Hawick homes evacuated volunteers prove their worth during Storm Dennis flooding

The Borders was hit by flooding again at the weekend, just one week after Storm Ciara’s heavy rainfal devastated part of the region.

By Kathryn Wylie
Monday, 17th February 2020, 5:36 pm
Updated Monday, 17th February 2020, 6:20 pm
Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park under water.
Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park under water.

Hawick, Newcastleton, Peebles and the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys were among the parts of the region hardest hit by Storm Dennis on Saturday and Sunday.

Three sections of rivers in the Borders reached the highest levels ever recorded by the agency – Hawick’s Slitrig Water, the Jed Water at Chesters and the Liddel Water at Newcastleton.

In Hawick, homes were evacuated with in Duke Street and Commercial Road as a precaution and 22 people made use of an emergency rest centre set up in the town’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre.

Hawick on Sunday, February 16, following the latest floods to hit the town the night before.

The town’s Wilton Lodge Park was under water and the Royal Albert Football Club’s grounds, just dried out from last week’s club rooms flood, were hit badly again.

Scottish Borders Council staff, firefighters and the police were all deployed to help, and Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue volunteers were last to be stood down as river levels began to fall around 1am.

Once again, it was the town’s own dozen-strong team of flood group volunteers at the forefront of handing out advice, sand bags and helping people leave their homes.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall, chairman of Hawick Flood Group, said: “Alarm bells started ringing about 5pm and we went from flood warning to severe flood warning very quickly.

“We had two rivers at full speed. One rose two feet in half an hour which caused huge problems.

“It’s a big machine and the council and emergency planning and the flood group worked together very well.

“The flood group are pretty slick now, they’ve been at it a long time and the more we are out the better we are getting.

“We shouldn’t be out, though, to be honest. We need this scheme.

“It breaks my heart when I have to knock on people’s doors at 2am and ask people to leave. The look on their faces says it all and that gets to me, it really does.

“I have been chair of this group since 2006 and I fully understand what these people are feeling.

“They’ve had their properties flooded in the past and they are worried sick incase it’s happening again. It’s a very nervous town but lets hope we get a bit of respite now.”

“But here in Hawick the flood group will always be here for the people of Hawick until such time that it’s got full protection.”

Elsewhere the Ettrick Valley was also hit badly with flood water closing roads near Angecroft and Tushlielaw, the Ettrick Water bursting its banks near Collins Bridge and flooding affecting fields at Cacraside

The Tweed meanwhile burst its banks again at Sunderland Hall, near Selkirk and in Melrose.

In Jedburgh, repairs to the Jed Water defences at Richmond Row were completed just to protect properties there, and A68 between Jedburgh and Camptown was closed on Saturday evening. Sandbags were handed out in after warning alarms were triggered at the Skiprunning Burn.