Local Historical Weather Events and Facts

RAVENSTONEDALE

  ADDITIONS MADE:

  14.01.13. - Details added re an excessively wet day at Ravenstonedale on 26th January 1903.

  22.10.12. - clarification for the Ravenstonedale observer from 1916

  14.10.12. - New Chapters for Orton and Ravenstonedale with several photo's now added to the page

 

  Ravenstonedale sits in the Lune valley on the watershed between the Rivers Lune and Eden and is yet another charming and unspoilt village in our area that has much to offer. Nestled underneath the Howgill fells and with Smardale nature reserve and its imposing railway viaduct a short walk from the village, it really is just one more reason to visit the area.

  It is relatively drier than the nearby villages of Orton and Tebay, afforded some protection by the Howgills, but its rainfall is still higher than that experienced back on the Crosby Ravensworth side of Orton scar.

 

  Ravenstonedale provides us with a truly excellent rainfall series that runs from 1872 to 1946. From 1873 to 1919 the records were kept by the same family, Fothergill and when that family stopped making records there was a brief break until 1924 when the station master of Ravenstonedale railway station kept records until 1946. To have records stretching for such a long period from one locality and still relatively close by to us is superb.

  In 1872 the observer is listed as 'The late Rev. Ismay Barnes' who had only commenced observations in 1871! He was using a 5" gauge set at 1ft 1" above the ground at 835 ft above sea level. His one full year of observations was a fairly historic one as 1872 was one of the wettest years on record and his annual total of 83.80" is quite remarkable.

  From 1873 a J. Fothergill commenced observations, with the location quoted as 'Ravenstonedale (Brownber)'. As Fothergill is shown to be using a 5" gauge at 1ft 1" above the ground and curiously at the same height of 835 ft asl as that quoted for the Rev. Barnes, I feel safe in the assumption that it is still at the same site.

  Whilst the location remains the same year on year, in 1874 the gauge is now shown at 3ft 1" above the ground and then in 1875 it again changes, now at 3ft, but it now remains at that height - shame really as it is far too high.

  Once again there appears to be no submission of information on the events, months or on the year as a whole in the guides from this site.

  The one additional piece of information that I have gained is that the rain gauge was 'Provided out of funds of the 'British Association''.

  In the 1901 guide we find that the record of Fothergill as ceased and that the Rev. R.W. Metcalfe is now the observer. Metcalfe was using a 5" gauge set at 1ft 2" above the ground at a location 800 ft asl.

  There is no mention in the obituary section of the guides of his death nor any reason why Fothergill ceased observations and Metcalfe continued the observations until 1908 (last year of Obs being 1907). Metcalfe does appear in the obituary for observers in the 1908 edition.

  This saw no record for 1908 and then in 1909 a slightly curious new entry 'Newbiggin (Brownber)' shown as 'old ones returning' - and the observer is no other than, J. Fothergill.

  Where had he been for those years? Why now had he re-appeared? Why now 'Newbiggin (Brownber)'?

  The gauge is still a 5" but is now shown as 1ft 6" above the ground and at 842 ft asl - so a few changes.

  The 1910 edition also proves interesting as the observer is now shown as a J.R. Highmoor and the gauge is now sited at 'Ravenstonedale (The Chantry). It is set at 1ft 11" above the ground at 900 ft asl.

  The guide also includes a section on 'Losses and gains' of observers and there is quite an interesting entry, it reads: 'The record at Brownlee, Newbiggin, has stopped, but the rain gauge has been taken to Ravenstonedale, where it used to be until 1908, though it had been previously at Brownlee until 1900. We believe that the present observer is the grandson of the first observer who sent us records from this hard-worked rain gauge.'

  Almost difficult to make sense from that! I don't know if the 'J. Fothergill' from 1873 to 1900 is the same J. Fothergill in 1909.

  In 1916 the observer is shown as Miss D.V. Highmoor with 1915 the last year in which J.R. Highmoor is shown as the observer - no explanation is given as to the reason for the change and J.R. does not appear in the obituries.

  The figures for the entire period are given below:

 



		     MM's    Rain Days

1872		2128.5		215
1873		1154.4		---
1874		1295.9		205
1875		1021.8		185
1876		1097.5		191
1877		1345.7		237
1878		 927.9		189
1879		 828.3		190

1880		 904.5		198
1881		1106.7		191
1882		1178.6		204
1883		1197.3		186
1884		 988.8		190
1885		 940.8		179
1886		1322.5		185
1887		 757.9		147
1888		 957.1		165
1889		 808.5		174

1890		 998.2		177
1891		1321.8		179
1892		1158.5		179
1893		1010.9		176
1894		1274.8		193
1895		1058.9		159
1896		 961.4		173
1897		1218.4		175
1898		1099.0		177
1899		1237.7		163

1900		1216.1		194
1901		 830.6		---
1902		 922.3		163
1903		2007.9		233
1904		1320.3		207
1905		1148.3		211
1906		1481.8		215
1907		1325.6		205
1908		  ---		---
1909		 875.0		---

1910		1239.0		219
1911		1324.6		197
1912		1606.8		239
1913		1328.9		216
1914		1386.8		204
1915		 992.1		---
1916		1453.4		241
1917		1146.3		215
1918		1590.3		233
1919		1086.9		---

Mean		1182.7		194.6


1870's		1225.0		201.7
1880's		1016.3		181.9
1890's		1134.0		175.1
1900's		1236.4		204.0
1910's		1315.5		220.5

 

  The entries in the 'rain days' that are shown as '---' indicate years in which this data was not provided and in total it is a 48 year period with 47 years worth of data (42 years for number of rain days).

