Wet weather causes further disruption

Lifeboat called out on Sat. morning. Rescued Tug Bisco Kid and later rescued yacht on beach
Lifeboat called out on Sat. morning. Rescued Tug Bisco Kid and later rescued yacht on beach

FOR the second time in just over a week, a burst of freak weather made its presence felt in Berwickshire, once again forcing organisers of a number of events to change their plans at the last minute and leaving farmers worrying just how serious the implications will be for their industry.

The downpour started on Thursday night and with rain still falling on Friday morning, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued flood warnings for Grantshouse to Eyemouth, Paxton to Preston and Greenlaw to Allanton.

The committee behind Duns Summer Festival had already had to change their plans for this year a week earlier when the heavy rain fall of Thursday, June 28, led to the town’s Public Park becoming more like a lake, forcing the postponement of the kids’ football and the relocation of the crowning of the Wynsome Mayde to Duns Castle.

And the distinctly unseasonal conditions forced last minute changes to be made to one of the week’s biggest events - Saturday’s Whitchester rideout.

The burns usually crossed by riders had risen to a dangerous level and some ground was particularly treacherous so it was decided in the interests of safety to change the route with the help of local landowners.

A few miles out to the coast and the opening day of one of Berwickshire’s other big events - Eyemouth Herring Queen was also disrupted by the weather, with 2012 Herring Queen, Heather Smith and her court forced to stay on dry land rather than make their way to the harbour aboard Eyemouth Lifeboat ‘Barclaycard Crusader’.

It had already been a busy day for the lifeboat after its crew were forced to come to the rescue of a yacht and local vessel The Bisco Kid - recently seen at the Thames Diamond Jubilee pageant- after both were swept out to sea.

The Bisco Kid, skippered by harbour master Ivan Stevenson, was towing the stricken yacht back into the harbour when a line was dragged into its propeller causing its engine to stall and fail.

Both the Biscoe Kid, and the yacht attached to it, were then swept down the harbour entrance by the force of the spate, and out to sea.

The lifeboat crew managed to attach a towline to the Bisco Kid and pulled both it and the yacht back towards the harbour. Unfortunately the line between the Bisco Kid and the yacht broke and the yacht was swept onto the beach.

Thankfully, no-one was on board and there were no injuries.

As well as being a thorn in the side of event organisers, the less than summery weather is beginning to cause a massive headache for those in the agricultural industry in Berwickshire with the lack of sunshine impacting on crop growth and affecting the health of farm animals.

Swinton’s Neil White, chairman of the Berwickshire branch of the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland, said if the weather continued on its current trend “things will become serious.”

“The lack of sunshine is causing a problem for crops, animals and us,” he told ‘The Berwickshire News’.

“Nothing is going to thrive in cold, wet and miserable weather. We’ve had spells of wet weather before but arable wise we’ve not had constant rain like this so close to harvest. Crops that were coming on may not not reach their full potential because of the lack of sun. There’s been flooding on a lot of fields in the district with some farmers reporting crops have completely disappeared because low points of their fields have been underwater. We’re talking about a year’s work in the fields being jeopardised by the weather. And if it continues like they say it’s going to, things will become serious.”