The village of Sandsend became cut off on Monday night as rain water took just five minutes to flood the local pub and a restaurant next door.
Even the emergency services struggled to get to the scene to help as mud rolled from the countryside into the main road and towards the valley.
Hart Inn landlord, Ivor Homer, said he was knee deep in “what looked like gravy” within a matter of minutes as customers and staff had to be evacuated out of the kitchen at the back of the pub.
As rain fell throughout the afternoon a puddle had formed outside the front door to the Hart Inn before turning into a pool which had to be pumped away by the fire brigade. Twelve barrels were filled with debris from the adjacent beer garden.
Mr Homer said: “We were open so we had to evacuate people out the back and through the kitchen and then try and stem the flow because if it goes in the kitchen everything is condemned. Using sandbags we stopped it getting into the kitchen and fortunately the fire brigade from Robin Hood’s Bay turned up but even they had trouble getting here. They pumped the garden area out and alleviated the problem and gave us chance to get the sandbags out.”
His staff stayed until 2.30am the following morning swilling muddy water out of the bar area and cleaning up so they could re-open the next day.
Although the council regularly clears the drains outside the pub, the landlord said he was shocked by the speed at which the water seeped in and that the incident could have been prevented by better drainage on the Sandsend Road, better building measures on the new housing development and, ironically, the coastal defence works also taking place on the same stretch.
He added: “It happened all of a sudden, it took five minutes from being a puddle outside to being up to my knees in it and it was just a fight against it after that. You couldn’t do anything about it.
“I am annoyed because it is not an act of God, it is an act of incompetence. I know it is nowhere near as bad as York or Cumbria and these are just businesses, not people’s homes, but it is annoying when it is not necessary.”
David Cross, co-owner of the luxury Estbeck Restaurant and rooms next door, shared Mr Homer’s concerns about the effect roadworks are having and added that if the camber of the road was altered it would tip any future flood water onto the beach rather than into the village.
He and co-owner Tim Lawrence are counting the cost of the damage and said had it been a week earlier when the rooms were booked out for Christmas it would have cost them thousands in food and drink that would have been ruined. He said: “Tim had been in town and saw the state of the road and knew we were the lowest point and it was going to touch us. It was just the run off, they have done the cliff work but not cleared the drains.” But by then there was already over a foot of water in the bar and kitchen which had to be pumped out and de-humidifiers are now being used to dry out the building.