube bridge last time which was both clever and buildable, but I chose not to use the design. Sorry dad, you were probably right.
The bridge has been there for around 150 years, and it seems to me that it has always been of much the same design. Now it might be time for some gentle change.
Have a think. Get in touch.
More wet news…
This rain came almost precisely a year after Storm Arwen. Remember that? Seven days without power, trees down everywhere, some forests demolished, cars trashed.
And this time it wasn’t just our bridge that suffered. All of our guests were stranded by severe flooding to both the north and south. One intrepid customer tried to forge a route home and described all sorts of twists, turns, detours and fruitless optimism before heading back to Glen Dye.
We were full and everyone had to stay for at least 24 hours while our incoming guests waited patiently for the opportunity to join us. I suppose this just comes with the territory and to an extent we do get used to it. But, as ever, our guests were patient and helpful and now all is good.
More good stuff from our journal.All posts
A beautiful event, gatecrashed by a terrific storm.
Hidden within the secret of Glen Dye, Photography by Department 2.