A main route in Argyll has been closed after a landslip brought 612 tonnes of rock and mud on to the road yesterday, creating massive detours for motorists.
The landslip happened as gale-force winds with gusts of up to 80mph lashed the West Highlands and Islands.
Heavy rain triggered the landslip at about 12.30pm at the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 Tarbet-Campbeltown road. The trunk road – the main artery into south Argyll – has been shut in both directions at Arrochar and Cairndow. Drivers now face a 55-mile diversion via Crianlarich and Dalmally.
The road was closed for several weeks after a landslip at the same spot two years ago.
Scotland TranServ, which maintains the road for Transport Scotland, had geotechnical experts on site last night to assess the situation.
A spokesman for Scotland TranServ said: “Equipment to remove the debris is being mobilised on both sides of the landslide and work will commence as soon as the site is assessed as being safe.”
Gale-force winds with gusts of up to 80mph caused chaos for motorists and ferry services in the Highlands and islands yesterday.
The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the region, but the winds are expected to die down today.
In Inverness, more than a dozen trees were toppled by the winds, blocking several roads throughout the city.
A large tree at Tomnahurich Cemetery was blown over on to nearby Glenurquhart Road, hitting a car.
One person in the vehicle was taken to the city’s Raigmore Hospital but there was no information on the extent of the casualty’s injuries.
The Kessock Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles and traffic on the Skye Bridge was also restricted.
A Met Office spokesman said the winds would gradually ease overnight and today, with brighter weather for the rest of the week.
He said the summit of Cairngorm had a gust of 108mph yesterday.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded as ferry services were disrupted and cancelled across the region.
The MV Clansman should have departed at 9.20am but was stormbound at Castlebay. The boat from Oban to Barra and South Uist was also cancelled. All sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool were put off, as was the Skye to Lochmaddy run.
Stornoway RNLI lifeboat was called out to rescue a stricken yacht in high seas off the town yesterday.
At Wick, emergency repairs were being carried out last night to counter flooding damage at the riverside.
River Street was closed after a large bulge appeared in the retaining wall adjoining the river after the recent heavy downpours.
Highland Council structural engineers fear the wall is at serious risk of collapse, together with a section of roadway, which gives access to the harbour. It is believed the upstream groyne created a back eddy which scoured out the original foundations, causing the wall to move.
Richard Guest, head of the council’s roads, said: “The bulge in the harbour wall is significant and has required us to close off River Street for safety reasons with immediate effect.”
The council awarded a contract to stabilise the wall and work was due to commence at low tide last night.
“We will then need to design a scheme to repair the harbour wall and award a contract for this work,” Mr Guest added
Air services in the region were unaffected by gales.