Monday 11 December, 2023

Farmer helps to evacuate homes flooded by Storm Babet

Neil MacLeod said a woman who had lived on the Southesk Estate for more than 50 years had to be rescued after her home had flooded

clock • 3 min read
Neil MacLeod, manager at Southesk Farms, said he also had to physically rescue livestock from heavily flooded fields

Neil MacLeod, manager at Southesk Farms, said he also had to physically rescue livestock from heavily flooded fields

A Scottish farmer has recalled the ‘devastating impact' of Storm Babet and his efforts to rescue livestock and people from heavy flooding in Angus.

Neil MacLeod, manager at Southesk Farms in Brechin, said the estate was ‘completely under water' with flooding to fields, storing sheds and homes  - the second incident of heavy flooding within the space of just 11 months.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency claimed over 200mm or rainfall had hit Eastern parts of Scotland - including Angus and Aberdeenshire - between October 20 and October 22 after the River South Esk had burst its bank.

See also: Farmers demonstrate resilience during Storm Babet

Police Scotland released a short statement regarding the death of Perthshire farmer Wendy Taylor who had been swept up in the storm.

Mr MacLeod said he made it a priority to ensure everyone on the estate was safe after receiving an early phone call from a concerned resident.

"I remember getting a phone call at 3am on the Friday (October 20) from a resident on the estate about flooding and concern for livestock on the farm," he added.

"So I got into my tractor as quickly as I could to see what had happened and how I could help.

"To be honest, I could only move around safely in the tractor because the water was so high.

"When I was told the sheep were covered to their shoulders in water, I knew it was serious.

"I had to physically move all the sheep one-by-one to a less flooded field for their safety.

See also: Defra Secretary Therese Coffey blames 'lack of experience' on easterly rain for response to Storm Babet

"As I was driving along, the water was reaching homes.

"We helped to rescue a lady who had lived in the area for over 50 years from her home which had flooded.

"In total, 12 homes had to be evacuated from the flooding.

"It was awful.

"The yard had also flooded which affected our potato and machinery stores.

"Crop fields were just submerged in water.

"There is very little you can do when flooding strikes so my main priority was to make sure people were moved out to a place of safety.

See also: Body of Scottish farmer recovered from river during Storm Babet

"This way, we could deal with the consequences afterwards."

According to Mr MacLeod, Southesk Farm was also affected by flooding in 2015 and November last year.

He bemoaned how there was 'very little' farmers could do but to make the problem 'less severe'.

"Back in 2015, we were told the extent of the flooding was only supposed to happen once in 200 years," he added.

"Now it has happened three times in an eight-year period.

"It really has affected those who live here.

"The farmers on the estate, including myself, are doing all we can to save the potato harvest as the field suffered from heavy flooding.

"The farm could not handle the volume of the rain we faced.

"It is a very difficult position to be in but I am determined there will be a way forward.

"However, I think we will have to deal with more events like this in the future because I do not see how you can stop it from happening again.

"It will be something which we have to live with.

"Now we are starting to pick up the pieces and understand the true extent of Storm Babet."

See also: Welsh farmer praises 'loyal' sheepdog for rescue mission during Storm Babet

More on Weather

County Down and County Tyrone had the wettest October on record, according to the Met Office

Northern Ireland growers count cost of Storm Ciaran

Heavy rainfall sees fields of potatoes, sprouts and parsnips washed away

clock 07 November 2023 • 2 min read
Large areas of farmland have been left underwater owing to recent floods

Under pressure EA hits back over flood failings

The NFU and CLA demand action to address waterway management and drainage

clock 02 November 2023 • 3 min read
Farmers are being warned Storm Ciaran will bring further flooding

Farmers face further woes as Storm Ciaran gathers

Fresh weather warnings in place after Storm Babet leaves fields floods and crops washed away

clock 01 November 2023 • 3 min read