Heavy snow and gales hit Scotland in wake of Storm Ciara

Warning of 'significant disruption' to transport while 'frequent lighting strikes' may interrupt power supplies.

Weather warnings across Scotland.
Weather warnings across Scotland.

Scotland is being battered by heavy snow and strong winds in the wake of Storm Ciara which swept across the country over the weekend.

Authorities warned there may be “significant disruption” to transport on Monday while “frequent lighting strikes” may interrupt power supplies.

The Met Office issued yellow warnings of snow and wind across most of Scotland on Monday and Tuesday with gusts of up to 60mph possible.

Forecasters said strong winds could lead to blizzard conditions while there may be up to 20cm of snow by Tuesday evening over the highest routes.


Cross-border train services were hit due to severe flooding on the west coast mainline near Carlisle, with replacement buses in place between Carlisle and Glasgow.

The wintry weather also affected other train routes in Scotland in the morning, including the West Highland Line and Airdrie to Balloch, while buses replaced trains between Dumfries and Carlisle.

Heavy snow showers caused problems on some roads, with traffic restricted to one lane on the M90 at Kelty in Fife and blizzard conditions reported on the M74 at Beattock.

Further north on the M74, five people were injured in a crash involving three cars and a lorry.


The motorway was closed northbound between Junction 6 and Junction 9 after the accident between the Larkhall and Hamilton turnoffs shortly after 9am. It was later reopened.

Elsewhere, more than a dozen ferry services were cancelled due to the high winds with others delayed or rescheduled.

It comes after Storm Ciara battered the country with high winds and heavy rain over the weekend, which led to flooding, damage to buildings and transport disruption.

The Met Office warning states: “Frequent and heavy snow showers will affect the region throughout Monday and Tuesday.

“Snow showers will occur especially over high ground, giving slight accumulations of one to three cm above 150 metres and five to 10cm above 300 metres.

“Snow will gradually build up and in a few locations, accumulations of over 20cm are possible by Tuesday evening over the highest routes in Scotland.

“The height of the snow level will vary throughout the period, but it is likely that any snow accumulations at low levels will only be temporary.


“Strong winds, gusting 50-60 mph, will lead to blizzard conditions at times and considerable drifting of lying snow over high ground.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said there was the potential for “significant disruption” to travel.

He said: “It’s important that people check the latest information before they set off, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.

“The Traffic Scotland service gives details of ‘wind-based’ closures for the bridges on trunk road network, allowing people to plan ahead accordingly.

“Motorists should check Traffic Scotland before they set off to make sure that their route is available.”

Over the weekend Storm Ciara caused disruption across Scotland with high winds and heavy rain.

In Hawick in the Borders a guest house and bistro collapsed into the River Teviot on Sunday, though no-one was injured.

Footage posted on social media showed a wall of the Bridge House Guest House and Sonia’s Bistro building collapsing into the fast-flowing River Teviot.

Heavy rain resulted in flooding in the Whitesands area of Dumfries, after the River Nith burst its banks.

On Saturday three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed in Perth.

Emergency services were called to the scene at The Venue in St John Street, Perth at around 7.25pm on Saturday.

Police said no-one was seriously injured.

Scotland’s quarantine changes ‘are not a free-for-all’

Health secretary Humza Yousaf described the changes to travel rules as 'gradual'.

STV News / guvendemir via IStock

Humza Yousaf has insisted changes made to quarantine rules for travellers to Scotland are “not a free-for-all”.

It comes after it was announced that fully vaccinated people from the US and the EU, with the exception of France, will not be required to quarantine after arriving in the country from Monday.

The Scottish health secretary, speaking at NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank, described the changes as “gradual” and in line with the Government’s approach towards lifting Covid-19 restrictions.

“There are safeguards around this, it’s not a free-for-all that anybody from any country can come here,” he said.


“It’s very much focused on, of course, amber list countries, it’s focused on those that are double vaccinated.

“What we’re simply saying is that our condition before was that you had to be vaccinated through a UK vaccination process, but actually we recognise that the EU and the US have approved vaccinations that are trusted.

“And therefore, this is a gradual move to allow safer travel, but of course, what we would say to people is continue to be cautious, continue to think about if you need to travel.

“And at the moment of course, the advice remains that we should only really be engaging in necessary travel.”


Next week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce whether Scotland will be able to move ahead in the route map for lifting restrictions.

A date of August 9 has been set for the removal of the main legal restrictions in Scotland.

