Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If it keeps on raining, the levee's gonna break

From Galloway Gazette 7 December 2006

Galloway hit by floods - again!
MUCH of Galloway was under water again last weekend after 48 hours of torrential rains blocked roads, wrecked drains and carried away river banks.

All roads north were closed at some time on Friday, with the A 762 from New Galloway through Mossdale, the A 713 Castle Douglas to Ayr road and the A714 Newton Stewart to Girvan road particularly badly hit.
A host of minor roads across the Stewartry were under up to two feet of flood water and the Riverside area of Newton Stewart, including the car park was under water as the swollen Cree raged past.
Predictably the Whitesands at Dumfries was also hit, and riverfront businesses disrupted.
But one of the worst areas hit by the early winter storms was The Glenkens, where the River Ken wreaked a terrible toll on farmland at St John's Town of Dalry.
Farmer Jim Edgar, of Newfield, whose brother Tom farms at Kirkland took the Gazette down to show us how the river had devastated large section of holding embankment - and the dykes, fences and roads behind it.
"The bank has been badly breached, it will take thousands of tons of stuff to repair it," Jim told the Gazette.
Remarkably the embankment has stood since it was built by French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic wars.
For nearly 200 years the banking has held back the river - until last Friday.
Jim explained the protective earthworks had suffered occasional damage in the past during spates, but nothing like last weekend's almost biblical deluge.
"It's not uncommon for it to spill over, but I've never seen it as bad as this," Jim said. "Hedges, fences and dykes all fell into the river. Half of the water flow was going through the fields and it carried everything away.
"It left a lot of debris and muck behind it," added Jim as he pointed high up in a hawthorn tree to indicate just how high the flood water had been."
Farmer Jim is in no doubt what forces are to blame. "One thing's for sure - the weather and the climate certainly seem to be changing, there's no doubt about it. It's a lot wetter and warmer now than in used to be.
"We used to grow neeps in these fields. It's just as well they were not bare soil fields when the water came - the grass was holding the soil together," he said.

07 December 2006


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