[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Rain turns north into water world
By Steven McKenzie
Highlands and Islands reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Heavy downpours have transformed the landscape in Easter Ross, turning fields and car parks into lochans and streets into rivers.

Flooding in Dingwall
Flood water swills around the wheel arches of cars in Dingwall

From Inverness you cross the Kessock Bridge into troubled waters.

While the Highland capital escapes the worst of the weather and even enjoys a brief spell of milky sunshine, the Black Isle and Easter Ross is clagged with low dark grey cloud.

Rain becomes increasingly heavier at the Tore roundabout on the A9 and the car's wipers have to be at their top setting as the road climbs on the way to Dingwall.

Run-off from a field cascades down an embankment in a brown waterfall and creates wide flat streams of water across the road.

The River Conon, just outside Dingwall, is swollen and a churning fast flowing brown torrent.

The traffic slows to a crawl on the road into the town. On one side fields have been turned into lochs and on the other steps from a footpath down to the roadside resemble a water feature in a garden make-over.

A van splashes down a road in Dingwall
A van splashes down a road in Dingwall

At first look Dingwall does not appear too bad, but further into town it is a shock to see how badly affected the low-lying parts of the town are.

Cars wallow in a swimming pool that is the police station car park.

A driver makes a determined effort to get their car started as the water laps at the vehicle's windows.

The car's rear lights flicker dully as the engine slowly turns over with a moan.

Low cloud

Nearby a little boy gets a row from his mum as he delights in splashing about in the biggest puddle he has ever seen.

Meanwhile, yellow Highland Council and Transerv lorries rumble around the town like an army on manoeuvres.

North of Dingwall there is an eerie scene at the mist shrouded Cromarty Bridge.

The roundabout on the north side of the bridge is ringed by articulated lorries while every available lay-by close by is full of cars.

A solitary traffic police car's blue lights flash in the gloom.

Road sign
A sign warning of closures on the road between Dingwall and Tore

No vehicles can get any further north until flooding further up the road subsides.

Some of the motorists have been waiting since before 0700 BST after putting in a 12 hour shift at their jobs in Inverness.

Unfortunately they cannot enjoy the view while they wait because it's cloaked by low cloud and pouring rain.

Before leaving Dingwall for Cromarty there is a surreal sight.

A Scottish Water tanker normally seen transporting water to places that have run out of it splashes down a road deluged with the stuff.

Floods declared a major incident
26 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Police list worst-affected areas
26 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Your Pictures: October flooding
26 Oct 06 |  In Pictures

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific