Emergency funding for Scottish flood damage

Rainbow over the Cairngorms Image copyright Ruari Macdonald
Image caption A rainbow photographed from the CairnGorm Mountain ski resort during Monday's downpours

Most people evacuated from flood-hit areas amid torrential downpours have returned to their homes.

But the Scottish Government has urged residents and those travelling in difficult weather conditions to remain vigilant.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said he will consider emergency funding for local authorities to help deal with the flood damage.

The Bellwin Scheme was activated after representations from Moray Council.

Elgin's £86m flood alleviation scheme was put to the test on Monday when the area was hit by the remnants of Hurricane Bertha.

But 200 homes were evacuated over fears the River Lossie would burst its banks where the project is not completed.

Roads company, Bear Scotland, said "good progress" was being made in removing debris that closed the A835 Ullapool road at Leckhelm on Monday.

Bear Scotland said the road would continue to operate under a convoy system at least on an hourly basis until flood water in the area receded.

Bridge comparison

Image copyright Kumaran Krishnan/Barbara Florence

One of the most photographed landmarks during the height of Monday's flooding was the Old Bridge of Carr at Carrbridge, a village near Aviemore.

Kumaran Krishnan photographed the crossing two days earlier and said the scene at that time was "serene".

The high span, humpback rubble bridge was constructed in 1717 so pedestrians and horses could cross the River Dulnain.

According to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland's Canmore site, it is said to have been known as a funeral bridge.

This was because it was used for the carrying of coffins to a nearby burial ground.

It was said to have been built at the expense of the local parish by stonemason John Niccelsone at a cost of £100.

Properties in parts of Aberdeenshire were also evacuated on Monday as the water level rose.

In Huntly, residents in local care homes were moved to the town's Jubilee Hospital, while about 150 people staying in a caravan park in Ballater were also evacuated.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "We know, and I have seen for myself, just how devastating the effects of flooding can be for our communities. That is why I have today agreed to activate the Bellwin Scheme to provide support to affected councils to assist with immediate and unforeseen costs of dealing with the aftermath of the severe weather.

"As the full impact on local communities continues to be assessed, we stand ready to provide urgent assistance and the Scottish government will consider applications from local authorities for emergency funding through the Bellwin Scheme."

Environment and Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said some parts of Scotland had experienced some of the worst flooding in years.

He said: "I'd like to pay tribute to all those involved in supporting communities affected.

"The councils, local fire and rescue services, other emergency services, utility companies and volunteers in local communities reacted very swiftly to minimise the impact of rising water levels."

Torrential rain brought by ex-Hurricane Bertha caused the wettest day of the year so far, with Fair Isle in Shetland seeing 132.6mm of rain between 10:00 on Saturday and 10:00 on Monday - almost double the 70.3mm full-month average for August.

Lossiemouth in Moray was deluged with 100mm of rain during the same time, despite a full-month average of 61.9mm. Parts of Aberdeenshire saw wind gusts of 50mph.

Arrangements were made for some of the evacuated residents to be taken to a rest centre set up at Elgin High School.

Image copyright Simon Hansen
Image caption Flooding at a farm near Findhorn Bay in Moray
Image copyright N Hawkins
Image caption Cars amid flood debris just south of Ullapool
Image copyright N Hawkins
Image caption Ullapool and other parts of Wester Ross were badly affected by flooding
Image copyright Kathryn Adams
Image caption Flooding in Gairloch
Image copyright Bob Walker
Image caption Flooding in Elgin, where homes were evacuated as a precaution

A Moray Council spokesman said: "We evacuated homes along the River Lossie but it was very much as a precaution. No homes have been damaged at the moment but the river was getting perilously close to bursting its banks.

"It's an area that's been badly affected be flooding in the past so we wanted to act quickly."

Sand bags were distributed to residents, with areas along the rivers Spey, Dee and Deveron on alert.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) earlier had almost 40 flood warnings in place, indicating flooding is expected, but this has since been reduced to 14.

Six flood alerts, where flooding is possible, have also been issued.

Drivers have been urged to exercise caution on northern routes.

Image copyright Neil Reid/MCofS
Image caption A key footbridge in the Cairngorms has been washed away

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said crews attended more than 50 incidents in the Highlands, many of which involved people being stranded after attempting to drive through flooded sections of road.

On the rail network, flooding at Kingussie mean trains are not running between Perth and Inverness and there are no trains between Aberdeen and Inverness. Replacement bus services have been put in place.

ScotRail said trains in the Highlands and the north east would not be fully operational until Wednesday at the earliest.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said an important footbridge for walkers in the Cairngorms had been washed away.

The footbridge across the Derry Burn at the foot of Glen Derry - a link to the famous Lairig Ghru Pass - was lifted from its foundations and swept downstream.

The MCofS said the Lairig Ghru was impassable by the Luibeg branch of the foot track.

A large area of rock fall caused by torrential rain has left a popular in Cairngorm footpath in an unstable and dangerous state.

The MCofS said slabs from the cliffs above the Goat Track path in Coire an t-Sneachda had fallen across the track.

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