“We’re moving into a direction where we want to get back to some sort of normality,” Yousaf added.

“All of us have lived under really difficult restrictions for the last 16 to 18 months. We want to move to a position of normality.

“But the Scottish Government’s approach has always been to do that in a very gradual manner, as opposed to just lifting all the restrictions at once, and this is a continuation of that gradual approach.”

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said the changes are a step in the right direction. (STV News)

The changes were welcomed by Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport.

He said that despite being a “long way from normal”, the changes represent a “massive step in the right direction”.


“Clearly, that’s a big win and it’s a bit win on three counts. First of all, it’s just a relaxation of the very many restrictions that are in place, and that’s good,” he told STV News.

“Secondly it’s about, for the first time, that we’ve looked at inbound travel and of course, it’s inbound travel that supports all the jobs and tourism and everything that’s going, so that’s really important that we’ve started to think about that.

“And thirdly, and really importantly as well, is it’s been co-ordinated across all four nations from day one, so that’s the first time we’ve seen a complete four nations approach to that.

“So again, these are all positives. So we’re going to celebrate that, we’re going to see some uplift, it’s quite late in the year, it’s going to miss the summer peak obviously, but it’s good news.”

He added: “We’re still left with a huge array of other restrictions. So even people that can come in and avoid self-isolation, still got to have two tests in, two tests out, all sorts of other cost-time disbenefit to that.

“So we’re a long, long way from normal, but it is a massive step in the right direction.”

Work underway to secure St Simon’s Church after blaze

Council workers have been helping to make the fire-hit site safe.

@_catriona via Catriona (Twitter) / @Brunsmoore via Melissa Moore
The fire took hold in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The stability of the remaining facade at St Simon’s Church was “very much in question” after the devastating blaze which destroyed most of the building.

Glasgow City Council workers have been helping to make the fire-hit site in Partick safe before handing it back over to the Archdiocese.

Calls have been made by local politicians to restore what was Glasgow’s third-oldest Catholic Church after the fire in the early hours of Wednesday.

Glasgow’s building standards team and Archdiocese representatives have carried out “immediate safety works”, reducing its height to that of the side walls.


Most of the church’s interior and roof have been destroyed by the fire.

The blaze also spread to a room in the adjoining chapel house, but that building is “essentially intact”.

A council spokesman said the Archdiocese was “in position to take on responsibility for the remaining structure”, and said that, as the owner, it will decide on the church’s future.

Once the building was stabilised, workers were able to reconnect the local power supply and move evacuated local residents back into their homes.


Contractors employed by the Archdiocese are continuing to do other safety work, such as removing debris and remaining areas of the damaged roof.

Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney raised concerns over “hasty attempts” to demolish the church.

“The facade has already been reduced on the western side facing Partick Bridge Street,” he said.

“Heritage accredited engineers should be commissioned to ensure maximum preservation of the building remains.”

A police drone has been deployed at the church to assist the fire service with its investigation into the fire.

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands.

Man appears in court accused of assaulting priest in cathedral

Jason Irvine remanded in custody following incident at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh on Monday.

© Google Maps 2020
Priest was attacked while praying at cathedral in Edinburgh.

A man has appeared in court accused of assaulting a priest praying in a cathedral.

The priest was attacked in St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in York Place, Edinburgh, on Monday morning.

Police arrested and charged Jason Irvine, 31, in Cumbria in connection with the incident.

He has also been charged in connection with an assault at the city’s Princes Street Gardens East on Monday.


Irvine, whose address was given in court as being no fixed address, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday accused of two assaults.

He made no plea and was remanded in custody pending a further court hearing.

Scotland records 1398 new Covid cases and 13 deaths

Just over four million people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

BlackJack3D via IStock
The official statistics were published on Thursday.

Scotland has recorded 1398 new cases of coronavirus and 13 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Official statistics published on Thursday also indicate that there were 490 people in hospital with the virus, with 60 people in intensive care.

Just over four million people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, whilst around 3.1 million have had their second dose.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week that there are “grounds for optimism” that the country can continue to progress out of restrictions.


The SNP leader will announce next week whether Scotland will be able to progress with the easing of lockdown measures, with a date of August 9 having been set for the lifting of most legal restrictions.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, she said: “What we’ll be doing between now and then is weighing up the different factors that will inform that decision.

“Several of these factors give us really strong grounds for hope and that is positive, although others remind us for the need of continued caution.

