Oban under water as floods strike

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The weather wreaked havoc in Oban this week as cars were stranded and submerged in water, roads were closed and at least one house had its contents destroyed.

On Tuesday, just days after repainting their living room, an Oban couple had to wear welly boots in their home as nine inches of water covered their house.

Hugh and Kathleen Carmichael live on Soroba Road, Oban, adjacent to the Black Lynn, and when the burn overflowed on Tuesday morning, the water rushed straight into their home.

In some places, the water was higher than plug sockets.

Speaking to The Oban Times, Hugh, who suffers from arthritis, said: ‘We have not been to bed. We have been up watching the burn, we have been out the back about 30 times trying to get the pumps going.

‘But as soon as the burn burst, that was it. I saw the water coming towards us. I could hear the gargle and there was not a thing I could do about it.

‘The council know about it, they have been told – this is the sixth time, but this is the worst. I don’t think the insurance will cover it – it’s happened too many times.

‘I am just a bit disgusted by the way we have been treated. I don’t understand how I have been complaining for so many years and warning the council that this is happening and they still have not cleaned the burn and built a high wall.’

Hugh built his own wall 12 years ago in a bid to keep the water out, but ‘it just goes underneath’, he said.

‘What if we were sleeping and came down and went over an electric plug. We would be dead. It’s a health hazard and very dangerous.’

The last time their home was flooded, it took four to five weeks and £18,000 to fix the damage.

‘It will be a lot more than that now,’ Hugh said. ‘Every time there’s heavy rain I am scared stiff and I can’t sleep. It’s a fear all the time. It’s soul destroying.

‘They are going to say this is extreme weather. If the burn was done right the water would run down the path, away. I don’t see why in this day and age someone should have to live in this condition.’

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘We did respond to an incident on Soroba Road, Oban.

‘We received a call at 7.41am. There was a flooding incident and water within the property affecting the electrics. Services were able to pump out the water using a light pump.’

Hugh commended the work the firefighters carried out.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘The standing water is caused by the exceptional amount of rain recently, augmented by higher tides than usual and the strength of the wind backing up the Black Lynn towards the flooded area. There are pumps in the area which will cope with reasonable quantities of water but not the volume of water we have experienced recently.

‘We are looking at what we can do for flood alleviation as there is no obvious solution, given the coastal location and low lying land.’

Cars also fell victim to the adverse weather.

Jamie MacLeod from Uist left his Ford Fiesta in Lochavullin car park on Monday before heading to Mull for the night.

He woke up on Monday morning inundated with messages from friends saying his car is all over social media, submerged in water.

Jamie, who is set to jet off to Majorca today (Thursday October 11) for a wedding, got the next ferry to Oban to try to retrieve his passport and kilt.

The ‘devastated’ 29-year-old, who left everything in his car, said: ‘I spent three hours just standing in the rain just looking at my car hoping the water would go down.’

In the end, Jamie, who was unable to wade into the water due to uplifted manhole covers, had to book a hotel in Oban and wait for the water to recede.