Raging Water of Leith Breaks Its Banks, Floods Footpaths

Submitted by edg on Thu, 23 May '24 11.47pm
Video clip

The Water of Leith turned into a roaring torrent, there were long delays on the Edinburgh bypass caused by flooding, and the Council closed local parks today as Edinburgh experienced a month's rain in 24 hours.

The Water of Leith, normally a mellifluous babble at this time of year, burst its banks and flooded up to 3 feet on the Rocheid pathway between Stockbridge and Canonmills. The footpath to Canonmills was submerged by fast-moving water.

The area has experienced heavy flooding in the past, but flood defences were tested by the extreme weather.

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust said: “As a precaution and due to the current high river levels and weather forecast, the flood gates at Baird Drive and Rocheid Colonies are being closed. There have been reports of localised flooding along the river so please take care.”

Edinburgh City Council had a similar message of caution as the relentless, heavy downpour continued into the day.

"Due to flooding both West Princes Street Gardens and Inch Park are closed until further notice," the Council announced this afternoon.

Water of Leith floods

There was flooding all along the Water of Leith today (much of it captured in the video above). 

The small, 19th century Falshaw Bridge, near the Stockbridge Colonies, had a little over a half foot of clearance as the water sped under it. 

The pathway connecting Glenogle Road with Stockbridge was under water. 

Passers-by on the bridge at Stockbridge, stopped in the soggy conditions, and strained to identify the Antony Gormley statue. 

The naked, standing figure, who normally has the water lapping around his shins, was only barely visible as a ghostly outline behind a wall of rushing water, now breaking around his ears.   

Further up river, the Water of Leith weir at Dean Village was gushing so hard that the metal steps on the Water of Leith footpath had turned into a cascade of frothy white water. 

The Met Office reported that Edinburgh recorded 48mm of rain, as much as an average month in May.

A Met Office yellow warning is in place into the early hours of Friday.