A couple have been left homeless after their new-build home was crushed by a landslide in Benderloch.
There was just a handrail left to fit in Donald MacColl and his partner Vivienne’s brand-new two-storey cottage in Argyll when the devastating incident happened.
Donald had popped out for just an hour last Friday, and by the time he returned home the property was “on the deck” – flatted by land that had fallen from the hillside behind.
Thankfully Vivienne wasn’t at home.
The couple had invested their pension and life savings into the project.
They are now homeless, all their belongings have been crushed and their car was also destroyed.
Benderloch couple in shock after landslide
Donald and Vivienne had spent the last two years ploughing time, energy and money into the project.
People in the village were also delighted as the once untidy spot, which had lain vacant for years, was finally being put to good use.
The house was newly finished – bar the handrail – and the couple planned to build another house and garage on the ground.
The property that was crushed was destined to be a rental one day to secure their future, and a pension for their retirement.
They were looking forward to welcoming people to Benderloch, one of the most beautiful parts of Argyll.
But the landslide has left Donald – known as Dondie – and Vivienne with nothing but the clothes they were wearing that day.
This week they have been staying at Oban Holiday Park in Gallanachmore where staff have gone out of their way to help them with emergency accommodation.
The couple – who are very private people – said they were “devastated” and worried sick about the future.
Donald, a builder and rough caster, said: “I was in the house at 3.30pm when I had to go into Oban to speak to some people about a job, and Vivienne was away.
“I got back from Oban at 5.15pm and the house was on the deck. We lost absolutely everything.”
Donald explained that furniture from the upper floor of the house was pushed into the lower floor.
He said: “It must have happened so quickly that if we had been in the house, we would have been dead.
“We have been putting everything into it for the last two years.
“It is all just gone.”
Fundraiser set up for Benderloch couple
A friend Cieran Moran has set up a fundraising page, that has so far raised nearly £5,500 for the couple – for which they are very grateful.
Friends and family have rallied round donating to the GoFundMe page, and many have sent kind messages to the couple.
But Donald said: “We have nothing now, and we fear that we might never be able to pull it back.”
It’s understood that earth from the hillside crumbled after rain, ice and snow forced it to loosen off.
There are around a dozen properties in Benderloch that back onto the hill.
On the fundraising page, Cieran said: “A sudden and very unexpected landslide fell on top of Dondie and Vivienne’s brand new house which has completely destroyed and flattened the house and car.
“Luckily this was during the day on Friday and no one was home thankfully.”
He added: “At this time of year things are hard enough but now they have nothing.”
To help Donald and Vivienne, you can donate here.