    Applying the definitions of 'Dry', 'Average', 'wet' years, etc we find the following:

  'Very Dry' years showing a departure from the average of more than 25% (less) - totaled 5 (10.6%) (1879, 1887, 1889, 1901 and 1909)

  'Dry' years being 10-25% less rainfall than average - totaled 12 (25.5%) (1875, 1878, 1880, 1884-85, 1888, 1890, 1893, 1895-96, 1902 and 1915)

  'Average' years being +/- 10% of the average - surprising that whilst numbering the most is not greater, 16 years (34.0%) (1873-74, 1876, 1881-83, 1892, 1894, 1897-1900, 1905, 1910, 1917 and 1919)

  'Wet' Years being 10-15% more than the average - totals 9 (19.1%) (1877, 1886, 1891, 1904, 1907, 1911, 1913-14 and 1916)

  'Very Wet' years showing a departure from the average of more than 25% (greater) - numbers five (10.6%) (1872, 1903, 1906, 1912 and 1918.

 

  See 'The frequency of 'Very Dry' and 'Very Wet' years in the Eden Valley - a new page coming soon.

 

  1903 - 'Excessive Rainfall and Severe Floods'

  1903 along with 1872 was the wettest year on record locally and from the Rainfall Guides we find that January 26th that year brought a severe gale that produced floods in Carlisle and the Eden valley, but the rainfall on that one day in Ravenstonedale is amazing.

  On that day 4.11" (104.4 mm) of rain was recorded, which represents 5.2% of the annual fall and this was the 9th highest total from any site in the UK and Eire in the whole of 1903.

 

  As previously mentioned there was a break of a few years until 1923 when observations commenced at Ravenstonedale railway station under the watch of J.W. Jackson.

  Those records were simply annual totals that did not include the number of rain days, with Jackson being replaced in 1927 by J.T. Sanderson, then Vernon P. Royle in 1939. There is no observer listed during the war years and then in the final year of records, 1946, the observer/authority is shown as the 'Lune board of Conservators'.

  The totals are shown below, but the first year, 1923, is marked with a ? as it shows a figure of 145.03". We believe that that is a slight error and should read 45.03", which is far more in keeping with the other years.

 

 

RAINFALL AT RAVENSTONEDALE RAILWAY STATION 1923 - 1946


		MM's

1923		1143.8
1924		1279.7
1925		1163.3
1926		1200.9
1927		1413.5
1928		1895.1
1929		1241.0

1930		1448.1
1931		1186.4
1932		 963.2
1933		 941.6
1934		1174.8
1935		1209.3
1936		1150.9
1937		 955.8
1938		1422.9
1939		1274.6

1940		 997.7
1941		 808.7
1942		1089.9
1943		1453.1
1944		1281.2
1945		1134.1
1946		1353.6

Mean		1216.0


Smardale Viaduct

 

  RANDOM YEARLY COMPARISONS

  Taking a few random years from the rainfall guides and trying to use Maulds Meaburn/Crosby Ravensworth as a central point we find some interesting points:

  1883 -   Reagill recorded 48.25 inches of rain, other nearby figures are: Shap (Sleddale) 86.00" - Shap (Copy Hill) 65.27" - Appleby 37.49" - Orton 62.42" - Ravenstonedale 47.14"

  1885 -   Reagill recorded 38.89 inches of rain, other nearby figures are: Shap (Sleddale) 81.45" - Shap (Copy Hill) 57.23" - Appleby 25.28" - Orton 54.62" - Ravenstonedale 37.04"

  1889 -   Reagill recorded 30.06 inches of rain, other nearby figures are: Shap (Sleddale) 52.20" - Shap (Copy Hill) 39.55" - Appleby 27.71" - Orton 39.68" - Ravenstonedale 31.83"

  1900 -   Great Strickland recorded 36.97 inches of rain, with Morland having 33.45" - Lowther Castle 33.80" - Shap Vicarage 46.22" - Ravenstonedale 51.98" and Appleby 31.30"

  1918 -   Morland recorded 43.01" with Ravenstonedale (The Chantry) having 62.61" - Appleby 43.47".

  1934 -   Morland recorded 35.75" with Appleby having 35.42" - Shap (Thornship Gill) 66.84" - Cliburn 32.63" - Temple Sowerby (The Grange) 29.47" - Ravenstonedale (railway stn) 46.25"

  1936 -   Morland recorded 40.27" with Appleby having 37.09" - Shap (Thornship Gill) 62.78" - Temple Sowerby 33.37" - Ravenstonedale (railway stn) 45.31"

 

   © Darren Rogers 2012

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