‘Village of the damned’ - residents rescued from flooded homes in Comrie

SCORES of residents had to be rescued from their homes on Monday after being trapped by rapidly rising floodwaters in Comrie, as a night of torrential rain brought chaos across much of Scotland.

SCORES of residents had to be rescued from their homes on Monday after being trapped by rapidly rising floodwaters in Comrie, as a night of torrential rain brought chaos across much of Scotland.

More than 100 homes and other properties in the Highland Perthshire village were hit by the deluge, as the River Ruchill, a tributary of the Earn, burst its banks for the second time in four months.

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Houses were also flooded in Aberfoyle, Dunblane, Newton Stewart, Callander and the White Sands area of Dumfries.

Another landslip – the fifth in five years – closed the main road from Glasgow to Argyll at the Rest And Be Thankful for more than seven hours, after more than 100 tonnes of debris spilled on to the busy route.

The flooding at Comrie was declared a major incident as emergency services, including a water rescue team from Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, raced to the scene shortly after 7am when the river burst its banks following a night of heavy rain falling on saturated ground.

About 150 residents in the Camp Road, Barrack Road and Dalginross areas were trapped in their homes by the rising floodwaters, and some had to be rescued by boat. Many residents were taken to an emergency rest centre set up at the community centre in Comrie.

The village was cut off for a time by the floods, but some 25 residents were later taken by bus to a rest centre established by Perth and Kinross Council at the Strathearn Centre in Crieff. The council was last night making arrangements to provide emergency overnight accommodation for a number of villagers.

In August, angry residents had blamed the community’s own flood defences for the floods which swept through the Perthshire village, damaging more than 30 homes.

Sandra McRitchie, secretary of Comrie Community Council, said yesterday: “The flooding is lot worse this time. I was watching the water lapping up the pavement outside my house in Tay Avenue and going round the back of my house. It was running like a river.”

Roseanna Cunningham, the SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross, called for urgent action by the council to counter the threat of further flooding after seeing the devastation in the village.

She said: “I really feel for the people of Comrie. There is a lot of very understandable frustration and anger that this has happened again, and the council really needs to get on top of this and ensure that there is no

further flooding.”

A spokeswoman for Tayside Fire and Rescue Service said about 100 properties had been affected in the village.

Barbara Renton, Perth and Kinross depute director for environment services, said the council had taken action since the

previous floods in August.

She explained: “We have had our consulting engineers look at the hydraulic modelling work, and we only got the results of those potential options within the last couple of weeks.

“In the meantime, we have been removing fallen trees

from the banks and bed of the Ruchill, and we have requested permission from Sepa [the Scottish Environment Protection Agency] to remove the gravel bar where the river burst its banks the last time and

where we are making the

assumption that it is the area where the river has burst its banks again.”

The rain brought widespread disruption to other parts of Scotland. In Dumfries and Gallo­way, the A714 was closed near the junction with the B7027 and the A762 between New Galloway and Allan Gibbon Bridge.

The A77 Ballantrae to Cairnryan road was closed after the Stinchar burst its banks, and flooding also closed the A814

between Helensburgh and Faslane, at Rhu.

Trains between Glasgow and East Kilbride were disrupted at Thornliebank station and some train services in the Wemyss Bay area were affected.

The Met Office, meanwhile, has issued a yellow weather warning for today for Argyll and Bute, the west of the Central Belt, Dumfries and Galloway, and parts of the Western Highlands.

Eight flood alerts, mainly affecting parts of Tayside, remain in force. Marc Becker, Sepa’s hydrology duty manager, said: “Heavy overnight rainfall across, especially, the south and west of Scotland, has caused river levels to rise significantly.

“The worst-affected areas appear to be the southern Highlands, west central Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway, where in excess of 50mm of rainfall fell in a 12-hour period.

“Water levels in the Comrie area are now falling, but other areas, such as Bridge of Earn, may be at increased risk of flooding. In Dumfries and Galloway we are expecting flooding in the Whitesands area, and there are reports of serious flooding

from the River Cree in Newton Stewart.”

Where the floods struck

Up to 150 properties affected by flooding in Comrie after the River Ruchill burst its banks.

Another landslip closes the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful section in Argyll.

Main street in Aberfoyle closed by flooding.

A small number of homes also flooded in Dunblane and Callander.

Trains between Glasgow and East Kilbride disrupted by flooding at Thornliebank station.

Parts of Princes Street in Edinburgh closed by falling masonry.

The A814 closed at Rhu, between Helensburgh and Faslane, due to flooding.

A77 Ballantrae to Cairnryan road closed due to flooding at Ballantrae.

Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow flooded after heavy rain fell overnight.

River Calder at Lochwinnoch overflowing following heavy rain.

Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to Arran, Barra, Bute, Colonsay, Iona, Islay, Skye and the Small isleS also disrupted due to adverse conditions.