Squelching Through

wet cow

George Monbiot said what??

There’s been a lot of talk recently about flood defences and the perils of over-zealous drainage of uplands, and how we might save our towns and cities from flooding if only the river catchments could hold more water. It’s an attractive idea, and I’m all for working with nature, planting more trees, not building massive flood barriers (Bigtown is planning to build a massive bund along its river front which, while practical and undoubtedly cost-effective, doesn’t exactly gladden the heart as a prospect) and definitely all for reintroducing beavers to help slow river flows – not because I think that they will necessarily do much for our flood defences but mostly because I just think it would be really cool to have beavers in Scotland again.

saturated field

The sad part is, this field actually had extensive drainage put in this autumn…

There is one tiny problem though. I don’t know about the rest of the country, and I’m sure that elsewhere there is more that could be done – but speaking as someone who lives in one of the catchment areas that is supposed to be holding all this surplus water, I really am not sure where exactly it is supposed to go

swollen river and waterfall

Or how the land could hold any more of it.

cows seek the higher ground

The cows don’t, either

So I expect we’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that, as most things are.

Speaking of flood defences, I was finally able to get the story of our own impromptu ones from the horse’s mouth. It turns out one of the junior landlords, up from London for the holidays, was responsible for the major works. ‘Well, we’re very grateful, and thank him for his efforts’ I said. ‘Oh don’t worry, he had the most wonderful time,’ was the breezy reply.

To be honest, I’m a bit jealous, because I love mucking around and damming things. Maybe that’s why I’m so keen on them bringing back the beavers…


6 Responses to Squelching Through

  1. Bob says:

    Wait. You used to have Beavers?

  2. disgruntled says:

    Eurasian ones – a bit smaller than the North American kind http://www.scottishbeavers.org.uk/beaver-facts/

  3. […] that she’s whinging on about now? There’s been too much rain […]

  4. subversivite says:

    Would otters do? I know they don’t dam things, but they’re really cute.

  5. subversivite says:

    I’ve got it! Upland cattle and sheep farmers should switch to beavers (you know, for the hats. Or is that racoons? Anyway) which means they can plant trees where the cows and sheep used to be, soaking up all the rain, while the beavers slow down all the rivers! Genius!

  6. disgruntled says:

    Ha – I was thinking woodland foraging pigs. But to be honest, the real reason we have little bits of woodland left is for pheasant shooting, which is probably a little bit more economically viable than beaver farming

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