5 January 2016

Abergeldie Castle: extreme riverbank erosion threatens a 16th Century castle in Scotland

Posted by dr-dave

Abergeldie Castle

The ongoing sequence of extreme rainfall events in western and northern Britain has brought a sequence of floods and landslides over the last month, causing high levels of damage to Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and various parts of Scotland.  The most recent event – heavy rainfall in northern and western Scotland yesterday – triggered high river levels on the, amongst others, the River Dee in Aberdeenshire.   Located near to the royal Balmorral Estate, Abergeldie Castle is a magnificent four storey tower house built in about 1550 on the banks of the Dee, as shown in this aerial image from Flickr:

Abergeldie Castle

Abergeldie Castle via Flickr

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As the image shows, the castle is located close to but not immediately beside the banks of the Dee.  Unfortunately, the very high river flows associated with the recent rainfall has triggered extensive erosion of the banks of this section of the Dee, and the castle is now at extreme risk of being lost.  The Guardian has provided a description of the situation:

Images of the rising flood show Abergeldie Castle, a Grade A-listed building, just a few feet from the water’s edge, with parts of the estate reportedly being swept away.  Baron Abergeldie, John Gordon, 76, and his wife sought refuge with their neighbour Gordon Fraser after deciding it was too dangerous to remain in their ancestral home in Aberdeenshire. He is now understood to have moved to another property on the estate.  “He left the castle when the river was at its height. It swept the embankment away,” Fraser told the Scottish Daily Record. “It moved a 60ft lump of ground and took a lot of big mature trees as well.”

The Press and Journal has this image of the state of the castle at present:

Abergeldie Castle

Abergeldie Castle via the Press and Journal

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Sadly, Aberdeenshire has a yellow warning for rain today, and a further one for Thursday, when another band of heavy rainfall will sweep across Britain:

Abergeldie CastleWeather forecast for Abergeldie Castle, via the BBC