About 450 years of Scottish history is about to tumble into the raging River Dee. Destructive flooding has washed away 60 feet of land between the water and the 16th-century Abergeldie Castle, which is now hovering precariously over the swift water.
Its very upset owner has fled his home. A friend of John Seton Howard Gordon, the Baron of Abergeldie, told the Guardian that the historic tower castle is “teetering on the brink.”
“The castle is in imminent danger and John is at his wits’ end. It’s not only a home. It’s the heritage, the history. Nothing can be done while the river is in spate like it is.”
The Dee swelled following heavy rains ushered into the British Isles by Storm Frank, which hit Scotland last Wednesday, ABC News reported. The storm left many people without power, and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued 35 flood warnings since the storm passed through, roads have been closed, trains stopped, and emergency responders were called to rescue people from their cars and homes, the Daily Record added.
As residents start cleaning up, wind and rain continued to pummel the Scottish countryside early this week.
— The Press & Journal (@pressjournal) January 4, 2016
And that’s not good news for Abergeldie Castle. On Tuesday, engineers were scheduled to arrive to take a look at the historic Scottish building as one corner is completely unsupported, the Telegraph and United Press International added. Thankfully, despite continued heavy rain, the level of the Dee has dropped.
Heavy and continual rain caused the river to overflow its banks and led to extensive flooding that washed away about 60 feet of land that usually sits between the water and the Scottish castle’s rear side.
A friend described the effect the flooding has had on the historic building, which is protected by the government.
“It’s just thundering down. It swept away and smashed the mature trees at the back of the house like matchsticks. It also took 250ft of the bank away and all the ground at the back. The river is right at the back door.”
In stunning drone footage, the castle can be seen hanging over a 12-foot drop. Flooding has lessened the distance between Abergeldie and the rushing waters to a mere five feet. More of the bank was eroded during heavy rain Monday morning, and by midday, one corner of the castle was only inches from the water.
Now, the building is teetering on the edge of collapse.
The Baron, 76, and his wife fled when the flooding was at its worst. When the couple heard a wall in their garden collapse into the river after the embankment nearby was washed away by the flooding, they finally decided to evacuate their home and took refuge with a neighbor. They are now are staying in another property on their estate.
“(The Baron) is OK but he’s obviously upset. If that bank goes it’s going to go like a pack of cards,” a friend said. “That’s the trouble with these old buildings they don’t have much foundations.”
— The Scottish Sun (@ScottishSun) January 4, 2016
Abergeldie is located in Aberdeenshire and sits on an estate of 11,700 acres. The laird of the Scottish castle rents out portions of the estate for royal shooting and fishing parties, and between 1848 and 1970 — before the current owner moved into the tower — it was leased by the royal family. It boasts the Queen herself, who is a friend of the baron, as a neighbor. Her castle Balmoral is only a couple miles away.
Abergeldie was built by Sir Alexander Gordon of Midmar.
In addition to threatening a historic Scottish castle with destructive flooding, Storm Frank also resulted in the deaths of two people. The body of a kayaker was found, who is believed to have been caught in rapids. And a 36-year-old man who fell from a canoe died after he and a companion, 18, were rescued from the water last Thursday.
[Photo By Mark Runnacles/Getty Images]