A year on from a devastating flood which trapped people in homes and vehicles, one tiny Fife community is still fighting to recover
Dura Den was torn apart by a massive downpour which caused flash floods across Fife and Tayside overnight on October 11 and 12 last year. The road through the picturesque hamlet was destroyed and is still to be rebuilt.
A house which had its gable torn off still stands empty, a reminder of the havoc wreaked under cover of darkness when the Ceres Burn burst its banks and turned the road into a torrential river.
The home of the Hughes family, which sits below the section of collapsed road, was among the worst affected, with the flood water cascading through its lower floor and rubble and bricks careering through the garden.
Storm Hughes, 22, was home alone when the drama unfolded and had to run from the house in the early hours of the morning, woken by a neighbour who thought the house was empty and was trying to rescue the family’s cats.
As well as the Mill Lade, the family own the Old Mill, part of the same building.
Gallery: Dura Den devastated by flooding
Like many other families in the area, the Hughes’ lives have been focused since then on trying to get their homes back to normal.
Mum Louise was on holiday with two of her three other children at the time of the flood. “It’s taken almost every weekend for the past year and any holiday time we’ve had,” she says.
“Both houses have been completely refurbished on the ground level.
“The grounds were completely cleared of the debris and rubble and huge holes in the paddock were filled in.
“The main work to be completed now relates to the banking, where retaining walls to the river were washed away and large chunks of the lawn at the back of the houses disappeared into the river.”
They are unable to start work on the grounds at the front of their house until road repairs are carried out.
Repairing the damage quickly was all the more pressing for the Hughes as Louise’s mother Pamela Sabet, 76, was unable to return home until the property was made safe.
Pamela, who has severe dementia, was in respite care while the family were on holiday.
Her downstairs bedroom was destroyed and needed to pass risk assessments before she was allowed to return.
Fortunately, the threat of another flood doesn’t keep the family awake at night as it does many flood victims.
“The council brought in a local company who took away the top section of the weir and built up the surrounding grounds where the river burst its banks last year,” Louise says.
“I have total faith in their work and am pretty sure we won’t see another flood of this type from the weir area.
“I love Dura Den and have lived here since I was 12 years old.
“The flood last year was the first time we’ve ever had a drop of water in the house and as I’m sure it couldn’t happen again, I’m very happy to stay put.”
With no passing traffic, Dura Den is a lonelier or more peaceful place than it was 12 months ago, depending on the perspective taken.
“The road closure just makes things a little quieter and gives us a bit of exercise taking the bins up the road.”