Deep sea diver drains flood under Ormelie Tavern

The diver was pictured in his distinctive gear outside the Ormelie Tavern in Joppa. Picture: John Coutts.

The diver was pictured in his distinctive gear outside the Ormelie Tavern in Joppa. Picture: John Coutts.

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the regulars at the Ormelie Tavern would be forgiven for thinking they had maybe had one too many when they stepped outside to be greeted by a deep-sea diver.

But the frogman in the bright yellow helmet and orange diving suit was on a mission to explore underground streams which have been blamed for flooding the cellar of their local.

Looking like something from 1980s science fiction film The Abyss, or perhaps an extra from a James Bond film, he was seen in broad daylight in Joppa Road together with what has been described by one onlooker as a “back-up diver”.

An underground stream runs through an old mine shaft underneath the pub and has caused repeated floods in the basement below the bar area. It is hoped that the diver will finally be able to solve the long-standing problem by carrying out drainage work.

John Coutts, of Joppa, who took this picture as proof, said: “I’m 66 and I’m quite used to seeing strange things, but you don’t expect to see a diver walking around outside your local pub. That was a first.

“I knew there were works going on. There is a problem with the water. They are trying to drain it and they have been working on it for a long time. Water has been flooding the basement of the pub somewhere under the foundations.”

He added: “I heard they are coming back on Monday to finish it off.”

The pub has remained open throughout work which has been on-going for several weeks with the pavement outside the pub having been dug up and a shaft created for workmen to access the underground stream.

The divers were from Caldive Ltd but the company based in Invergordon in Ross-shire declined to comment, but the city council confirmed it was aware of the works which were to do “with water travelling beneath a private 
property”.

Barmaid Jennifer Wilson, 23, of Portobello, estimated the work was being done up to 30ft underground.

She said: “It has been a source of entertainment. There is an old mine shaft and there is an underground river running through it and they are trying to resolve the problem. The guys were going further and further down and pumping the water out.

“But they got to a certain point and they couldn’t get the water out of the shaft quickly enough so they needed the help of divers.”

She said it had been a long-standing problem and water had been known to flood into the cellar.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com