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Lifeboat crew battles huge waves and strong gusts as Storm Aiden batters north-west

Lifeboat crews from Oban battle waves on their way to aid a fishing boat on Loch Etive.
Lifeboat crews from Oban battle waves on their way to aid a fishing boat on Loch Etive.

Ferries were cancelled, trees were blown over and roads were closed as Storm Aiden battered the north across the weekend.

Gusts of up to 79mph at Altnaharra in Sutherland and 76mph in South Uist in the Western Isles were reported as the west coast bore the brunt of the strong winds.

The storm whipped up waves of 26ft, nearly twice the height of a double decker bus, off the coast of the Outer Hebridies in the early hours of this morning.

Lifeboat crews from Oban were forced to brave the conditions on Saturday to rescue a fishing boat that had broken down on Loch Etive.

Volunteers braved gusts of up to 60mph to come to the aid of the four-person crew with a work boat from a local fish farm also on the scene.

Oban lifeboat crews aid a broken down fishing vessel on Loch Etive.

Attempts were made to tow the vessel back to where they had launched from at Taynuilt pier but upon arrival it was “mostly submerged” due to the high tide.

The fishing boat was instead secured to a mooring in Airds Bay with the crew taken aboard the lifeboat for the journey back to Oban.

Lifeboat coxswain Ally Cerexhe urged people to “think twice” before heading to sea during stormy weather.

He said: “Although the lochs may appear to provide some shelter, the strong winds and high tides still pose the same risk.”

Coastguard crews were also called into action after 40ft shipping containers went overboard from a vessel in the Pentland Firth.

Two of the units have washed ashore at South Hoy in Orkney with aerial searches continuing to locate the rest.

An emergency towing vessel was also alerted after a large cargo vessel reported engine failure north-west of Shetland before repairs were done.

Stormy weather continued today with CalMac cancelling some ferry crossings between Oban, Ullapool and the Western Isles with the weather forcing delays to others.

Northlink routes were also affected with the sailing from Lerwick to Aberdeen departing three hours early last night to ensure it still made its scheduled arrival time.

Fallen trees also caused disruption across the north-east with many routes blocked by debris.

Despite the blustery conditions, the Met Office reported that Kinloss was the warmest place in the UK on Saturday with temperatures reaching 16C.

However, the mild weather is not expected to continue over the next few days.

Met Office forecaster Matthew Box said: “It will be calmer on Monday but there will still be blustery showers, particularly across northern Scotland. Some of them could be heavy.

“Temperatures will get colder with about 8C in the northern isles and 10C in Aberdeen on Tuesday with some showers possibly bringing hail or thunder. There may also be sleet or snow in the highest spots.”

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