Floods bring chaos

By Andrew Reid

MANY parts of Deeside and Donside were hit by torrential rain and gale force winds this week as the North-east battled against horrendous weather conditions.

And locals are bracing themselves for more stormy weather as forecasters predict conditions, which were due to improve slightly on Thursday, are expected to deteriorate again by Friday.

Gusts of up to 80mph battered Deeside on Tuesday (October 22) and two days of non-stop torrential rain left rivers swollen and many roads badly flooded as the North-east saw as much rainfall during 24 hours as would normally be expected in the whole of October.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) placed a number of rivers in the North-east, including both the Dee and Don, on 24-hour flood watch.

And water levels in Tarland Burn, near Aboyne, rose to such a level that recent flood prevention measures put in place by Aberdeenshire Council were defeated when the burn burst its banks and threatened houses and businesses on the nearby industrial estate.

And water levels in Tarland Burn, near Aboyne, rose to such a level that recent flood prevention measures put in place by Aberdeenshire Council were defeated when the burn burst its banks and threatened houses and businesses on the nearby industrial estate.

One local resident, Peter Dawkins, whose Low Road property was affected by the floods, said people in the area had always doubted whether the flood prevention measures - put in place by the council after similar bad weather two years ago - would work.

Mr Dawkins said: “The remedial measures taken by the council two years ago have had little effect and have not done their job. I think this is the third time this area has been flooded in the last 20 years. A lot of money was spent to shore up the burn but it clearly hasn’t worked.”

Aberdeenshire Council are expected to investigate the situation at Aboyne as well as at several other sites around the North-east which were also badly hit.

As roads turned to rivers one motorist was forced to abandon their vehicle near Glassel on a road which was badly affected by flooding, and strong winds blew down tree branches, blocking the North Deeside Road at Northcote Road on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

The A939 Strathdon to Tomintoul road was closed either side of the Lecht on Tuesday while the A93 east of Aboyne Loch Caravan Park and Burnside Road, Tarland were both seriously affected by flooding.

Following the prolonged spell of continuous and torrential rain a number of roads in the Grampian region remained closed yesterday morning (Wednesday) including the A980 Torphins to Raemoir road and the B974 Cairn O’ Mount to Banchory road at Strachan, where the River Feugh burst its banks.

The B9126 Kirkton of Skene to Lyne of Skene road, the Pass of Ballater and the unclassified Dess to Lumphanan, Cullerlie to Echt, and Kinellar to Overton roads also remained closed yesterday morning.

Many other roads in the area remain badly affected by surface water and areas of flooding and a number of minor roads are severely affected, with some of them passable only with extreme care.

Police were advising that driving conditions are very hazardous and motorists should not undertake journeys in rural areas unless they are essential.

They also urged motorists who did venture out to drive at reduced speeds, maintain increased braking distances from the vehicle in front, ensure good all round visibility and allow extra time to complete their journeys.

Peterculter Golf Club was badly flooded and will remain closed until at least Saturday (October 26) while Deeside Golf Club at Bieldside was also badly affected by the terrible weather.

Deeside Golf Club secretary John Keepe said: “The course is heavily flooded and will remain closed until Monday at least. One person who was in this morning said it was the worst flooding the area had seen for 50 years, and most people seem to agree it’s as bad as there has been for a long time.”

The back car park at the Old Mill Inn at Maryculter was also under water on Tuesday, although the building itself wasn’t flooded.

A spokesperson for the Old Mill Inn said: “The water levels have gone down quite a bit now, but the back car park was under a fair bit of water on Tuesday night.

“I think a few of the static caravans at the nearby Lower Deeside Caravan Park were flooded and a number of the touring caravans at the site were moved into the car park beside the Old Mill Inn, where it is a lot drier.”

No one from the Lower Deeside Caravan Park was available for comment.

The football pitch beside the Old Mill Inn at Maryculter was submerged under several inches of water as the River Dee burst its banks, resulting in Maryculter Bridge being closed at the South Deeside Road end.

Maryculter FC Manager Gary Thomson, whose side plays their home games at the pitch said the flooding of Corbie Park was an annual occurrence.

He said: “We are supposed to have a cup game this Saturday but it looks like that will be off so the team will just have to train indoors instead.”

However, not all outdoor activities were curtailed by the weather, as the first snows of winter earlier this week brought joy for hundreds of snowboarders who flocked to the Lecht Ski Centre to take advantage of the wintry conditions.