Chris’s lucky Storm Henry escape: the full story

A Facebook screen-grab from Jason Ferguson's video showing Chris Roberts' van after it was blown off the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful during Storm Henry.
A Facebook screen-grab from Jason Ferguson's video showing Chris Roberts' van after it was blown off the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful during Storm Henry.

Rothesay businessman Chris Roberts spoke to The Buteman last week about the moment his van was blown off the Rest and Be Thankful during Storm Henry: here’s Chris’s story in full...

Chris, the owner of 1st Choice Budget Removals, and his colleague Tracy Minnes were heading to Glasgow for a removal job when their van was “picked up like a paper bag” on the A83 on the morning of Monday, February 1, as storm force winds gathered in strength across much of Scotland.

“We’d got all the way to the Butter Bridge in wind that was no worse than normal,” Chris said, “but as we got to a bend in the road a big gust hit the van.

“I changed down a couple of gears, and then another gust blew us across the road, then another lifted the van up like a paper bag.

“I realised we were going to go over, and I tried to at least make sure we were blown over on the road, but we slammed against the railing at the side of the road and over we went.

“We rolled about four or five times down the hillside. Fortunately we were wearing our seatbelts, and the van landed upright, but I realised we had to get out as quickly as possible or it would go over again.

“It is - or was - quite a strong van. There’s about a tonand a half or two tons of weight on it. But the body was ripped right off the chassis, all the windows were smashed and the roof has caved in above the cab.

“I can’t believe we opened the door and walked out.”

Fortunately for Chris and Tracy, a friend was passing by shortly after their accident and was able to offer help, and the pair arrived back in Rothesay later in the day.

“We lost a job on Tuesday because of the accident,” Chris continued, “but there’s more to life than moving furniture for somebody.

“So many people have phoned or messaged me and asked if I’m okay. It’s at times like these you realise how many friends you have.”

Apart from Chris’s accident, the only significant effect of Storm Henry on Bute was the disruption to the island’s ferry services; the Rothesay-Gourock route was suspended for almost 24 hours from mid-morning on Monday, and the Rhubodach-Colintraive service from 4.30pm on Monday until 9am on Tuesday.