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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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High Tides And Raging Seas Deluge Wick Harbour Area
Sunday night (3 November and into the early hours of the 4 November 2002) saw Wick harbour take one of the worst batterings for many years.  The full effect was seen in the flooding all round the harbour when the sea was pushing in with a combination of wind and tide.

By daylight the devastation at the shore was  clear.  The heavy waves battering in through the outer north pier wall had smashed into the wall at the shore opposite the waterfront and all along the street.

The waves have ripped the concrete from the top of the wall and heaved tons of rubble, stones and other material across the road.  The shore road has been blocked all day as council men and machinery work to clear the debris.

The service bridge was closed to traffic and pedestrians as waves lashed the bridge late last night.  businesses had to be sandbagged and the pubs in the Camps area were closed.   Some folk said it was the worst in twenty years and rarely had so much material been deposited across the road.  The day before the road had been cleared of an earlier pile of rubble but no more than is common for the area.
Last night's onslaught from the North Sea has severely damaged the wall and left the area vulnerable to further heavy seas.

The Harbour Trust has fears about the North Pier with rumours of a crack on the top after the heavy sea battering over it last night.  The nightmare scenario of the pier collapsing has not happened but it looks as if it might be a bit closer after last night.

Ownership of the wall and the area adjacent is not known.  One thing is certain  - the cost of putting it right will be high.   Timing for this could hardly be worse,  with winter just starting it may not be possible to do more than temporary works until after next years spring tides will once again put the area under stress.  Last winter was not one of the bad ones and if this winter brings any ferocious weather that part of the wall will be threatened again.

No injuries were reported from the storms but there were casualties.  The bodies of young seals battered into the wall had to be removed from the area early this morning.  Over on the other side of the harbour a trailer belonging to Hugh Simpson Ltd was over turned by a the high water washing over the harbour wall on the road out to the old lifeboat shed.

The boat Isabella Fortuna was moved on the slipway inside the old lifeboat shed as water swept in.

Sandbags remain outside several business premises in case of high water tonight.