How do you write a blog when you have no words for what you want to express? As someone living just outside Appleby-in-Westmorland, we escaped relatively lightly in this weekend’s flood, but simply watching it unfold across our County, and now looking at the terrible aftermath remains an almost surreal experience.

Of course we knew the water table was up, the water courses were high and that the land was already sodden. Of course we saw and heard the severe weather warnings for the Friday night. But hadn’t the previous weekend been wet and windy, and we simply shrugged, put on suitable clothing and got on with our lives?

The signs were there as Saturday dawned. Roads impassable where they’d never been flooded before. Streams and rivers spreading across fields because bridges weren’t capable of taking their volume and speed. Drain covers becoming geysers. Barriers and sand bags appearing, and streets being closed.

And then the realisation that it wasn’t just around us. The warnings for Keswick, Cockermouth and Carlisle, with the awareness of what those communities had experienced in the past and were just recovering from. Surely not again?

But it was.

Much of the fear will have passed, but too many families and communities are now looking at their surroundings thinking “Where on earth do we start?” with some even wondering if they can go through this process all over again. Loss adjusters, claims, clearing up, finding alternative accommodation, drying out, and hiring tradesmen are all continuations of this dreadful nightmare.

And the rest of us are left wondering, “What can we do? What will be of the most help?” We’ve seen the best of people this week. There’s an old saying that in times of danger people can run away or they can run to help. Neighbours, relations and complete strangers have all run to help. The Government appears to be doing its bit, offering military assistance and to reimburse our cash-strapped County Council for the money it must spend and spend immediately.

And when the urgency of the current situation passes there will come the unavoidable truth that it can happen all over again. It probably will happen all over again. We’ve tried building higher flood defences. They hold back some water, but the day will come when that water is high enough to go over or wide enough to get around. Our “one in a hundred” or “one in a thousand” floods don’t recognise man-made calendars. 2005 and 2009 are far too recent.

Flood defences can and do have an effect, but can be seen as the sticking plasters rather than the cure. These incidents – no, that's too mild a word – disasters are happening more and more frequently. Each one is a life-threatening calamity for people, and as we see, also has dramatic spoiling effects on our landscape.

Climate change has many impacts on Cumbria’s communities. We need to understand these and also the effects on our landscapes, biodiversity and environment.

I am very aware of climate change around us. In just the sixteen years we have farmed where we do we have noticed how the growing season has changed and how the wet and windy storms can be far more extreme, and far more frequent.

Too often there is the assumption that climate change is simply something that environmentalists and governments argue about. China’s chimneys and India’s industries are on the other side of the world after all. These dramatic local events very clearly demonstrate the dreadful consequences of our getting it wrong.

How we manage our landscapes will have an effect. Friends of the Lake District will work with communities and others to develop how we can adapt these landscapes and their use to climate change impacts. Our land managers and the tourism sector can develop practical measures that will increase the resilience of Cumbria’s landscapes and our economy to the effects of climate change.

Of course people count more than landscape, but our landscape is part of us, our history, and our culture. It is where we live and work and we are shaped by it. Millions of people a year want to come and share it. It would be terrible if we stood back and simply let it be washed away.