At the height of the Christmas shopping rush, York was eerily empty today (Thursday, December 5) as storm-force gales rattled the ancient city.
Both the regular York market and the festive one in Parliament Street were closed for business with hardly a soul in sight – the scene was similar to a a post-apocalyptic dystopia with stragglers weaving in between empty stalls and across desolate squares as they brave the whistling winds.
The normally proud Christmas tree in St Helen’s Square was leaning dejectedly to one side, her lights messy and disorganised as she strained against the barriers.
The newly refurbished and windswept King’s Square became littered with debris, occupied only by the bike owned by York’s Chocolate Story.
All around York you could see the results of the gales – from diagonal bollards to overturned bikes and stray dustbins.
Trees on Parliament Street were tied together by long swathes of rope for support, while Coppergate is cordoned off in places after debris fell from the buildings.
It was a disappointing day for shop-owners and market-organisers on what should be a busy Thursday afternoon in the very heart of the festive season. Normal York is energised by Christmas shoppers: today it drooped in defeat.
Transport has inevitably been disrupted. On the coast tides are the highest they’ve been in 30 years leading East Coast Trains to warn people not to attempt to travel on its services north of Newcastle as trees and other debris has blocked the tracks.
Basically the message is for all the northerners: stay at home. And whatever you do, do not attempt to cycle anywhere.