The Rest and be Thankful has seen many a landslide, but, for the community at the Craignish peninsula, the 6000 tonne torrent that blocked the A816 at Ardfern was new - and brought concerns for the future of their lifeline road.

"The council is working hard to clear the road and stabilise the hill," said Vicki Burnett, a resident who is heading a group backing local businesses in their fight for survival,  "but in the long term it looks like we will need a work-around in case there are further slips.

"The Old Military Road at the Rest and be Thankful is a good example of this - it's vital to keep these key roads open whilst keeping people safe."

For Ms Burnett the A816 road blockage came as a surprise. “Obviously the Rest and be Thankful goes down on a regular basis and we’re aware of that - and there’s a way of working round that with the military road. But it’s not something we’ve experienced here. I’ve lived here for five years and it’s not something I’ve ever experienced before nor have others I’ve spoken to who have lived  here for a long time.”

On October 7, she was at home in Craignish when the rains of that weekend hit. At first, her attention was focused on the local floodwaters. “The burn,” she recalled, “that runs near us had broken its banks and we were watching that and seeing huge amounts of surface water coming off the hills. But we never felt at risk of flooding.”

But then the news of a landslip on the A816 appeared on the highly active local Facebook page, and, as a “solutions-focused” community, they galvanised around helping each other.

A group of residents,  led by the Craignish Community Company, last week issued a statement that, following last month's devastating  6000-tonne landslide and bridge damage, it is back open - via one of its lifeline roads - and would welcome visitors to its businesses.

The Kilmelford bridge which was, at one point, completely closed, is now allowing all traffic and visitors can now reach popular venues like Lucy’s Cafe, the Galley of Lorne and Lord of the Isles pubs, Ardfern Yacht Centre and Craobh Haven Marina.

However, the A816, the area's vital route to the south which was swept by mud, rock and debris during the torrential rains, remains closed and is predicted not to open till mid-late November.

The group is keen to see the blocked road, also key to their connections, opened before their popular annual Christmas market on November 17 and 18. 

"The market is a key event in the year for many local businesses and craftspeople," said Vicki Burnett a Craignish resident who is heading the group.

Already, she said, many businesses are struggling following the road closures. 

READ MORE Rest and Be Thankful. Scotland's landslide plan risks lives

READ MORE: A816 Ardfern: Calls for road to be reopened after landslide

READ MORE: A816: 'Bus-sized rocks' warning as 6000 tonne landslide blocks road

The Herald: The A816 has been closed at Ardfern after 6,000 tonnes of debris fell on it in a landslide Image: Oban Mountain RescueThe A816 wasclosed at Ardfern after 6,000 tonnes of debris fell on it in a landslide Image: Oban Mountain Rescue

“It's not just the usual things," said Ms Burnett, "like pubs and cafes not getting the footfall, there are all sorts of implications for businesses. For instance, last night the proprietor of Lunga Riding Stables, was telling me how it had impacted on her. October is normally a hugely busy month for her. She gets visitors from Fort William, from Campbeltown, from overseas, tourists and people who live locally."

“She was also saying that her hay for the winter is in Campbeltown and if they were to come up that would be a five-hour additional drive for the supplier. And another example is that we have a woman in our village who runs Balance classes for older people and she’s not been able to get down to the classes the other side of the landslip.” 

Though alternative routes were created to the north and the bridge was opened to light vehicles, no traffic has been able to enter the peninsula from the south, forcing a 90-minute diversion.

The storms of recent months have been a reminder of the damage that may come more frequently with climate change. October was, reportedly, the wettest month on record in Scotland.  When it comes to landslides, we often focus on risk to life – but extreme weather events have other impacts on business, education, livelihoods and health. They can deliver a blow to local economies.

Ms Burnett quoted one local who said to her: “We are the heart of Argyll and we need a by-pass. Our arteries are blocked and we can’t get in and nobody can get out."