Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year Begins With Severe Flooding

2016 has begun with unprecedented river levels on the both the River Dee and River Don. The River Dee peaked at nearly 17ft on the Park gauge and has recorded it's highest levels since 1937. Ballater has been worst effected with the caravan park, which is situated on the banks of the river pretty much wiped out by a raging torrent caused by heavy rain and snow melt.

Tonnes of shingle dumped by the river in a field at Aboyne some 100 yards away from the river bank.
Some more shingle dumped by the Dee near Aboyne.
Trees uprooted and strewn along the banks of the Dee near the Queen's residence at Balmoral Castle.
Many areas of the Dee, right up and down the length of the valley have been badly effected and will take a lot of man power and effort to restore back to some kind of normality. The historic 16th century Abergeldie Castle, which was once 25-30 metres away from the river bank is now in grave danger of being the next victim of Mother Nature's power. even if the castle survives, it's going to be difficult to restore the bank enough to make the foundations safe again. Some of the roads in the surrounding areas of Ballater have been swamped by the river and many parts of Braemar are in danger of getting cut off from the main roads out of the town. The power of water is immense yet there are still a few idiots who think they can drive in these flooded roads and put the lives of the rescue services at risk when they have to pull them from their cars which have been submerged.

The Aberdeen and District Angling Association HQ surrounded by water today.
The Manse Pool on the Lower Fintray beat of the River Don today flooded way out over the banks.
The River Don has also seen a dramatic rise in river levels these past few days and many of the flood plains along it's course are now full with numerous roads around the Kintore area now underwater. The Don is much slower moving than the Dee which has probably saved many of the houses along it's banks from flooding as the flood plains tend to bare the worst the Don's spates. Saying that, the Don runs through farmland for much of it's course and tends to silt up very quickly which could have an adverse effect on the river's fish populations.

Just a few dead juvenile fish found dead in a small area of the Dee at Park.
On the fishing side of things, it's not looking very good for the juvenile fish stocks on the rivers. Salmon have spent the winter cutting redds for their eggs and many of these will have been swept away or dredged out by trees and other forms of debris floating down river. Not only this, there will be thousands of 0-3 year old fish killed by the torrents and many are now lying strewn along the tide marks of the river. These fish are now no more than bird feed and this will have a major impact on returning salmon numbers in the next 10-12 years. On a more positive note, salmon catches are historically pretty good in the year after unusually large spates so there might just be a short period of optimism for the rivers

The Dee at near Aboyne. Note the erosion on the opposite bank.
The famous Waterside Pool on the Dee at Waterside and Ferrar. The hut has been swept away on the opposite bank and tonnes of shingle has been moved by the water.
After the flood. Looking upstream from the Mill Pool at Cambus O May. There should be a fishing on the bank mid picture but as you can see it was consumed by the force of the flood water.
Before the flood. The same place at Cambus O May take in September. As you can the hut is there in this picture.
The road leading upstream at the Cellar Pool on Park Estate has taken a beating by the water.
The Park South fishing hut overlooking the Castleton pool is no longer there. Another victim of the ferocious power of the Dee in flood.
I sincerely hope that these rivers and surrounding areas can recover quickly from devastation that these floods have caused. My heart goes out to all those affected by the flooding up and down the rivers as many homes, shops, holiday homes and other belongings worth £100,000s of pounds have been lost or destroyed.

As many rural jobs rely on the river, the knock on effects of such an event can have a catastrophic impact on people's livelihoods. With the salmon fishing season starting again on the 1st February it is going to take a while for the pools to settle and many famous lies and pools will have changed dramatically, many not for the better either.

The salmon is a born survivor though and will overcome the wrath of Mother Nature like it always has done and no doubt will come back as strong as ever.

No comments:

Post a comment