Scotland’s ‘Storm Heroes’ hailed in BBC Alba documentary

Farmer Robert Macdonald with presenter Donnie Mackay. Picture: BBC/Contributed

Farmer Robert Macdonald with presenter Donnie Mackay. Picture: BBC/Contributed

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SCOTLAND knows full well about bad weather. The 100mph winds, six-foot snowdrifts, hurricans, floods hail and horizontal rain.

But what about the consequences of bad weather?

Presenter Donnie MacKay with hydro engineers in the background. Picture: BBC/Contributed

Presenter Donnie MacKay with hydro engineers in the background. Picture: BBC/Contributed

When the power is down, the schools are closed, and the roads are blocked with snow? How do we cope? And how do those who are vulnerable – the elderly, and the disabled – manage when their support is compromised?

There are a host of unsung heroes who go out in all weathers to get the electricity back on, clear the road of snow and come to the rescue when the water is waist high in your living room.

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Who are these people? They are our Storm Heroes, and are being hailed in a new BBC Alba series.

Donnie Mackay overlooking Tay floods. Picture: BBC/Contributed

Donnie Mackay overlooking Tay floods. Picture: BBC/Contributed

In the four-part series, presenter Donnie Mackay joins a small army of people who leave their warm beds to battle the elements on our behalf.

We see how they prepare ahead of bad weather, and how they manage to do their jobs when the storm arrives.

He meets those who supply essential services to their communities.

People like Neil McCormick working for SSEN in Uist, delivering emergency power where it’s needed, and care worker Chrissie Macrae in Stornoway, who looks after the elderly in their own homes.

Donnie is on the high seas with CalMac, discovering how the crew cope in bad weather, and asks the skippers what criteria helps them decide whether their ferry sails, or stays.

Keeping the streets free from snow and ice is Comhairle nan Eilean Siar roads manager Roddy MacDonald, who gets up at 3am to make the roads safe before the morning rush.

And lorry driver Murdo John Mackay shares his experiences of driving through snow storms to get essential goods delivered.

In Perthshire, during the height of the floods, Donnie meets emergency teams at Tayside Contracts who are busy saving people’s homes from disaster; and in the Cairngorms, he helps farmer Robert Macdonald feed his flock in blizzard conditions.

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While Donnie braves the elements, BBC ALBA weather presenter Sarah Cruickshank joins forces with meteorologists to track our winter storms as they approach.

Sarah gives us insight into each weather front as it comes in, providing an explanation for our changing weather patterns.

Storm Heroes, produced by Eyeline Media for BBC ALBA, starts on the channel on Tuesday, 15 November, at 8.30pm.

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