Family stranded on Mull after storms cause collapse of two bridges

A FAMILY of nine were stranded in a remote farmhouse on Mull when the two bridges collapsed.

Tom Marsland, 44, told how the storm struck at Derry Guaig Farmhouse next to Ben More, when his wife’s relatives were visiting on holiday.

The plumber said: “I have never seen water like that in my life. I have never seen a storm like that. The whole hillside and the field was a massive big river.

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“The house is susceptible to lightning, it struck about three years ago and I touched something and had to go to hospital and I was put on an ECG. So as soon as the lightning started this time, I said to everyone to get into the middle of the room and not to touch anything.

“The water was just rising and rising. It was 8 in deep outside and then it started seeping through the kitchen. We were shovelling it away from the door, but it got in the workshop and utility room. Then the rain stopped as if someone had put a switch off.”

He said a neighbour drove to the nearest accessible point with nappies and baby food for his nine-month-old niece, and he and another relative went on mountain bikes to collect the supplies.

He said: “I only know him as John, but he drove over from his house into Salen and picked up supplies, including baby food, nappies, bread, milk and ham – just the basic stuff – and drove as far as he could, and we went on mountain bikes to collect it.

“Tobermory Lifeboat have been great too – they rang on three or four occasions to make sure we were OK.”

Describing the road conditions he said: “The road is no longer there, at one point there is a 7ft-8ft wide by 8ft deep hole.”

Mull resident Donald Bissett evacuated two tourists whose cars were trapped. He had travelled to the area by sea to check on his parents, who live near Ben More. He said: “When I got there the hill looked like someone had poured a bucket of water over the top of it – there were rivers and streams coming down the hill. It was a furious amount of water.”