Redwings continues to count the cost of damage to its Mountains visitor centre in Scotland after it was ravaged by Storm Babet – and more rain is expected later this week.
A key bridge connecting areas of the site, barns, field shelters and fencing are just some of the facilities that have been battered by immensely strong winds and unprecedented rainfall.
A rare red weather warning came into effect on Thursday 19th October, which covered the county of Angus – home to Redwings Mountains, near Forfar, which cares for 80 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
In anticipation of the storm hitting the next day, the incredible equine care team moved the most vulnerable horses into stables and ensured the remainder were moved to high ground and had access to plenty of shelter and forage.
Sadly, the next day, local rivers burst their banks and with access roads to the visitor centre completely flooded, there was little the team could do but sit tight and wait for the worst to blow over.
Luckily, one staff member was able to reach the site to make sure the stabled horses had enough food and to check that the flood waters had not reached their stable doors.
As the weather began to calm over that weekend – the damage was clear to see. Deep water lay everywhere, barns were flooded, roof panels of field shelters had been ripped off and a bridge connecting areas of the site had become unusable.
However, thanks to the quick-thinking actions of the team prior to the devastating weather rolling in, all of Redwings Mountains’ four-legged residents made it through the storm safely.
Damage to a vital bridge at Redwings Mountains following Storm Babet.
See more images of the storm damage.
Heroes wear wellies
The team remained undeterred – they carried forage, feed and medication to the horses along paths and routes now flooded or littered with debris that were too unsafe for vehicles, which is no easy feat for a site that spans 220 acres!
Of all our sanctuary sites, Redwings Mountains has the highest proportion of residents on regular medication which meant reaching them in any way they could was paramount.
As a responsible large-scale horse owner and landowner, Redwings always ensures its sites are insured to cover damage caused by storms. However, with some repairs at Redwings Mountains requiring immediate action, we had no choice but to channel emergency funds into fixing the bridge so our vehicles could reach all our residents once again. Thanks to the efforts of a local contractor, the essential repairs were completed within days.
However, as the next weekend approached, the Met Office gave notice of an impending yellow weather warning, as heavy downpours were expected once again – a real concern considering that much of the local flooding had only just begun to subside.
Within hours, the river that runs through Redwings Mountains rose by six inches and it became clear that time was of the essence. On Friday 27th October, the team once again began leading residents to higher ground and stabling the most vulnerable.
Our Chief Executive Lynn Cutress was interviewed live on national television as the team rallied for another weekend of unprecedented rain.
‘It feels like Groundhog Day!’
CEO of Redwings Mountain Horse Sanctuary, Lynn Cutress, explains the impact of Storm Babet on her Horse Sanctuary. pic.twitter.com/JPk6kDQaNU
Luckily, the damage on this occasion was limited to field shelters and fencing, but these remain very costly items to replace.
While we will eventually be able to recuperate the cost of the damages, it will take some time for our insurance claims to process and some repairs will need to be carried out immediately to ensure we can continue to provide a safe environment for our rescued horses.
Thank you to everyone who has sent well wishes to the Redwings Mountains team and kindly donated in honour of their amazing efforts to keep our residents safe – we simply can’t thank them enough for what they have done over the last couple of weeks in truly horrendous conditions. Your incredible support is enabling us to respond to any emergency repairs as and when needed.
With more rain predicted later this week, we send all our love and thoughts to those affected in Scotland and will ensure to keep you updated on how the team at Redwings Mountains are coping.
Weathering the storm
Please donate today so we can continue to provide the emergency repairs needed at Redwings Mountains.
Redwings Press Office
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