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Business re-opens as usual for the Ullswater Steamers

Photo: ITV Border

There was a sign today that things are starting to get back to normal in one the places hit hardest by last month's storms.

Glenridding was flooded multiple times but a boat service connecting it to other villages on the shores of Ullswater has sailed for the first time in six weeks.

Ullswater Steamers was hard hit by the December floods too. The pier and ticket office were flooded. The Lady Wakefield is still beached at Pooley Bridge, so damaged she'll be out of action till April.

I had to walk across the fields because obviously the water level was the highest I've ever seen it, came through the trees and it was just an astounding level really of devastation. There was two trees down over the side of the pier house, the Lady Wakefield had broken a couple of ropes and she was hanging on by a single rope point, towards the river.

– MARK LITTLEJOHN, PHOTOGRAPHER
Credit: ITV Border

The roads around Glenridding became treacherous with snow today but the steamer was able to sail for the first time.

It's been off for almost 6 weeks and I've missed it a lot because I've taken early retirement and I've had a season ticket for Ullswater Steamers for about 7 years, and what I tend to do is I cycle to Howtown and leave my bike at the pier and walk up to Glenridding over the numerous fells that there are to do so, get the boat back to my bike at Howtown and that makes a lovely day out for me.

– ROBERT STANNARD, from Tirril

People who've been affected by the floods in Glenridding, Patterdale, Pooley Bridge, Howtown and Martindale can get a free season ticket to help them get around with many of the bridges being closed.

People have to apply through participating newsagents and must prove they live in the local area all year round.

As a fun thing to do, which will sort of, you know, cheer them up a little bit after all the hardship that they've endured over the last few weeks.

– Mark Horton, Ullswater Steamers

It's a bit of good news for the business, which has spent much of the last month dealing with flood damage.

Credit: ITV Border

During the course of all this flooding, because the steamer staff weren't running the steamers but they have various other types of expertise, they were helping the village by keeping things like the mobile phone signals going, providing generators and diesel and making sure that some basic infrastructure in the village was still carrying on.

– Mark Horton, Ullswater Steamers

The boat still can't get to Pooley Bridge but traders in Howtown will be glad tourists are coming their way again.

It's a brilliant day: it's sunny; bit of snow on the ground. We're off from Glenridding through to Howtown and then we're going to walk down to Martindale, back eventually to the Patterdale Hotel, where we're staying for the night.

– Mike Taylor, Kendal

It's good for the economy, it's good for everyone to know that tourists are welcome and everything's getting back to normal

– Barbara Taylor, Kendal

We just love it you know and it's such a shame to see all the devastation with it. We walked out the other way yesterday and to see all the stones down and it's sad, sad for the people as well, but it won't stop us coming, we'll still be here!

– Pamela Marriott, Doncaster