Flash floods hit Scottish pubs

Licensees battled on in spite of summer downpours

The Weston in Kilmaurs was badly flooded

By Jack Walsh

PUBS in various parts of Scotland suffered damage and loss of business as a result of recent flash floods.

Weather warnings were in force as torrential rain caused flash floods across the country.

Lyndsay Douglas, lessee of Hole in the Wall in Musselburgh, said her pub’s cellar flooded when a pipe burst due to the pressure of the deluge.

“The cellar started to flood until it had somewhere to drain away to,” she said.

“It happened a couple of years ago with the previous owner, so we know to keep things higher on shelves. But because the pipe runs across the ceiling of the cellar, whatever is around it still gets damaged.”

Donna King, manager of Stag & Thistle in the Ayrshire town of Kilmaurs, told SLTN the pub narrowly avoided water entering the venue when floodwater reached just below the door.

“Within the space of 20 minutes it went from being an alright, dry day to hailstones [and rain],” she said.

“It impacted us quite badly to be honest because people were stuck in the pub and then later on we had no business after it, because it was all over the local news that Kilmaurs was flooded so people didn’t come anywhere close – and I can understand that because it was still raining and people didn’t want to take the risk.”

Across the road, however, there was floodwater running through the Weston Tavern Bar & Restaurant, which sits downhill from Stag & Thistle.

Licensee John Cairns said he and his staff swept the water through and out of the building, but it caused damage to carpets and woodwork.

However, spirits weren’t dampened, with Weston regular Ian Dewer’s 80th birthday bash continuing despite the flooding.

“You’ve got a river for a couple of hours, the water goes away, and it dries out,” said Cairns.

“He (Dewer) laughed it off and said, ‘I never knew I was getting a pool party for my birthday’.

“It’s one of these things, there’s no point getting down about it – you just get on with it.”

However, he said further blanket weather warnings for all of Ayrshire led to a downturn in customers the following week.

Other local operators who weren’t directly affected by the floods raised money for residents that had been affected.

Gary Cunningham, owner of Bar Luca in Kilmarnock, Gareth Kelly of Kilmarnock nightclub Baker’s, and James Cunningham of The Murray Bar in Shortlees, as well as other local businesses including Maggie’s Bar & Kitchen in Kilmarnock, pitched in to raise over £3200, which will be distributed to residents in Shortlees whose homes were flooded.

Speaking to SLTN, Gary Cunningham said: “You just think as a community if there’s a chance to help out, you really should.

“It’s been a good response from everybody.”