Stretch of A9 blocked after accident involving livestock lorry

© Robert MacDonald/Northern StudiosCattle can be seen inside the overturned transporter trailer.
Cattle can be seen inside the overturned transporter trailer.

The northernmost stretch of the A9 was blocked this afternoon after an accident involving a livestock lorry at Spittal in Caithness.

The southbound float carrying cows sheared away from the cab after the driver negotiated a sharp bend at the north end of the village.

The float ended up overturning into a field, in the process levelling an electric pole and bringing down the overhead power line.

Fire, ambulance and police were scrambled while SSE engineers and a vet were also called to the scene.

The driver of the lorry was shocked but uninjured while firefighters were needed to cut free cattle trapped in the upturned trailer.

The incident reported at 2.38pm was attended by two fire crews from Thurso, one from Wick and the specialist heavy rescue unit from Inverness. They helped release cattle as well as clearing diesel which had spilt on the carriageway.

A breakdown crew meanwhile was called out to recover the float. The detached cab had remained upright on the road.

Traffic was meanwhile diverted along side roads via Halkirk and Mybster.

SSE engineers are working to restore power supplies to 186 households.

A spokesman said as soon as the line came down, power was automatically switched off so there was no danger of a live connection.

He added: “We’d apologise to our customers who have been affected and would assure them our engineers were doing everything they could to get the power back as quickly and as safely as they could.”