Gamekeepers come to the rescue across the country as Storm Arwen wreaks havoc
This week Storm Arwen has swept through the country, causing havoc in many parts of Scotland and northern England. 30,000 homes were left without power for five nights in sub-zero temperatures in parts of the country including Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and North Wales.
In the vast majority of cases the homes affected were in rural areas; and is so often the case when natural disasters such as wildfires and storms cause damage in these areas, it is the gamekeepers, farmers and land managers who have been out in all weathers helping people.
In Nidderdale, moorland keepers have been filling barrels of water to take round to neighbours – as the loss of power in many rural areas means that people have lost not only electric to our houses, but also water supplies which are pumped in from holding tanks outside. With the weather turning cold, there is no heating either. Animals also need a regular supply of water and filling barrels to take down to them became a daily routine.
In the North York Moors gamekeepers came to the rescue to clear a rural road which had been made completely unpassable due to a fallen tree. And in the Yorkshire Dales, keepers were out rescuing stranded vehicles and removing blown trees and branches from roads to free up these vital links between villages.
In these situations, gamekeepers are key workers – often referred to as the 4th Emergency Service in rural moorland communities.
In the Grampians in Scotland, keepers used their equipment and highly trained skills to reopen another blocked road – just in time to allow a fire engine to get through to another call out. And in the Angus Glens, keepers cleared trees from the roads, saving the councils the time when they could be working in other areas, and helping stranded people to get home. When engineers from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks came out to try and get the electricity back on, gamekeepers in Glenesk used the lamps on their vehicles and head lights on their tractors, to light up the cold, dark and wet night and make life a little easier for the engineers to see what they are doing.
This is yet another example of how gamekeepers form such a vital part of local rural communities, and how much their work is valued in these remote communities.