By Jack Cousin
Brunton Park, the home of Carlisle United Football Club, has again been affected by flooding over the Christmas period.
In the most recent incident, the supporters’ car park flooded and left standing water covering half of the pitch.
The Cumbrian team were first hit by a severe flood in January 2005 when the rivers Eden, Caldew and Petteril burst their banks.
Just two years ago Brunton Park was flooded again during storm Desmond. United were displaced for three matches and were forced to spend £150,000 relaying a new pitch surface. The club also lost valuable records and memorabilia in the 2015 deluge.
United moved their officers to a higher level after 2015 to limit potential damage. Club media officer Andy Hall said: “It was the right thing to do because we lost a lot of valuable machinery, equipment and archives in 2015. One way to mitigate for that going forward was to move things upper floor.”
Speaking about how fast the flooding recently occurred, head groundsman Dave Mitchell said: “We had already had a fair bit of rain with more forecast. The environment agency on the automated system told us there was a flood risk.”
He continued: “It’s normally over a 12-hour period, depending on tides and winds. And when we get information that Appleby is on a flood warning, we know that eight hours after that it will peak down here.”
United have long been known to have one of the best pitches outside the top flight and earlier this year Dave Mitchell and his team were recognised and duly awarded Grounds Team of the Season for League Two.
Flood water can cause serious damage to a pitch, but Mitchell reports it has largely gone unscathed this time. He says: “Overall the pitch is ok. There’s been a little bit of sediment left behind but it’s definitely not as bad as it could have been.”
About what can be done to prevent flooding from occurring again, Mitchell said: “At the moment in terms of construction, not much can be done. Although, if we could pump faster we could get the water back over the bank before it runs around the ground and the pitch.”