Clear-up after storm

Inland areas escaped the worst of the storm but the River Ythan still burst its banks at the Meadows in Ellon.
Inland areas escaped the worst of the storm but the River Ythan still burst its banks at the Meadows in Ellon.

Coastal communities in Aberdeenshire are counting the cost of the violent storm which lashed the area at the weekend.

Buildings were damaged and cars were swept away as hurricane-force winds and mountainous seas left a trail of destruction along parts of the coastline.

Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Stonehaven bore the brunt of what has been labelled a “perfect storm” due to a rare combination of tidal forces, strong winds and atmospheric pressure.

Winds of up to 80mph were recorded at sea, with inlands speeds reaching 50mph.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead visited the harbours at Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Lossiemouth on Monday.

He said: “The weather that battered east Scotland in recent days was unprecedented and widely regarded as the worst the local area had experienced in many decades. I saw first hand the damage caused – including smashed seawalls, flattened factories and a wrecked play park – illustrating the magnitude of the storm.

“We are working in close partnership with local authorities and agencies as the full impact in assessed and we stand ready to provide assistance. That can include our emergency harbour fund, which is available for helping with urgent repairs.”

Villagers in Collieston were astounded at the force of the storm.

Local resident Sally Sheehan told the Times: “It was incredible. Some people said it was the worst storm in a hundred years and it was certainly the worst that most of us remember.

“A car that was parked on the pier was just swept out to sea - there was no sign of it, not a bumper, nothing.

“We lost four canoes out of the harbour and four boats were damaged to the point of no repair.

“Everyone who was in the area on Saturday morning went down to help shift the boats and do anything they could to repair the damage.”

Ministers will consider emergency financial assistance for local authorities to help deal with the costs of the storm damage last weekend.

Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council have made representations to the Scottish Government to activate the Bellwin Scheme as a result of the severe storms over the weekend