“There is no doubt we are in a much better place than we were last March, at the start of the pandemic, or at the beginning of this year, or even at the start of this month.


“In short, we have seen some very positive developments recently, and that does give us grounds for optimism that we will be able to continue progress, out of restrictions.

“That said, we do still need to be cautious.”

Search for elderly woman with dementia missing in Edinburgh

Caroline Dickson, 83, was last seen at around 6.45pm on Thursday evening in Claremont Park.

Police Scotland
She was last seen at around 6.45pm on Thursday evening.

A police appeal has been launched in the search for an elderly woman with dementia missing in Edinburgh.

Caroline Dickson, 83, was last seen at around 6.45pm on Thursday, July 29, in Claremont Park.

She is described as being white, of slim build, 5ft5, with short white hair and small stud earrings.

She was last seen wearing a green hip length silvery jacket, black trousers with a black and white horizontal top, white socks, clack shoes and was carrying a black handbag. 

Police have appealed for information in the search for Caroline Dickson. (Police Scotland)

Inspector William Falconer said: “Caroline presents as fit and well, but suffers from dementia, and her family are extremely worried about her. 

“She is new to the area, and does not know it well, and it is vital we trace her as soon as possible. 

“I am appealing for members of the public to keep a look out for Caroline, and if you think you may have seen her, please report any sightings to the police. 

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2939 of Thursday, July 29, 2021.”

Man posed as teen online before raping 14-year-old girl

Craig Dunsmore persuaded the teenager to travel to meet him in Edinburgh before carrying out the sex attack on her at his home.

STV News
Craig Dunsmore has been jailed for six years and three months.

A child sex offender who posed as a teenage boy on the internet before attacking and raping a 14-year-old girl has been jailed for six years and three months.

Craig Dunsmore, 27, persuaded the teenager to travel to meet him in Edinburgh before carrying out the sex attack on her at his home in the city’s Broomhouse area.

Dunsmore was later to have found indecent images of children on a phone and after obtaining other phones contacted a 13-year-old girl.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “It is a matter of concern that having been arrested twice you continued to pursue your sexual interest in children.


“The court heard that he had met the rape victim through the internet and told her that he was aged 15 and got her to travel to Edinburgh from her home town.

“During the rape attack on January 19, 2019, he pushed her onto a bed and held her down.

Judge Alison Stirling told him: “She froze thinking she was going to be raped, which is what happened.”

Dunsmore had denied raping the girl during an earlier trial but was found guilty of the offence.


He was also convicted of engaging in sexual activity with the underage girl, including requesting that she take naked photos of herself and send them to him.

He was also convicted of possessing and distributing indecent pictures of children and possessing extreme pornography of explicit and realistic images of rape and non-consensual sex between adults and bestiality.

The cleaner was further convicted of requesting that a 13-year-old girl send him indecent images during communications with her in September 2019, when he had been freed under two bail orders at Edinburgh Sheriff court.

The judge told him during a sentencing hearing that Dunsmore followed via a live link to prison: “Custody is the only appropriate disposal having regard to the serious nature of your offending.”

Defence solicitor advocate John Campbell said Dunsmore realised he would be jailed and had begun to recognise the harm he had caused. He said: “Clearly there is much work to do.” 

Mr Campbell said Dunsmore was a first offender who hoped to resume employment on his release from jail. He added: “There is clearly a work ethic there.”

Dunsmore was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Library book returned 50 years late with apology and £20

Staff at Paisley Central Library were stunned at the return on Mr's Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery book.

Renfrewshire Leisure via Paisley Central Library
Overdue: Book returned with £20 and apology.

A book borrowed from a library in Renfrewshire more than 50 years ago has finally been returned.

Staff at Paisley Central Library were stunned at the return on Mr’s Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery book, which had been last loaned out in 1968.

The book, published by Mills and Boon in 1965, was delivered by post in a large white padded bag along with a £20 note and an anonymous letter apologising for the return being so long overdue.

The letter accompanying it said: “Please accept my apologies for the late return of this book.


“Enclosed is a token payment in recognition of this oversight. Thank you.”

The £20 is now going to be donated to charity, as Renfrewshire Libraries is currently not charging a fine for the return of overdue books. 

Balbir Singh was born in the Punjab in 1912 and became an internationally renowned chef, cookery teacher and cookbook author. 

