Outwood Mill Damaged in January Gales 2012

outwood mill - england oldest working windmill - page - januray gales

Outwood Mill Damaged by gale force winds – January 2012

January 4th & 5th 2012 saw some of the worst gales in the UK since the great storm in the 1980’s.

Certainly we were concerned for Outwood Mill as we knew that one of the sweeps in particular was not in good repair and was fairly rotten as had been proved over the summer season of 2010, where a decision was taken to stop running the sweeps as they were throwing slats out an alarming rate.

Having watched Outwood Mill during the gales on the Wednesday (4th) we were relieved to see all the sweeps in place on the Thursday morning and believed that the worst was over. How wrong we were!

During the morning of the Thursday 4th the winds picked up again and we were seeing gusts of 55mph – 70mph at the mill. Being 400 feet above sea level and atop an exposed hill doesn’t offer any protection from the full force of the wind, however it was absolutely the best place for Thomas Budgen to erect the mill three hundred and forty six years ago.

outwood mill - england oldest working windmill - page - januray gales 2

Suddenly at about 2PM there was an almighty crash and we rushed to the window to see that wind had managed to rotate the sweeps about 180 degrees so that now the rotten sweep was the highest sweep of the four, and was now pointed straight up into the wind (where we had it positioned before it moved the buck and the roundhouse had at least offered some protection but now that sweep was facing the full rage of the gale. And the Gale won!

To our horror and shock the wind had snapped the sweep in half, there was now sailwood all over the grounds and bits of spring mechanism still hanging from the elliptical spring – it was a complete disaster.

As you can see from the pictures the mill now looks very forlorn and already we have swung into action to get the mill back to its working condition.

We don’t know as yet if we will be open for April but as this is such a major event in the history of this windmill it was right that we recorded it for the sake of posterity.

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