Canine canal rescue while Storm Brendan rages

Cheryl with beloved greyhound Barbie, thankfully none the worse of her ordeal

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A beloved family pet had a narrow escape after strong winds blew her into the Crinan Canal.

The incident happened as Storm Brendan, the first serious low pressure system to hit our shores in 2020, brought 60mph winds and stronger gusts on Monday January 13.

The dog’s owner, Ardrishaig resident Cheryl Ratcliffe-Nye, explained: ‘About 10.30am on Monday my 10-year-old greyhound Barbie was blown off the gate of lock two of the canal into the water by a sudden gust of wind.

Inveraray Pier takes a pounding

‘I had her suspended by her collar trying to haul her back up through the gap but she weighs over six stones. She was gasping as her collar tightened round her neck but fortunately my husband Laurie managed to get a hand down to her harness and together we eventually got her back up. She was winded, wet and petrified but we got her home into the warm.

‘She could easily have been lost today as greyhounds don’t swim well at the best of times. Fortunately she didn’t swallow any water and just has a small cut on her back leg, although I expect she is quite bruised round her chest and neck.

‘We are counting our blessings and have learned a huge lesson today.’

As Brendan raged, CalMac ferries were cancelled for the day, roads became blocked with seawater and storm debris, and trees were blown over. There was even a report of glass in an Ardrishaig greenhouse being smashed.

Lochgilphead woman Christine Johnston had a lucky escape when a falling tree hit her car on the A83 near Cairndow. Writing on Facebook, Christine said: ‘I was lucky. A falling tree hit my windscreen and scraped across the roof of my car. It was like going through a car wash in slow motion.’

Ardrishaig and Inveraray appear to have been particularly badly hit, culminating in waves crashing over the A83 as Loch Fyne battered the coast at high tide around 2pm. Crashing waves, shoreline debris and flooding forced the closure of the A83 at the Aray Bridge, Inveraray, and at various points in Ardrishaig before the falling tide and dropping winds eased the situation in the early evening.