Her Mrs Balbir’s Singh’s Indian Cookery book was met with much acclaim when it was first published in London in 1961, and went on to inspire future generations of Indian chefs and home cooks. 


The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and several editions with revisions, and recipe additions were printed in the following years.

Mrs Balbir Singh died in 1994.

Linda Flynn, Paisley Central Library Team Supervisor said: “I was more than a little surprised when I opened the padded envelope and saw what was inside.

“It’s rare to have a book returned after being overdue for so many years. I suspect the book had been lying in a cupboard or a drawer for some time and was only recently discovered.

“It was a lovely gesture from whoever found the book to take the time to send it back with a £20 note as a token gesture for it being so long overdue. We’ll make sure the money goes to a good cause.”

Linda added: “You could see that the book had been well used and some of the marks on the pages suggested that someone had followed the recipes to make a good few dinners.

“Unfortunately, the book isn’t in a condition to put back on our shelves for people to borrow, but since it’s become a talking point among library staff, we’ll keep it in a safe place.”

Care home regulator didn’t probe thousands of complaints

Regulator decided not to investigate more than 2000 complaints about care homes for older people in Scotland.

John Gordon via E-mail
John Angus Gordon surrounded by his family at Home Farm care home.

Investigations by the regulator into complaints against care homes in Scotland were significantly reduced during the period when Covid-19 was taking a devastating toll on the sector.

Only one in 20, or 5%, of complaints made by relatives, carers and staff about the quality of care being received by older people in homes were fully investigated by the Care Inspectorate.

Of the 2316 complaints received by the regulator from relatives in the 2020/21 period, just 122 were the subject of a full investigation. This compares with more than 600 in previous years.

The Care Inspectorate said that it had “rapidly adapted” to the situation last year and had reduced the number of on-site inspections it carried out to avoid spreading the virus.


The data has been revealed as part of a collaborative project by STV News, The Scotsman, The Herald, The Press and Journal and The Courier.

The Scottish Government has committed to a public inquiry into its handling of the pandemic but some relatives are now calling for the Care Inspectorate’s role in regulating the sector to be subject to similar scrutiny.

Highland councillor John Gordon lost his father, John Angus Gordon, to Covid while he was being cared for at Home Farm in Portree. He believes staff did their best but were part of a system “that failed them and failed us as families but most importantly failed the residents”.

Home Farm was operated by care provider HC-One before being taken over by NHS Highland. HC-One declined to comment on the complaints figures.


John said: “Our elderly population deserve the best care possible and if there are complaints they should be addressed and dealt with in a timely and professional manner.

“I think that a lot of the problems that care homes are facing and what we have experienced during the pandemic in terms of some of the reports that have come out and the complaints that we’re now hearing about ultimately is at the door of the Care Inspectorate.”

More than 3300 people died of Covid-19 related causes in Scottish care homes.

The information about complaints emerged as part of an ongoing collaborative investigation by Scotland’s leading media companies, including STV News. Previous freedom of information requests resulted in the National Records of Scotland being ordered to release data on deaths in every care home in Scotland.

Now, the Care Inspectorate has responded to a FOI request by releasing data on the number of complaints lodged about individual care homes for older people.

The data reveals that three quarters of Scotland’s 806 care homes were complained about in 2020/21. The total number of complaints was 2316 – a slight reduction from the previous period, which is thought to be linked to fewer visits from relatives and carers.

It has also emerged that the regulator made a number of changes to how it dealt with complaints in a bid to reduce the level of visits to care homes during the pandemic.


It adopted a system that relied on “more dialogue and mediation” at the earlier stages of complaints. Under this approach, the number of completed investigations fell from a monthly average of 52 in 2019/20 to just ten per month during the last financial year.

Rather than be subject to detailed investigations, half of all complaints were noted for “intelligence” and for possible future inspection work – a rate almost double that of the previous period.

Additionally, the number of cases dealt with by “direct service action” – where the regulator asks the care provider to engage directly with the complainer – increased from an average of 13 per month to 27.

A report from the Care Inspectorate board meeting in June notes that the regulator was “keen to learn the lessons from our work on complaints in the last year” and that an internal review has been commissioned.

The data released under FOI shows the regulator has dealt with 10,481 complaints about care homes for older people in the past five years.

At the height of the pandemic in April last year, 295 complaints were recorded.

Of the 20 facilities with the most complaints last year, 18 were privately run.

The Care Inspectorate received at least one complaint about 82% of private sector care homes for older people last financial year. It upheld the complaint in about one in eight cases.

