The River Findhorn – Part II: A Raging History of Floodings

The River Findhorn – Part II

“The traveller by the Findhorn cannot see the glory of the streams as he takes his ease in his motor-car. If he prefers that method of travelling and wishes, at the same time, to view riverscenery, he must take himself to the Clyde, Dee, Tweed, or Spey, where the tame waters permit the engineer to lay his roads along the very banks. The Findhorn cannot be won with so little trouble. The traveller must go on foot along woodland tracks and be prepared to scramble up and down the narrow paths of the salmon fishers.”

Quote by Thomas Henderson – The Findhorn

A Raging History of Floodings

The Findhorn is not the calmest of rivers. It has known quite a few floodings, but the most crazy of floods (recorded in history books), happened in August, of the year 1829. The water rose by 50 feet in Randolph’s Leap and destroyed hundreds of acres land all along the Findhorn. Houses were destroyed. Watermills were lost. Bridges were swallowed. Though, very few lives were taken.

The video below shows the flooding last year in September.

There are two inscribed stones placed in a cage on the cliffs at Randolph’s Leap, which you will most surely encounter when you walk around the footpaths. One is placed near the actual leap, and one on the point where the Divie and Findhorn come together. These stones mark the water level of that day; the highest water level recorded so far. Next time you walk around Randolph’s Leap; keep an eye out for them and be amazed!

One of the two flood stones at Randolph's Leap. This was the highest flood ever recorded on the Findhorn; 1829

The newly built meal-mill and carding-mill at Dunphail were completely ruined. The miller and his family only escaping with assistance from neighbours who managed to secure a rope to pull them across the torrent.
Another family managed to escape from their house at about eight o’clock on the evening of the flood, with a blanket or two and a small bag of meal. They sat huddled, with their animals, on a small patch of higher ground, completely surrounded by water, awaiting rescue. There they sat for nearly 24 hours before a boat managed to reach them, by which time the weather was clearing and the water level was dropping.

The land of Forres, which the Findhorn passes to feed into the Moray Firth, was completely taken over by the sheer force of this remarkable flood. From Mundole, about two miles to the west of Forres, and from Forres to Findhorn, the whole land was under water.

The increased rainfall, that caused the flood, didn’t just affect the Findhorn, but also the Lossie and Spey. It is believed that for all rivers, the flood in the year 1829 is the highest flood recorded. The situation was made worse by the fact that it had been unusually hot during the months May, June and July, and the baked ground was unable to absorb water quickly.

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