There was a major boost to Cumbria and the Lake District yesterday with the reopening of the flood-damaged A591 between Dunmail Raise and Thirlmere.

A cavernous hole opened up in the A591 and thousands of tonnes of rubble had to be cleared following 18 separate landslides after Storm Desmond wreaked devastation on the area on December 5.

For more than five months since then the Lake District has been effectively split in two. People who needed to travel between Grasmere and Keswick have had to make an 80-mile detour via Penrith.

But now, as Neil Corrigan, the managing director of Kendal-based Creative Lakes so eloquently put it in last week's Podium column in The Westmorland Gazette, the 'divided kingdom' of Cumbria has finally been reunited.

There were plenty of smiles from the dignitaries at yesterday's official opening ceremony at Dunmail Raise and vehicles immediately began to use the re-opened road in both directions.

But for many perhaps the feeling was more one of relief than unbridled joy - a sense that finally things could start getting back to normal.

People talked of the huge impact the road closure had had on business and even on family life and some said they felt it had taken too long to re-open this major arterial route through Cumbria.

The Army clearing the rubble and, later, contractors constructing the new road, worked incredibly hard in difficult conditions on a complex project. But one can't help feel that if this had been the M25 then perhaps the work might have been completed even sooner.

Meanwhile it was revealed this week that damage to land in the Lake District National Park will cost £10 million to repair. For example, numerous public rights of way were affected by Storm Desmond and the Lake District National Park Authority needs cash from central Government to carry out repairs.

It is to be hoped that arrives soon. In the meantime praise should go to the Trail Riders Fellowship and Green Lane Association for using subscription fees to repair Gatescarth Pass between Mardale and Longsleddale.