Of the complaints made in 2020/21 about care homes for older people, 40% came from relatives and carers and more than 25% were lodged by staff at the homes.

The focus of the complaints were healthcare (38%), communication (17.8%) and wellbeing (8.3%).

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “ In March 2020, in line with guidance from directors of public health and after consultation with the Scottish Government, we rapidly adapted the way we worked because it was critical to minimise the spread of the virus, to keep people safe.

“Part of this meant on-site complaint investigations had to be limited to those that were deemed essential following an enhanced risk assessment. At that time we also significantly increased our contact with services and made use of technology where appropriate.

“The pandemic caused changes to how services operated. Some closed and others restricted non-essential visitors.

“As a result, the trends and patterns in complaints noted in previous years were disrupted with falls in complaints received in the past year.

“Complaint investigation is one important part of our scrutiny work. Complaints inform our wider work, which includes intelligence gathering about care services and subsequently unannounced inspections of care services as required.

“Where we have serious concerns about a care service we do not hesitate to take action to keep people safe, and we lay a summary report of all our inspections every two weeks before the Scottish Parliament.”

Kevin Stewart, the Scottish Government minister for mental wellbeing and social care, said: “The safety, protection and wellbeing of residents and staff in care homes is a priority, and we have met regularly with the Care Inspectorate throughout the pandemic as they adapted to the challenges of inspecting and supporting care homes.

“Complaint investigations have continued throughout the pandemic as part of a multi-agency approach, which also involves Health and Social Care Partnerships and local public health teams.

“We mourn every death from Covid-19 and express our sympathy for all those who have lost loved ones.

“We have confirmed there will be a public inquiry into all aspects of the impact and handling of Covid-19, including care homes, and our immediate focus is on continuing to do everything necessary to save lives for the remainder of this pandemic.

“In addition, the First Minister announced an independent review into how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services.”

Karen Hedge, national director at Scottish Care, said: “The delivery of safe high quality care and support is our first priority.

“Whilst we understand the need to reduce footfall as a result of the pandemic, the sector is now in a safer position with the introduction of double vaccinations and other IPC (infection protection and control) measures.

“In situations where a local resolution cannot be found, we would welcome Care Inspectorate intervention as a way to investigate and respond to complaints.

“This is a necessary part of the improvement process offering assurance to those accessing care and support and their families as well as to care providers and staff.”

‘There still feels like there is no closure in this

John’s father was diagnosed with dementia in the final years of his life and lived close to his daughter, Mary MacCaskill, and his grandchildren.

“Getting dementia in the last six years of his life wasn’t easy. My mum cared for him, sadly two years into it she passed away with cancer,” John explained.

“He was settled in Home Farm by then and, yeah, I always say my dad loved reaching out his hand to give you a handshake, he would always shake your hand whenever he met you and even if you went to his house for a cup of tea, even if I went to his house for a cup of tea, you would always get a handshake as he greeted you at the door or even when you went into the sitting room.

“It was something he did, he just liked shaking hands. For us, it was very poignant the day he died and we said our goodbyes. I don’t know if he recognised our voices but certainly when my sister and I spoke he reached out his hand but it was the carer with her blue gloves on, for us it was very poignant because our dad always shook our hand and there he is coming to the end of his life and the hand that’s grabbing his hand is somebody that has to wear a blue glove because of the pandemic that we are in and that was our last time with our dad.

“It was obviously on FaceTime and it’s not been an easy year and as I said there still feels like there is no closure in this. It’s such a cliche but answers have to be given and these issues have to be addressed.”

Two women sexually assaulted by teenager on train

The women were travelling from Ayr to Glasgow when the attacks took place.

British Transport Police via BTP
Attacks: BTP is appealing for information.

Two women have been sexually assaulted by a teenager on board a train heading to Glasgow.

The women were on the the 7.45pm Ayr to Glasgow Central service on Saturday when they were approached by a young man who assaulted both of them at separate times during the journey.

The man, said to be around 17-years-old, also made lewd sexual remarks towards them.

Police are now appealing for witnesses in a bid to trace the person responsible for the attacks.


He is described as having a tanned complexion and dark curly hair.

At the time of the assaults he was wearing a grey and brown Gucci t-shirt and black shorts.

Detectives from the British Transport Police say they are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who can help their investigation in any way.

A spokesperson for BTP said: “Witnesses or anyone with information can contact BTP by texting 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40.”

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