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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Travel chaos as strong winds batter Cumbria

Gale force winds battered Cumbria last night causing chaos.

Emma Newton photo
Emma Newton

Cumbrian air passengers are also being urged to check their travel plans after several airlines cancelled flights because of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

British Airways, Dutch carrier KLM, Glasgow-based Loganair and budget airline Easyjet have decided to shelve some flights with BA saying all flights between London and Scotland are off until 2pm at the earliest today.

Newcastle Airport had seen three flights cancelled this morning and while Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports remained open many airlines were cancelling journeys.

Local travel agents are bracing themselves for calls from concerned customers as forecasts show that the situation could escalate over the next few days, depending on the weather.

Budget airline Easyjet is warning passengers travelling to or from airports across Scotland and the north of England today (TUES) – including Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester – to check arrangements before setting off to go to the airport.

The Foreign Office advises passengers to keep in contact with their airlines and travel agents.

The UK Met Office and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said they are monitoring the situation closely.

Gusts of up to 91mph were recorded in the county and dozens of trains were cancelled after Network Rail closed the West Coast Mainline when a tree blew onto the line, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Carlisle.

Dozens of trains were cancelled after Network Rail closed the route when a tree blew onto the line near Gretna.

Virgin Trains said the last train to run from Scotland was the 1.40pm from Glasgow to London Euston, which terminated at Carlisle, after a two-hour delay.

On the fells, a 50-year-old woman had to be rescued after she fell and broke a leg while walking near Scarth Gap, Buttermere.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team took the woman down the peak by stretcher before she was taken by ambulance to the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

A member of the woman’s party was initially unaccounted for, but was later found safe and well at Seatoller.

High winds also uprooted a tree near St Bees School.

In Carlisle, fire crews were called out after a large branch became dislodged and was in a “dangerous position” on Portland Square, just before noon. No-one was injured.

Several branches were also blown off trees in the grounds of the former Trinity Church opposite the McVities factory, on Caldewgate.

A tree also came down outside the Warwick Road Dental Practice, on Warwick Road.

Council workers removed the tree and residents were advised to move their cars away from other trees over fears more may be uprooted.

More trees were blown over on Dene Crescent in St Ann's, narrowly missing parked cars.

An 18-year-old woman, Emma Newton, from Hexham, died when a tree fell on her car in Corbridge and a 36-year-old man was killed in a similar incident in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

The winds are expected to ease off today.

Forecasters said that the gusts had “reduced significantly” overnight and, while still expected to be blustery in much of Scotland and the north of England, would be calmer today.

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