Storm Kathleen: Young paddleboarders rescued as strong winds cause widespread disruption across Scotland

Lifeboat crew rescues youngsters as trains and ferries are cancelled

Four young paddleboarders were rescued by a lifeboat crew as Storm Kathleen caused widespread disruption across Scotland this weekend.

A search was launched after Buckie’s RNLI was alerted by Aberdeen Coastguard to reports of paddleboarders in the waters off Cullen Bay, near Moray, at around 3:45pm on Saturday.

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Amid strong-easterly winds of around 46mph, the lifeboat arrived on the scene, near the Bow Fiddle Rock landmark, in around 10 minutes, locating two girls who had managed to stay on their paddleboard.

An RNLI lifeboat. Image: Steve Parsons/PA WireAn RNLI lifeboat. Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
An RNLI lifeboat. Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A second pair were spotted in the water a few minutes later, with the crew successfully recovering another two “very cold and relieved youngsters”.

They had been in the water for more than 20 minutes with just wetsuits on and were assessed by the crew’s carers before being checked over by the waiting Scottish Ambulance Service. All four were given the all clear and sent home.

The incident happened as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) warned of a further storm surge in coastal areas on Sunday.

The agency said 18 regional flood alerts and 35 flood warnings remained in place on Sunday afternoon.

Anne Scott, lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI urges people to check the weather forecast carefully before venturing out on the water, especially when paddle boarding.

“Avoid offshore winds as you can easily be blown out to sea very quickly and offshore winds will tire you quickly when trying to return to shore.

“Always wear a personal flotation device and suitable clothing for the forecasted conditions and always carry a means of calling for help.”

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According to Sepa, significant flooding remains possible into Monday, in particular in the Western Isles and Orkney.

Sepa also warned of river flooding on Tuesday in southern, central and north-east Scotland.

Storm disruption also continued to disrupt the transport network on Sunday, with rail and ferry services affected in the west of Scotland.

Train services from Largs, Ardrossan and Kilwinning were cancelled, as well as Helensburgh and Dumbarton.

Network Rail said “large waves are coming over the sea wall at Saltcoats and affecting our 25,000 volt overhead electricity cables”, with trains unable to run through the area until conditions improved.

Ferries from Oban, Ardrossan, Ullapool and many islands were cancelled, while others faced delays, with passengers urged to check the status of sailings, external and to allow extra time for their journey. Amended timetables were expected to be operating on some routes on Monday.

In Edinburgh, one resident shared images showing a neighbour’s shed and greenhouse crushed by trees which had been blown down by the high winds.

Donna Brown, who lives in the Drumbrae area, took dramatic pictures from the rear of her own house, and said two trees had come down, “demolishing the neighbours’ garden hut and greenhouse and narrowly missing their house”.

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Three trees in Queen Street Gardens were also blown over on Saturday, blocking three lanes of Dundas Street with their branches. There were no injuries and no damage to vehicles.

About 140 flights departing and arriving at UK airports were cancelled on Saturday after the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for wind.

The strongest gusts of 101mph were recorded at the summit of Cairngorm in the Highlands.



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