Family 'lucky' to be alive after Storm Kathleen destroys motorhome

Owner issues warning after saying it looked like 'the van had blown up' while the family was inside.

Family on NC500 ‘lucky’ to be alive after Storm Kathleen destroys motorhome in Scottish Highlands Peter Schmidt

A family who were inside a motorhome in the Highlands when Storm Kathleen sent it tumbling down a hill are “lucky” to be alive.

The owner of the firm which rented out the vehicle said he couldn’t believe the family were okay after photos of the scene made it look like “the van had blown up”.

The family, said to be from Oxford, were touring the North Coast 500 at the time.

The incident happened at a layby on the A896 near Shieldaig, Wester Ross on Sunday, April 7 when the family of four, alongside their two dogs, had stopped to wait for high winds to die down.

It was then that a “freak gust of wind” propelled the campervan down the hill before it stopped ahead of a nearby loch.

The campervan was destroyed after being ravaged by Storm Kathleen.Peter Schmidt

Peter Schmidt, who owns Luna Motorhome Hire, told STV News: “When they sent us photos that’s when my heart sank.

“I wondered how they were still alive because it genuinely looked like the van had blown up. It’s unbelievable.”

Mr Schmidt said he was told the two children were resting in their beds during the incident while the parents were at the front of the vehicle.

“They said that all of a sudden this freak gust of wind blew them over and down the hill and seemed to come to a stop before there was a cliff,” he said.

“They said they were rolling around the motorhome and saw the roof disappear.

“I genuinely do not know how they survived that incident.”

Mr Schmidt said the dogs were unharmed and the kids came out “relatively okay” but added that one of the parents had a dark bruise above her eye.

‘It’s really important to take note of the weather conditions’

Mr Schmidt issued a warning to those looking to travel the NC 500 in the wake of the wreck.

“It’s really important that people take note of the weather conditions,” he said.

“Take note of the roads. The roads aren’t the easiest to drive around. People do really need to plan their journey.

“If you’re going in a motorhome, if you can get a smaller motorhome that can make the world of difference to the driving experience.

“It can be quite tricky up there.

“If the weather doesn’t look great maybe either hold off on going or change where you’re going to.

“Ultimately, it’s people’s lives here.

“This family were extremely lucky, extremely lucky, and people need to pay attention to that.”

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