Tuesday 5 January 2016

Rain, rain and more rain!

Well we've been having quite a bit of rain that's for sure....
It's been all over the news of late and we've certainly had our fair share in southern Scotland. Overall 2015 was quite wet to say the least. We had a lot of rain throughout the year and with only a brief respite late summer-early autumn, the ground has become very waterlogged.
But then came Storm Frank on Wednesday 30th December. The forecast for Moffat was looking something like this.....
and all the weather watchers out there were predicting flash flooding and they certainly got it right.
The main roads in and out of Moffat were closed with a few brave souls attempting to push through.
Main road into Moffat from the M74
The road out to Corehead was badly flooded in places with surface run off of water and debris making some parts difficult to cross.
Surface run off of water

Flooding in the surrounding fields

The end of the road for our little van. It would take a 4x4 to get through this!
The site itself was cut off with the main bridge at Ericstance under water! The main road between Selkirk and Moffat was closed because of a landslide. It was all happening that day.....
And the aftermath? That's what we've been assessing over the last few days. All seems fine at Talla and Gameshope and Carrifran. There has been some damage to the fence at Talla Bank which we're looking into.
The fence is still holding after this landslide but with a large amount of debris behind and on the road
And at Corehead we definitely have some work to do. The burns have been doing what burns naturally do when they have lots of water in them - erode some new sections and carry and deposit debris in others.
The burn carving a new route with large amounts of newly deposited stone on the other side
We've had a number of water gates that have been damaged or even washed away so we're starting to make some repairs to ensure our tree plantations are kept safe from grazing sheep.
This water gate has such a large amount of gravel built up behind that the burn has diverted itself to the side
This water gate was nearly entirely washed away....
while this one was!
And those that survived tell the tale of just how fast and high the water was. This will now need cleared of vegetation to avoid it being washed away if the water levels rise again
But in the larger picture, we've probably not come off too badly. We are at the head of the catchment so we only experience the start of what can cause much more damage downstream.
And it has emphasised even more the importance of the work we are doing. Planting trees and re-establishing a better vegetation cover on the bare hills will be the best future flood defence for not just our sites, but other settlements down stream.
Site Officer

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